8 Jan 2014

Potty Training

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you would know that we recently decided to potty train Eli. It was a skill we were hoping Eli would have mastered before Kai arrived because I really didn't want to be changing two sets of nappies. But as usual that didn't happen, plus he wasn't sleeping unassisted yet either so we thought we'd face that battle first.

We decided to leave it until Ian was on holidays so we could share the "potty training" experience. I'm glad we agreed to that cause if it was just me ... I would have given up and cracked it four hours into it.

I'm not going to even pretend, toilet training is one of the most grossest things about parenting. Yes some might think changing dirty nappies is relatively the same thing - it's not! Washing stools off clothing, deciding whether to throw or try and salvage it and cleaning up pools of urine from the floor and various furniture is the biggest turn off. You'll never look at that piece of furniture the same ever again. And to me it seems the whole house smells like urine and antiseptic ... its just a grose feeling.

It's stressful. We'd take him to the toilet and attempt to "go" and nothing happens. We wash our hands and then suddenly I'll hear drips of water fall to the floor and ask in frustration "I told you to tell me when you need to go!!" You're advised not to be forceful but be encouraging during this time, but it really tests my patience.

I will say we did manage to have him telling us when he needs to go after two days, but we also have had some accidents since as well.

I'm not going to claim we have the answer but I will go through our approach and experiences during the first four days of potty training.

Day 1
We went into the whole toilet training experience with no real plan or idea of how we were going to tackle this process. We figured we'd try old fashion "cold turkey" approach and just put him in undies and wait. We figured we would take him to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes, ask him whether he needed to go and get him to sit on the seat to familarise himself. We showed him how to use the toilet, take off and on his undies and wash his hands.

We soon discovered this plan wasn't very effective. He kept wetting his pants. He had no idea he had to let us know he needed to go before he actually did it. Sometimes I don't think he even realised he had an accident, as a result he went through lots of undies straight away.

During his nap and that night we decided to put a nappy on him especially since it was his first day. In the end we had seven accidents (5 wet, 2 soiled) and two successful attempts at potty training.

Ian reached out on Facebook to get some advice from friends who have kids on some tips and experiences on how to get through this. Someone passed over an electronic version of a book called Three Day Potty Training by Lora Jensen. Ian read it.

Day 2
First thing in the morning we took him to the bathroom to use it. Nothing, but as soon as his hands touched the water from the basin he wet his pants. Not a great way to start second day into this process.

Armed with the knowledge Ian had learned from the ebook we attempted a new approach. There were many recommendation suggested on the book on how to get your child potty trained but the tips we took in and applied were:
  • Get your child to understand that they shouldn't have wet underwear and to teach them to let you know in advance when they think they may get it wet. The book suggested to regularly ask your child if their undies are wet and regularly reminding them to tell you when they need to go. So we stopped taking him to the bathroom every hour and let him dictate when he needed to go. 
  • Praise your child at all attempts of the potty even if nothing happens. We would do a little song and dance, big high fives to everyone after a successful loo attempt and lots of encouragement through out the day. 
  • Reward system for successful potty use and no reward for false alarms. Eli loves chocolate so he would get 3-4 pieces of mini M&M's when he made it in the toilet. Although we noticed he would falsely claim he needed to go to the toilet in hopes he would get more.  
This seemed to have worked for us and he told us every time he needed to go and 99% of the time he actually did go. 

We still put a nappy on him over night ... just in case.

Day 3
We continued to repeat the following question throughout the day "Eli are you're undies wet? ... No, show us? .... Ok tell mum or dad if you need to go ok"

By now we were anticipating more bowl movements because since toilet training he hadn't made many and not his usual amount. The morning he had an accident and it was a number two one. 

That afternoon he fell asleep on his couch so we didn't have the opportunity to put a nappy on him but when he woke two hours later he was dry.

 Later we headed out of home to meet up with some friends and decided to put a nappy on him just in case. Throughout the outing we asked him the status of his undies and to tell us when he needed to go and he told us each time he needed to go. 

We were very ecstatic at the end of day three and very proud of Eli.

Day 4
Again he had an accident in the morning and noticed it was due to number two again. We think he doesn't have the confidence to do number two's in the toilet when he's on the crown.

We also headed out to the shops but again decided to keep a nappy on him just in case. Again he did tell us when he needed to go.

That night we put a nappy on him overnight but the following morning his nappy was dry.

After going through this, all I can say is every child will respond to potty training differently and there's no magic bullet answer. You can read lots of books or advice online or from other parents ... actually I encourage you to read up on a few so you're equipped with some options just in case a method isn't working for you.

Other things we did that may have impacted our outcome:
  • We had purchase a book called Potty Time. We actually just found it by accident at BigW and its a short Sesame Street picture book on using the potty. We had been reading it to him every night since he got it on Christmas Day. Eli loves to read so we thought a book about potty training would help register in his head the process as well. 
  • We had a particular day we wanted to start so leading up to it we hyped it up and talked about it with Eli a lot.
I kind of think we're just lucky with Eli. I was expecting this to be a long process taking several days and weeks. In my view I wouldn't completely say we're done with potty training just yet but we're doing very well ... Eli's done so well so far. We're so proud of him.  

Any tips to help a child get over shy bum when doing number two's?
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