Toilet Training – fun right?
We’ve all seen it before, the small child who dances around, squeezing his knees together and swearing black and blue that by no means do they need to go to the toilet..nope. definitely not – that’s the peepee dance. But how do we know when is the best time to start toilet training with a toddler?
I was reading this article on the dangers of early toilet training by Dr Steve Hodges and while the argument from a medical perspective makes sense, I’m not entirely convinced. I think that in fact the children he see’s in his clinic who have issues with bedwetting and ‘accidents’ or dysfunctional voiding, probably also have parents who have an issue with accidents or bedwetting and are making it bigger than it really is. As the second article explains – in some cases the child can have an underlying physiological condition and excessive Urinary Tract Infections can be an indicator of such a condition – however the fact is that learning bladder control is part and parcel of growing up – and accidents happen. I am talking about children under the age of 4 here – and as mentioned in the second article – regular accidents in children over 4 may be an indicator of a physiological problem.
So when to begin then?
Due to the nature of the early adopter (aka H-Boy) we attempted toilet training at just before 2. I was desperate to have him out of nappies before the second one came along, and there was so much talk of toilet training at mothers group there was that subtle pressure to at least have a go.
We started out by putting the potty next the the bath and encouraging him to sit on it before his bath each night, while that bath was running we hoped that we could take advantage of the running water effect. After a little while he was regularly doing a pee in the potty each night and we were making a big deal of it.
With the new bub about to come along and me having a bit of brain fog. I wasn’t really sure where to go next. So we left it at that for a while. As it turned out he stopped wanting to use the potty at all around the time the baby came. That was fine so we left it for a while and tried again at regular intervals.
When do I switch to training pants?
After around 3 months I decided I was up for trying to get him used to the idea of going without nappies. So whenever we were at home I would let him go naked on the bottom half to great success. I started out by reminding him or taking him to the potty every hour or so but in a very short time he was taking himself off to the potty – which I must admit was very cute. I bought some training pants around this time too, but everytime he was wearing them he would just pee in his pants. The training pants were confusing him as he just assumed they were a nappy. I switched to using undies as when he wet them he really knew about it. We called them party pants for a bit of fun and he used to get excited about wearing ‘party pants’.
How long till daytime dryness?
Achieving daytime dryness was really just a matter of persistence, preparation and patience. As time went along he became better at remembering to go and pee on the toilet on his own. I stopped reminding him and just tried to make sure that if he hadn’t been for a while and we were going out I would get him to go before we went out regardless.
I have to admit that in these early stages there were quite a few #2 accidents. If it had been a day where we were getting towards the afternoon and he hadn’t done one I would put a nappy on him just in case. I was also still putting a nappy on him for his daytime sleep for quite a while in the early stages and sometimes I would just leave this on for the afternoon.
A Reward System that worked for #2’s
We did end up using a reward system for encouraging him to do #2 on the toilet. He really wasn’t interested in doing #2’s on the toilet at all initially, so we instigated a ‘lucky dip box’ that he could select something from if he did #2 on the toilet. It worked amazingly well and within 2 weeks he was taking himself off to do a #2 on the toilet. We started out with toy cars and mini lego sets as prizes for the first few weeks and gradually progressed down to lollipops and then nothing. This probably happened by the time he was about 2 and 10 months. There is occasionally still an accident but it is usually when is is distracted or excited and he just forgets.
What about Childcare?
I was sending him to childcare in undies (with a full change of clothes inc shoes and socks) by the time his was around 2 and 8 months. He was probably in the same clothes I sent him in around half the time. The other half he had had a #2 accident – which to be honest mortified me at the thought of the childcare staff having to clean it up but they assured me that it was part and parcel of their job and that they were fine with it.
By the time he was 3 I was sending him off to childcare without a worry – the only time he comes home in a new set of clothes now his when he pours water all over himself for fun!
He still does the peepee dance – especially when there is something more interesting going on. If you ask him if he needs to pee, the answer will be no 90% of the time. I usually encourage him to go anyway. I think that deliberate holding on is something that all kids will do – regardless of how or when they are toilet trained. It is part of this time in their lives. There is so much of the world to see and be excited about why would you want to stop all that fun to go to the loo?
Coming up in part 2 – Night time toileting and How to teach a boy to Pee standing up!
:: Daily Meditation:: Trust your intuition