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  • Koreen Liew-Young

Enough to make you go potty

Updated: Jan 6, 2019

I have not had this feeling of being out of my depth since my son was born. I didn’t know where to start and was absolutely petrified about how I was going to do it. I’ve heard other people’s theories and methods to entice, encourage, and bribe or using stories, songs, dances, chocolate, and YouTube.

I stared at the daunting white porcelain structure. In that moment I was wishing my son was a girl, as I had heard that girls were easier than boys to toilet train. How on earth was he going to make the transition? We are talking next level up and being totally out of my comfort zone. We are talking wee, and I’m thinking worst case scenario...…poo. *shudder*

I was trying to figure out every which way that I could manage this, but it was inevitable, I could not save the carpet.

Fast forward to 2017.

Previously I’ve blogged about the different types of poos one might encounter as a new parent, but now I’m talking toilet training. I wondered if my own son was ready, and I had so many questions it was overwhelming. I didn't seem to have enough time in the day to deal with the normal stuff, let alone have the patience to deal with toilet training. It was enough to make you go potty.

Many blogs seem to have a similar list of "How-To"s when potty training your child. For me, I thought, he's not consistent but he's showing some "ready" signs, why not try before Summer had gone. We launched into a training regime of being home-bound for five days, armed ready with carpet cleaner and rubber stamps as a reward. To my distress he was just peeing all over the place like a sprinkler set at random. My first response was anger and frustration, and the critic in me just kept telling me I was a complete failure as a parent. After three days of getting nowhere, I pessimistically asked Mum what she did. She sighed slowly, hinting there was no quick fix. Her solution? She didn't look for signs, she just took us routinely to the toilet while covering her floors in towels. She did say this would be the hardest thing to get through besides the sleeping. I immediately opted for my Mum's strategy. Taking him routinely meant, I had some form of control which I felt much better about.

I soon identified that I also had to change my rage to an "Oopsies, we can try again" as I noticed he was starting to have negative associations with going to the toilet. I scavenged the public library for potty books. One of our favourites was "Potty" by Leslie Patricelli (pictured right). Then one day, (many carpet cleans later,) we were watching the paint dry sitting in the bathroom. Then we heard a little sound, at which Mr M looked completely shocked. I burst into a huge song and dance singing "This is the way we go to the potty" (to the tune of "Here we go round the Mulberry Bush"). He then puffed up his chest with pride like the little super hero he is with a grin stretched from ear to ear. Day four we had breakthrough and it was enough for me not to look back and keep persisting with the undies. Don't get me wrong, he'd still continue to wet himself over a period of time, especially if he was distracted or busy playing, but I just kept consistent despite any regression and he continued to improve.

So, here’s a few tips that I’ve learned from my own parenting experience or you can check out The Sleep Store for their tips on Potty Training.

1. Try a potty or a training seat that sits on top of your toilet and see what your child likes.

2. Have a practice run outside (in the summer), and just check in every 5/10 min. Doing a test run, saves the stress when you are actually going to start potty training. In Summer they can also just run around in undies, reduce the amount washing!

Progress Chart
Tracking his progress towards his reward

3. Use a reward system, stickers or stamps, or a progress chart with their favourite characters. My son loves superheroes so I designed my own chart and rewarded him with little toys! Feel free to contact me if you would like your own personalised chart designed!

4. Attending seminars: I attended a seminar with Laura Morely from LooLoo and this gave me a good foundation that presented me with many different methods to potty train Mr M including the "clean and dry" method.

5. Training pants: I purchased in bulk to start off with Baby First's training pants. After Mr M got the idea of things, these usually caught the first dribble using these. Or if you want heavy duty training pants for outings try Pop In Training pants. These ensure your toddler begins to feel wet, as opposed to nappies which absorb any wetness right away and are way better than the environment than using disposable pull-ups.

6. Be patient – think about it- your toddler has always had the comfort of never feeling wet, having everything contained in their nappy, it’s a big jump to realising you need to go, as well as holding on and making it to the toilet in time. Give them and yourself a lot of grace.

Like a lot of things in parenting, toilet training may not go according to the book, and I think you definitely got to be prepared for some challenging times ahead. Try some of the methods I've mentioned above, and find a strategy that works for you and your little one. When you do make progress, all the hard work is worth it. For me the most incredible moment was Mr M with hands stretched to the sky saying "Tinkle toot! I did it!". (Phrase taken from "Potty" by Leslie Patricelli.)

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