Toilet Training: The Final Frontier

“I did it, I did it!” The exuberant declaration from my three year old as he drags me to the potty to show me his proud production. His big blue eyes are wide, waiting anxiously for the praise he knows that comes next. I look into the potty and clap him “Good boy!”. I think you know you have transitioned fully into a “mother” when you experience genuine pleasure at this sight. It’s not pretence, it’s real joy! It’s a real sense of accomplishment, for him and me!

Toilet training feels like the final frontier, the last of the “training” stage of babyhood/toddlerdom. Weaning, talking, walking, brushing teeth, giving up the soother, sleeping in their own bed and now toilet training. We have successfully gotten through basic training and this is the final hurdle. In four (what seemed like LONG) weeks he has done it, he is another step towards being an independent little person.

It feels like forever since Chloe was potty training, probably because she took to it really quickly and did it much younger at two and a half. Sean is a bit older than I would have liked but I think he is just the type of kid who needed to be a bit older before starting and he needed to take his time with it.

This time round I have learned valuable lessons that have made it easier for both of us. I forgot about strict timelines. I didn’t worry about how long it took, every child is different and responds to it differently. There were some tears and tantrums but allowing him to feel comfortable, not rushed, allowed for natural adjustment and a happier toddler.

Week one; cold turkey is the only way to go. Day one, no nappy, straight into it. No use procrastinating or having long conversations about it, just did it. Bringing him to the potty/toilet every 20 minutes gets them into the habit. Lots of bribery! Small treats like a jelly afterwards worked great.

Week two; every 40 minutes and encouraging him to take the lead on when he needed to go. Week two was quite successful for Sean, he had very few accidents and seemed to be adjusting really well. He was really pleased with himself.

Week three; bit of training fatigue. Sean was getting a bit fed up and there were lots of accidents. Lots of washing and drying this week! Decided to give him a bit of a break this week and lots of reassurance when the look of disappointment was obvious.

Week four; back on track and better than ever. He was leading the way, recognising when he needed to go and communicating it perfectly. Easing off on the treats now but plenty of parsing and encouragement. Getting him to wear a nappy at night is difficult, as he doesn’t understand why he needs one now at all.

And here we are, week five and he’s got it. No accidents, no tantrums, no more tears. It’s easier than I thought it would be a month ago and he’s so happy with himself. And this independent little man now is emerging and inevitably making me somewhat broody for another baby……..! Or maybe not!


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