What a journey this has been! Where do I begin?….
After DJ turned 2 years, I decided it was probably time for him to start potty training. Just like most parents who have kids in school, teachers usually help. I know some parents who never really potty trained their kids (especially the day training). So I figured I could leave that to the teachers and never have to deal with it. God had other plans and reminded me I have a mom blog so I will have to go through this by hook or crook!
I didn’t even bother starting earlier because he had only just started talking (which is completely normal for boys who are firstborns. So don’t stress yourself if your kid is still not talking. Trust me, they will). Secondly, he didn’t understand the concept of a potty yet so I wasn’t about to force him. I knew he wasn’t ready because he refused to sit on it and would rather play with the parts.
In January, when school began, I bought a few underwears for him and asked the teachers when exactly they would begin. They told me he wasn’t ready and that no kid in his class was.
Not ready? How ? He is way past 2. That’s the age potty training starts right? Wrong!
Potty training doesn’t have a fixed age. Most of us believed that a child should be potty trained latest by two years and we start to compare and stress ourselves and our kids out. When a child isn’t ready to be potty trained, you end up piling up more work and unnecessary mess for yourself. It is important not to rush the process. I learnt that the hard way. Take your time. Don’t feel pressured to make sure they are trained by a set time. Again, it’s a process. I wish someone had told me this.
So anyway, Covid waltz into our lives and school went on a break in March. Things got crazy around the house at the beginning while we adjusted to our new normal lives. Potty training was the last thing on my mind and thank God it was. After a few months, I started to notice a few cues that he was getting ready to be potty trained.
- He would tell me anytime he had pooped in his diaper and would bug me till I finally got him out of it.
- He didn’t need to be changed often. He had long durations when his diaper would be dry.
- I could now figure out the times he peed.
- Sometimes he would wake up from his nap with a dry diaper.
- He was obviously expressing himself better now when he speaks.
I decided I would give it a shot starting with just the day potty training and tackle the night a few months down the line when he’s ready. I went online and watched videos of “quick easy potty training methods”. For your own sake and sanity, avoid those videos.
I decided I would pick a few tips from the videos and do what works best for us. The completely naked method was a bit too extreme for me so I had him in a tshirt and underwear. The whole point of them being naked is so they feel it when they poop or pee on themselves and that’s supposed to make them uncomfortable.
I placed the potty (a gift from a friend of mine) which was shaped like a duck in the corridor where he plays. This would serve as a visual cue anytime he had to go. I had bought the potty seat with the ladder but he absolutely hated it to the point where he would cry so I didn’t bother with it. I assumed the duck potty was going to go great because he loves ducks. Well, the first day didn’t turn out too bad. I had to keep taking him to the potty every 20 minutes. Sometimes he would pee, sometimes there would be nothing. Let me tell you, that first pee is like winning a lottery. I felt so proud! I had no idea the task I had ahead of me. He had about 4 pee accidents that day so that meant I changed his underwear 4 times. I decided to include him in the cleaning (one of the things that I read that was great) So I would hand him the tissue and we would wipe together.
Boy! Things went left! As if I knew what was about to happen, I decided no more underwear. We had accidents from morning till evening! We would go sit down on the potty and there would be nothing. The minute, he got up, waterworks on the floor. Goodness! We cleaned and cleaned all day.
This day will go down in history as one of the worst days of my life. So during nap time, I would wear the diaper pant and take it off the minute he wakes up. Same for the night. Now this time, he woke up from his nap and had pooped in his diaper. He realised he wasn’t supposed to poop in there so he decided to take it off and then smeared it on his sheets and across his crib. He then hopped into his brother’s bed and it was a smear spree from there. Kobby and I barged into the room to witness this nightmare! It took a week of airing the mattress daily and sprinkling some essential oils in it to get that poop smell out. Typing this is making me itch. These kids!.
He kept saying “ I don’t want to sit on the duck”. That’s when it clicked! I needed to change the potty. When I tell you everything changed from here, you won’t believe it. I noticed that DJ liked to copy. He always saw us sitting on a regular toilet and I figured
“I need to get him a regular looking potty” . I went on Instagram and ordered one from @kairababyshop . This one had a handle you could fake flush and even made the flush sound. There was a mini storage compartment at the back where you could store your wipes
It arrived, I assembled and then prayed hard. He loved it! He started to look forward to sitting on it and then flushing. He still had a few accidents that day but it was a vast improvement from the previous days. I also went ahead and bought a really helpful potty training book “P FOR POTTY” from @busybrainsgh. Most of you know how obsessed DJ is with Elmo so I think seeing Elmo in there teaching his little brother how to use the potty really sparked something in him. It also had these interesting lift-the-flap pages with hidden flaps where he had to find and lift which he loved. It also kept him busy on the potty. I used the book to explain to him the entire concept of potty training in very basic words as we flipped each page. Super helpful and this should’ve been the first step.
Your boy had one accident and I was like yoooo! Praise God!
The days that followed were good but not perfect. He would have an accident here and there but he had grasped the concept now. He would come tell me he wanted to “weewee” and then I would assist. This continued until he saw the ladder one day and decided he wanted to use it. Just like that he had moved on to the ladder and we ditched the potty (which was a lot of work anyway. Pouring it out and cleaning after every session to prevent them from knocking the urine over).
So we did this for weeks and weeks. Now he was wearing his underwear everyday and wasn’t having any accidents. Just fyi the accidents can still happen even after they’ve figured it out, you just have to be mentally prepared for that.
Now that he had fully grasped it, we proceeded to the second stage which was standing to pee. I wanted to give him some more time to get there but I noticed he wanted to start after observing his dad a few times. I left that for his dad . He showed him how to aim properly and shake off (sorry if this is too graphic . These are boy mom problems lol) He felt really proud of himself at this stage. I could tell. We would clap for him and DJ loves to be praised. That was pretty much it.
A brief summary
- Watch out for cues. Don’t rush the process or do it prematurely based on age otherwise, you will stress yourselves.
- Be mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for anything.
- You can get a potty training book they will enjoy that explains what the entire process is nicely
- Once you do the above three and decide it’s time to start, try not to give up especially when it seems like it’s not working. There will be accidents in between. It’s completely normal.
- Try and involve them in the cleaning process so they learn.
- You know your child more than anyone else. Do what works best for your child. We praised DJ and clapped for him anytime he used the potty because he enjoys that. We didn’t do any treats (that might probably work best for Drew). Some websites I read spoke against doing treats but again do you! You know your child better than any website or person.
- If a potty works, great. If a potty seat ladder works, awesome. Kids are different so it’s not a one size fits all.
- Take it one day at a time. They will get it, trust me.
Currently, I am in no hurry to potty train Drew. He will be 2 in November and just like DJ, I will wait till he’s ready. The advantage he has is, he gets to copy his brother and he’s also talking much earlier than DJ was (because he had the advantage of having an older brother). However, given all these, I still know it’s going to be harrrrddd because nothing and I mean nothing disgusts that boy. So when we get to that bridge next year, we’ll cross it.
Once you cross the potty training hurdle, you get to the next hurdle of keeping your toilet paper, toilet brush etc very far away from them because they want to do it on their own. That’s a whole different mess.
Until then , all the best mamas and I hope this helps.