Tag Archives: potty training

Diaper-free before 3

6 Jul

11 days to go, before that magic birthday and I have a small boy who uses the potty. Consistently. During the day. Ahem. Yes, we’re not entirely diaper free. He still has one at night. Because, well, sleep is THE most important thing. And he still comes into our bed at night. So…

Dear God, but this has been a long journey (don’t judge the smugness). There was no setting the timer and peeing every 10 minutes. I don’t actually know what the key was. I have no idea how we went from wiping up pee three times a day to him going to the potty when he needed to. I just know that one morning I followed him into the bathroom and there he was sitting on the potty, shouting at me to get out. Not exactly a heart melting moment, but up there on the motherhood top ten, regardless.

My mother said (ages ago) that he wouldn’t go until he was ready. I said “Blah, blah he WILL go”. There may or may not have been gritted teeth. But it turns out she was right. I have the kind of child who won’t really do things until he can actually do them. Take the balance bike, for example. Santa brought it.He tried it on Christmas day, wobbled a bit and wouldn’t get back on it for SIX months!! The key there was putting an obnoxious horn on it. I thought I was going to go insane for the three days I left it on. Insane!! Thankfully the bike retained its allure when I took the horn off and yesterday he “cycled” almost a mile to play group and another mile back! (Let’s not mention that I had to carry it for the other two miles, while he was in the buggy). So he’s one of those children. Maybe this means I won’t be drawing pictures on demand forever either. One of these days he’ll decide he can draw and I’ll be able to surf the internet do the dishes in peace while he occupies himself drawing masterpieces of varying degrees.

Soon (well,  not too soon) we’ll try underwear. And maybe even night time. I may also have to address the urge he seems to have to pee outside. Not that I really have a problem with him peeing outside. But when he is outside he can’t decide where to pee. He was mithering around the park last week FOR AN HOUR, trying to decide where to pee. And never peed. He decided instead that we had to go home so he could pee. It may have been the only time during this process where I wanted to scream, as I pulled my hair out “JUST PEE!!!”

And there have been moments when I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

We brought him out without a nappy for the first time about two weeks ago.
Picture the scene: beautiful park, in a local “Dutch” town. Lots of little houses and windmills and things for kids to play in. The structure itself is wooden, so when you’re short (like me) you can’t really see where your child is.
The Hubby (who is rather tall) spots that he has stopped moving and is bracing himself in “poo position” and clambers up after him as fast as he can. Scoops him up and an enormous poop escapes the leg of his shorts (no knickers on). Honestly, a big ball of poop. Bigger than a baseball. The Hubby panics. Turns a bright shade of purple. (I may or may not have laughed). A quick but (hopefully) discrete clean up operation and a mad dash to the loo and we were sorted.
We don’t now go anywhere unless he has pooped first. Luckily, he’s a once a day, in the morning man.
Big ball of warm poop in your hand. One of motherhood’s finer moments.
But that’s all behind me now. Isn’t it? ISN’T IT??!?

“Potty time!”

30 Jun

… the words a mother waits to hear.

I have been sitting the Turtle on the pot since we got to the U.S., when he was about 10 months old. Just at obvious times, after meals and naps and whatnot. And if I saw a poo face. He has the best poo face. You could spot it from a mile away. I had a vague hope there for a while that he would be “trained” by Christmas (last Christmas). But Christmas came and went and he didn’t seem any closer to being trained. He did seem to know that he was peeing, where it came from and that it was wet. Not bad for a part time trainee. And when his “trainer” lost heart and set the whole training thing on the back burner a little (dejected), it didn’t seem to phase him. He still went when I took him and told me after he had pooped and/or peed on the floor (cream carpets in a rented house, anyone?) If you asked him where pee went he would say “Pee in the potty”.

We took a couple of months off while we moved here. Dragging a potty across the country didn’t seem feasible. You can’t ignore them when they ask to use the potty. And if they ask when you’re on the interstate? Well, “hold it” doesn’t really cut it for someone who is under 2 (or even 32). So we decided not to bother. We even ditched our g-diapers because we weren’t sure we’d be able to access a washing machine.

Now that we’ve been here for a couple of weeks, I thought it was time to break out the potties again. And the fact that Monday was sunny and warm? Even more of a bonus. I’m sick of big, sticky, smelly poos blighting my days. Cries of “My God, what have you been eating?” have been punctuating the day. That and “LIE DOWN!”;  “Aaargghhhhhh! Now there’s poo on the WXYZ.”

So, it’s potty time in the Turtle household.

