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Toilet Training. Does it fill you with horror like it does me? Would you rather someone else take control and do it for you? Yeah, same girl. Same.
This week, my kidlet decided she was ready even though I wasn’t. I knew it was coming. I had already bought training pants and we had talked about it. We had even tried sitting on the potty at nappy changes.
I wasn’t really ready though. And to be honest, I seriously considered trying to change her mind. But all the information I had read so far about toilet training said to follow your kidlets lead. Yes the same kidlet that would eat ice cream for dinner if I let her, gets to take the lead on this much bigger process.
So we started the process. Jesus take the wheel, we were Toilet Training!
So thankfully I was already thinking ahead and had a potty and training pants / underwear ready to go.
In case you are just starting to prepare or aren’t sure if you have what you need, here are my first steps in preparing:
1. Get the Equipment you need
I recommend having these ready before you even consider starting toilet training
- Potty – yes this seems obvious but consider having your kidlet help to choose the potty to get them excited and engaged in the toilet training process. You can even consider getting a potty that looks like a toilet or makes a fun sound, like cheering, when ‘flushed’.
- a second potty – Are you wondering why I am saying have more than one potty? At first I thought this was silly too, but then I decided that I would have one in the loungeroom and one in the bathroom. The second potty will also travel with is in the car for those times when the kidlet needs to go but there is no toilet around. Depending on the size of your house, you may want more than 2 to put around the house; eg upstairs and downstairs, loungeroom, bathroom etc.
You want to increase the chances and opportunities for your kidlet to be successful in reaching the potty/toilet!
- Step and Seat for the toilet – your kidlet may be happy to use the potty at first. But eventually you will need to help them transition to using the toilet. Don’t wait until they ask to use the toilet suddenly. Get a step and seat for the toilet from the start. This gives you the added bonus of them having the choice to try to toilet over the potty, and if they can’t get to the potty in time, you can use the toilet without them falling in.
- Training pants and / or underwear. Lots of them – So you might be considering pull up pants during toilet training. I did some reading and talked to some older mummas, and came to the conclusion that undies were best for us. One of the things that kidlets need to learn when toilet training is what it feels like to be wet. Nappies and pullups nowadays are so absorbent that our kidlets probably don’t even feel it when they go. So switching to undies helps this process. And seeing as your kidlet may have lots of accidents; seriously just expect them, buy more pants than you think you will need.
- Toilet Paper – Yes this is also obvious. I had no idea though how much my kidlet would love to sit on the potty or toilet and just wipe her own butt. Nor was I prepared for how often my kidlet would just pull the toilet paper and a whole roll would end up on the floor. So stock up! Just sayin!
2. Think about your schedule and routine
Toilet Training is hard. Toilet training and trying to stick to your normal routine of going out and about just seems insane to me.
I’m not saying that you can’t go out when you’re toilet training. I’m thinking it would be better not to but you do you mumma. I don’t know what your life is like or what your commitments are.
What I do know has worked for myself and my kidlet was to clear our schedule for 3-4 days. The benefits of this for me were:
- I was able to focus on toilet training completely.
- I felt more emotionally and mentally ready
- It removed a lot of the pressure around accidents happening as it was just myself and my kidlet to worry about.
3. Think about motivation and rewards
It’s important to remember the difference between bribery and a reward. A bribe is offered before your kidlet does something. A reward is given after they attempt or successfully do something.
It may seem like semantics, especially when you’re tired and just want things to go smoothly. If you sit on the potty you can have a chocolate = bribe.
Honestly however you decide to do this is up to you. For myself, I didn’t want my kidlet to only sit on the potty so that she gets something for herself. I did though want to reward her efforts and motivate her to continue.
What is working for us is a Potty Training Chart that I made up for her. I focused on the behaviours I wanted to encourage the most. My kidlet earns stars that she can colour in and then one the 7th successful effort she gets a nominated prize or present.
My kidlet decided that she wanted a chocolate biscuit, similar to an oreo, for her prizes so we are going with that.
You could choose different prizes depending on the behaviour if you prefer as well.
When thinking about what motivates your kidlet, also think about where they will be comfortable sitting on the potty. This is one reason we decided to place a potty in our loungeroom initially. Over time we will move the potty to the bathroom when she feels more comfortable using it.
Okay so just like toilet training, this article has gotten away from me.
So come back for my 2nd instalment for more tips and the next stage of this adventure.
Some other great resources can also be found at:
Plus read another Mum’s toilet training experience and tips over at Sparkly Bright Eyes.