Before I get in to too much detail here – if you’re a parent / carer, please, know that potty training happens at whatever age your child is ready for it. There’s no right or wrong time, and no need to worry if your child isn’t there yet. Our experience with Grayson will be, like all childhood experiences, unique to us and Grayson. Embrace it, don’t panic, and very much go with the flow (no pun intended here, but there was a bit of flowing!)
When is the right time?
We’d always agreed that we would potty train Grayson when we thought he was ready. There was never a “by 2, he’ll be using the potty” mindset. That might work for some parent dynamics, and that’s fine – but for us, we wanted it to be on his terms, in his own time. That’s very much our parenting style, and with Grayson being quite sensitive to change, we had to ensure that we didn’t scare him off using a potty all together.
We had a plan – we knew we’d need a period of time when we’d be at home, so he could familiarise himself with the potty, how it feels, what to expect, and most importantly, been cleaned up should he have any accidents.
The right time is whatever time you, and your child, are ready to adapt to it. Ignore any external pressures or expectations based on your childs age or intelligence – using the potty will come when he / she is good and ready.
I’m sure there are a million ways of potty training your child – and as with the timing of it, the implementation of the potty training is absolutely linked to how you and your child feel will work.
For us, we’d been preparing Grayson for quite a while. He picked a potty, he chose some pants. We got him a book about potty training so he could read about it and understand why he needs to do it, and what it means. We put him in his pants a few times prior to taking the plunge (one of these times made him quite anxious, so we knew that wasn’t the time for him just yet). We’d practiced pulling trousers up and down to help him when he’s in a hurry!
We’d agreed that it would have to wait until we weren’t away anywhere – so we decided that the time after we returned from Latitude would probably be best, giving us (with the exception of nursery) a good stint of days to give it a try.
Basically – we went full on – he returned home from Nursery and we whipped him out of his nappy, and in to his pants. The rest, is history.
There were accidents. Of course! After day one, and with the sofa cushions hanging out to dry after a hot wash, we decided to reinforce the coverings on things just to be extra cautious! So we laid towels and waterproofs on the areas that Grayson sits in. We had a couple more accidents after this, just unexpected weeing, but that’s part and parcel of the training.
I think he was quite anxious about doing a number 2 – understandably, he got quite upset the first few times because it was just very strange. There were accidents with this, too. It’s strange, because in nappies, Grayson would tell us he was about to poo (before standing still and going bright red for a few seconds!) But with the potty, this didn’t happen.
We’re now 4 weeks in (ish, I think), and he’s been incredible since those first few days – we’ve had days out, car trips, cinema visits, and no accidents. He’s really good at taking himself to his potty, or using the toilet with his foot stool so he can reach. We’re still unsure about number 2’s – he seems to hold back on them at the moment which makes it more difficult for him when the time comes, but I’m sure this will ease as he gets used to it.
These are only based of our very limited experience with potty training G – so please if you have tips of your own to share, let us know in the comments!
1: Get a portable, sealable, travel potty. We were gifted this LadyBird potty and it’s been a lifesaver. So easy to chuck in the car and quickly use if he needs it. It’s watertight, so you can just close the lid if there’s no where to empty, and sort it later. Whilst it’s a bit bulky, it’s great as a comfort for those first few weeks where public toilets aren’t welcomed!
2: Get a foldable toilet set! Again, another lifesaver, this foldable toilet seat turns any toilet in to a kid friendly toilet. It’s much more practical than the ladybird as it folds and fits in the bag. It has the added benefit of ensuring that you don’t have to actually touch the public toilet, too, as we all know, some are gross!
3: Patience. There will be accidents. Prepare for them. Get covers on the sofa, carry numerous changes of clothes. If you have old nappies that you hope not to use again, keep them in the car or near by. They’re great for clearing up any spills. Thankfully, we haven’t had to use them, but I left some in the car incase G had an accident in his car seat – they’ll mop up the spill and keep him dry when he sits on it.
4: Let anyone looking after your child that they’re new to using the potty. Nursery, grand parents, baby sitter. Whoever. If you have a certain routine, or words of encouragement you may use, then tell the carer this so they can carry on that trend. Once it’s familiar, as with most things, it’s generally easier!
That’s it – for now! If you have any potty training tips for other parents, please do share them in the comments below! Check out our other parenting bits just here, too.