Monday, he pooped on the potty twice. Peed once. And asked for the potty two of those times. Numerous pees were made on the floor and outside. But outside doesn’t count, because Mammy didn’t have to clean it! 😉

Tuesday, he asked for the potty first thing in the morning – I thought he was pulling my leg, but lo and behold, he was not. He asked again after breakfast. Success! Then Mammy got complacent and there were a couple of accidents. The nappy went back on for his nap. After lunch, the nappy was off again  and I unearthed some Spiderman knickers. The key to my success. Spiderman knickers. Brilliant. “Don’t pee on Spiderman” became a bit of a refrain. And he would take himself off to the potty. Spiderman doesn’t like getting wet, him being a spider and all.

Wednesday, the same Spiderman knickers went on again. The same ones. They lasted until naptime, when they were taken off. We went to the zoo this afternoon, so no mention was made of the potty, but when we got home he went straight to it. Then after his bath, when he was already in his nappy and PJs, watching Thomas (Thomas, the Holy Grail of telly in our house, never to be interrupted for anything) he hopped up and said “Poo! Potty time! Pottyyyyyy!” And off he ran.

And he did it!


I think we’ve cracked it. We may have taken that last step, the one from “I’m making a poo” to “I need to make a poo.”

Potty trained by two? It is possible isn’t it? I’m not jumping the gun again, am I?

Potty training

27 Aug

No one tells you how “political” parenting is. It’s a minefield! People who wouldn’t tell you what to do with your dog seem to think they know what is best when it comes to your offspring. Opinions are offered on breastfeeding, napping, sleeping through the night, solid food and pottying. If ever the phrase “Go and shite for yourself” was useful, it’s worth its weight in gold now that I’m a parent. Not that I would actually say it, I’m too scared polite. I just think it and seethe quietly.  Why do people think it’s ok to tell me what to do? Offering opinions (when asked) is a different thing. Telling me what’s best is a pain in the bum. And it’s not going to sway me. I tend to do what I think is best, then perhaps find a book to help me along.

Our current “step” on the parenting ladder is pottying, which we’ve been at fairly consistently for the past three months or so (in secret, so there’s no judgment!) No, there’s no “potty training in a day” or even a week here. I wouldn’t expect him to learn anything in a day! He’s thirteen months now and I would like to have him “trained” by the time he’s two.

What we have been doing is pooping on the potty. I notice his signs that he’s going to poop – grunting, red face – and we make a mad dash for the potty where he sits and poops happily, only getting up to wander off when he’s done.  Now, he comes up to me and grunts. I say “Are you pooping?” and we make a mad dash for the potty. Only because he likes the mad dashes and laughs his head off. There is no real need for the mad dashes anymore. He holds it until we get there.

What we haven’t been doing is peeing in the potty. He won’t really go near the potty unless he has to poop. If you say “Let’s pee”, more often than not he will pee on the floor. But he can’t be convinced to sit on the pot to pee. And his peeing signals either don’t exist or I’m just not able to see them.

So I bought a book. It’s called Diaper-free before 3. Now personally, I’m a little appalled that the need for such a book exists. I thought that the majority of three-year-old children, if they were not “trained”, were at least out of diapers. Either way, I like the author’s ethos and emphasis.

  • Be flexible
  • Make sure your child is comfortable and content
  • Going to the potty should be its own reward – there is no real need for elaborate reward systems, not sitting in your own excrement = reward enough!
  • Pottying should be natural, something to get used to like eating
  • Build it into your day

A tip so simple that I have to wonder why I didn’t think of it myself is “Instead of cleaning up immediately after meals in the kitchen, go to the bathroom, sit on the potty, wash hands and face, change any clothes that are dirty. Look for those types of associations and opportunities” (p. 102). Why did I not think of that?

Part of me bucks against the whole routine thing though. I wouldn’t characterise our lives as routine-based. How and ever we shall give it a go, because, as Dr. Lekovic reminded me “we should not teach our children to rely on urgent signals from their bodies…before they go to the bathroom. As an adult consider how often you wait to get really uncomfortable before you empty your bladder… you go to the bathroom long before you feel a terrible sense of urgency. It is an important and almost totally overlooked part of toilet training to teach children to do the same” (p155, my emphasis). When I was pregnant I was often “bursting” to go to the toilet. It was awful. Not being able to find a toilet when you really need one has to be one of Dante’s circles of Hell. So the little turtle will be routinely brought to the toilet after waking and after  meals. And gradually he will learn to pee in the potty. (We actually had one successful go at it today!) By this time next year, diaper-free! That’s the plan anyway.

One more word of wisdom from Dr. Lekovic before we go: “Parents should not measure how successful they were at potty-training by how little time and effort they invested in it” (p.182). So there!

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