A wise mama said to me that potty training would be the most stressful parenting journey that I would go through. She sure was right. For the toddler years anyway.
We’d owned a potty for a while and now and then she’d use it, but not often. And she was starting to develop a bit of a dislike for it, so we decided it was time to change that. Plus, it was Summer and a good time weather-wise. We’d tried the sticker-chart reward system, but she just didn’t seem that fussed about it.
I read a lot*. I printed out blog posts. I highlighted my favourite pointers. I made lists.
Three days is what everyone says, so that’s what we planned for. Hubby took a day off so that we had a long weekend to work with.
We’d been talking about buying big girl undies (just like Mummy and Daddy) for a week or so before our weekend. Two days before our start date, the little-y and I set off for Kmart. We made a big deal about it, and talked about it the whole way in the car. We spent some time choosing what she wanted. Again, another big deal when we got home to tell Daddy. I think we even called the grandmas to tell them too. The next day we washed them all and kept talking about the concept. And talking. And talking. We said goodbye to all her nappies. They were now only for her baby brother. She was a big girl now.
On the first day, she did well. We started with accidents but would often finish in the potty as we rushed her there. We thought it would be important to keep the potty in the bathroom so that she got used to holding on until she got there. I really liked this idea and I think it was quite important. It also meant that we weren’t looking for where we last left the potty. Every ten minutes or so, we’d say “remember to tell Mummy/Daddy if you need to do wees or poos”. We also often asked whether or not she had dry undies and when she did, she got a big congratulations.
Day two, she seemed absolutely exhausted. Almost every time was an accident. I think we were just hounding her so much that her poor little brain just didn’t want to listen to the questions anymore.
From midday on day three until the end of the day, she had dry undies and she even did a poo in the potty! We were so happy!! But perhaps a little over-confident…
Daddy went back to work on Monday and I decided that a trip to our regular playgroup would be a safe idea. There were no carpets, she knows the people well and everyone else is a Mum who has already gone through potty training with at least one child.
I prepped a toilet bag: cleaning wipes for the toilet, a fold-up toilet seat, changes of undies and clothes, plastic bags for wet things, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I was ready.
When we arrived we went and ‘checked out’ the toilets so that she knew where they were. I asked her every now and then whether she needed to go. And then I took a phonecall. Bad parenting move, Mama. She, of course, had a massive accident in the thirty seconds that I was outside the door. So, she was embarrassed and probably a bit scared because she couldn’t see me. Ugh. I think I felt safe, but she didn’t. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have left the house.
And for the next few days, every wee was an accident. It was horrible. I was getting stressed. She was getting upset and we were all exhausted. By Thursday, I was at my wit’s end. Hubby took a day off to give me some space. Bubba and I hung out at IKEA (did you know it’s free tea and coffee during the week? Nice.).
We also realised that she was holding on until she got into bed when we put a pullup on for night-time. So, we just got rid of the pullups. We had a few night time accidents. But, we were prepared with clean sheets, mattress protectors and pjs, so we could make the change super-quick.
And with more persistence, by the following Monday, it started to work again. We introduced a reward (which we hadn’t done up until now) and she could watch some Peppa Pig on our tablet when she used the potty successfully. This was a huge help. The night accidents were also reducing. Things were finally looking up.
We had a four-day holiday with no day-time accidents. We had the potty in the car with us, but she only used it once. We did do pullups overnight, purely because I didn’t want to travel with lots of sheets. But she coped with this idea.
And now? I can tell you when her last two day-time accidents were: the 14th of Dec and the 28th of December. She’s done it. She’s amazing and she’s a little trouper! And we don’t need Peppa anymore.
But, I’d like to rename it seven-day potty training!
*The e-book from 3 day potty training