(First published on The Contented Calf website on Wednesday 25th January 2012. BF is approaching 2.5 years old and we're wondering whether we should try potty training again...)
As you may remember from our exploits back in mid-end July last year (The best-laid plans of mice and mummies and Totally potty?), we initially attempted potty/toilet training with BF a while ago, but abandoned it due to a tearful plea to stay in nappies after one post-lunch sleep.
As she was not yet two (23 months to be exact), I had originally planned to leave it as near to her third birthday as possible, and the fact that I didn't want to create any stress or potty/toilet phobia, we 'packed up shop' and put everything away for another go at a later date.
However, over the next few months with the pressure off perhaps, coupled with a visit from her cousins (both in pants - The Boy aged 3, approaching 4 and The Girl only two months older), BF started a renewed interested in wearing "big girl pants" and told me on numerous occasions that she "wanted to do potty training".
By the time we were approaching the end of October (BF 26 months), I knew we should give it another go. We had various trips away planned, and the first free run of four days was mid-November. And so the date was set!
Realising from our last attempt what I already knew, that BF is one stubborn two year old, I decided to jump straight into the "stubborn child" technique courtesy of Gina Ford, rewarding every loo trip and keeping a note of prompted trips, vs unprompted ones, and any accidents.
As BF is super-stubborn, it's not just the toilet trip that needed to be encouraged, but wiping her bottom, putting pants back on and washing her hands. So I came up with a three point system on her toilet training star chart:
- one star for going and sitting on the toilet when asked (I wasn't so fussed about whether a wee came out or not, as I knew she could hold it - it was getting her there)
- one star for 'dib dabs' and putting pants back on (wees only - poos require bending down, touching toes, bottom in the air, so mummy can wipe)
- one star for handwashing (and drying)
Once three stars had been achieved, I went to our cup cupboard, knocked on the door to see if the Toilet Fairy had left anything, and generally it was three smarties - one for each star.
Thursday and Friday went quite well to be honest, with very few accidents.
Saturday was OK, but Sunday was a disaster!
We were starting to think that we'd made a terrible mistake and it was too early again. Hubby was all for putting her back in nappies when she went back to nursery on the Monday. But I was still encouraged by Thursday and Friday's results that I said we should at least give it a go.
So in went Hubby Monday morning, BF's back-pack rammed with spare pants and clothes, with the instructions that we'd like them to try her in pants, but if it was a complete disaster to feel free to make the call to put her back in nappies.
When I collected her, I saw she was in different leggings, so asked how it went. Only two accidents!! And the staff were happy to continue. Tuesday saw one accident and by Wednesday she was dry!
Knowing that we were on the right track by now, we felt confident that she was ready.
And just over three months in, it's going pretty well to be honest. We have the odd days where she'll have a couple of accidents, which are so frustrating - but in retrospect it's often if she's really tired, slightly poorly, or in need of a poo.
The main issue that flairs up with us is her stubborness. There are days when it's almost impossible to get her to sit on the toilet without a full-blown tantrum, even when it's been a couple of hours since she last went.
Then when she unapologetically floods the floor with a massive wee, it's very hard not to get cross and lose heart.
But overall, I think we're more or less there. (She's still in nappies for night-time, and nap-times when they happen, and I'm just going to wait until she's more or less dry in the mornings before tackling that - she's still so young, so I think we've got a good few years.)
And let's not forget, I was all for leaving it until she was three, and she's not yet 2.5. So she (and we) will get there.
So it's amazing what a different a few months can make. It seems such a short space of time. But I guess in a toddler's life it's a long time. They are growing up so fast, and so much changes. Just those few short months made all the difference for BF. I'm so glad we gave up when we did. And then tried again at a later date.
Fingers (and legs!) crossed, this is one experiment we seem to have succeeded at so far.....
As always, with love from our family to yours,