My son is just over 3 years old now and has finally passed potty training with a flying colours. I am not going to lie to you, it has been hard work. I was told that some children complete potty training anywhere between 18 months and 2years, and some a little later at 2-3years old, but at no point did I imagine it was going to take so long …and with SO much laundry!
We were advised by our friends that summer would be the best time to attempt potty training with our son, that way if [see when] he has an accident, we could dry clothes, bedding, furniture, plant pots and our pets outside in the sunshine. YES, toddler wee gets everywhere, trust me!!!! So we bought all the training books, 4 potties with various cartoon characters on and enough underwear to fill a small island.
Stage 2 involved leaving our son to roam the house naked, strategically placing a potty at every toy station in the house and repeating the same sentences, ‘do you need a wee?’, ‘do you need a poo?’ every three seconds for fear of an epic accident. In the beginning, my son hated the potty, he didn’t want to go anywhere near it and then he used the old, ‘I want a pink one’ line, rather than the red Mickey Mouse, the white Frozen, or the blue Thomas the Tank engine potty we had already bought him. He was definitely protesting and was much more comfortable with his current arrangement of letting go in his nappy.
Stage 3 was to sit our son on the potty for prolonged periods of time whilst watching TV to see if this distraction helped. Yes it helped in so much as he sat and watched TV but as for weeing in the potty, that was done on the floor, rug, sofa, bed and anywhere else he felt inclined to do it. Stage 4. The summer passed with epic failures (usually in public), so we decided it wasn’t the right time for Luca, he had no interest in the potty whatsoever. Actually that’s not quite true, he liked putting it on his head or placing a cushion on it and having a little snooze. But then out of the blue, as if by some divine intervention, he started to tell me when he needed to go. Half the battle was his tiny little mind understanding that he had a full bladder and that a full bladder means that big boys need to wee in a potty.
There were a few hiccups along the way where he didn’t quite make it, he’d say ‘wee’ when he meant ‘poo’, he’d wee in the bath and we’d laugh and then he’d poo in the bath and we wouldn’t laugh …that sort of thing.
We liaised with nursery to ensure they were mirroring what we were attempting at home in order to support our son. Having one toddler to potty train is tough but think of all the little accidents childcare workers have to deal with every day… I take my hat off to them!
So what did we learn? My son is very independent, he is very strong-willed and will do things in his own time (don’t know where he gets that from?) But it’s okay, every child’s development stage is different. There is no point in planning or stressing about it, your child will let you know when they are ready, so don’t force it!
If they are not quite ready, give them a little break and you will be surprised at the outcome.