The Potty Training Diaries: weeks 3-12

Hard to believe it’s been three months since we embarked on this potty training journey with Little Miss. 

It feels like so much longer. 

Last I left you, we had given in and converted from toilet to potty. That was the right decision, though we now use more of a 50/50 approach.

Day out at Kew Gardens with the buggy piled high with potty, toddler toilet seat, a bag of spare clothes and a trike!

Just as you reach the stage when you don’t have to leave the house with the kitchen sink every day, you start potty training…

At home or when we’re in the car and have to stop (we’ve been on a fair few road trips thanks to some ill health in the fam way up north) Little Miss uses a potty, but when we’re out and about, she uses a toilet with her little pink toilet seat, which lives in its own special bag under the buggy.

a selection of potty training prizes from Tesco for under £1, including playdough, bubbles, a Finding Dory bowl and cup and some dairy free chocolate buttons.

Lesson number one of potty training: no parent is above bribary.

Things improved with the introduction of a star chart. Stickers alone weren’t enough by the end of week four (diva) so the chart allowed her to keep track of exactly how many stickers she’d earned each day. Gold star for a success, sad face for an accident. Five gold stars won her a prize from the prize bag (a random collection of things I found in Tesco under £2!). 

I’d love to say this has been the clincher. But in reality, this has only helped her counting and negotiation skills rather than her potty skills. 

There was one incident on a Wednesday at Nina’s where apparently Little Miss said,

“I want a biscuit. 

I do a wee now and I get a biscuit.”

Then trotted off to the potty. Another time, I forgot her present on the fifth star and she stood there in the middle of the kitchen staring indignantly. Finally she walked over to the chart on the wall and said, 

“My present now?!”

Can’t help feel she’s missing the point…

Still, at least we have a two and a half year old who can nearly count to ten unaided! She knows no letters and pisses herself uncontrollably, but she can count to ten. *self-five!*

toddler watching TV on the potty

Some days you just say ‘fuck it’. and all morals and examples of good parenting go out the window. Those are the days she sits watching TV on the potty until wees…

Alas, I’d say we’re currently at a rate of 50/50 success still overall. We have days where she doesn’t have one accident and is an absolute star. And others, like Thursday, where she manages two wees in the potty and six accidents, including two number twos in her pants… So the good and the bad days sort of balance each other out. 

She definitely seems to struggle more at nursery. This may be because she’s distracted and not concentrating on ‘holding it,’ or maybe she suffers severe FOMO (after all, if you might not quite have enough time to roll in every muddy puddle in the nursery garden because you took some time out to go have a tinkle, you might think twice and just deal with soggy-trow-syndrome as well!). Or maybe it’s because at home it’s usually two adults to one child watching her signals, reminding her and asking her if she needs a wee (much to her annoyance) every 50 minutes, where as at nursery it’s one adult to three tiny terrors and she’s required to handle things on her own a bit more. (You would think independence would be her strong suit…….) 

toddler on potty between two car doors, protecting her privacy!

Little Miss requires a bit of privacy for her potty sessions… even if it’s on the side of the road…

But despite this at times slow progress, on so many occasions, she has done brilliantly. During a nine hour drive to Sunderland (which is long at the usual five hours, but was extra lengthy due to potty stops and a lunch break) she didn’t have a single accident. If we asked her to hold it until we reached a services, she did. If we asked her to sit on the potty when we were at a services because it had been a while, she did. She was brilliant. (Until she weed and pooed on her seat at a really lovely cafe in Durham during lunch… Oops…)

We’ve clocked that her accidents (at home) are when she’s tired. If it’s approaching nap time, or like that day in Durham her nap has been delayed for some reason, she just can’t control it. It’s like her brain switches off and we are left at the mercy of her bodily functions. It’s the same after 6pm as bedtime approaches too – you have to be a super-alert-eagle-eyed-bedtime-ninja now (Rather than just your bog standard bedtime-ninja. Those guys are so last Spring.)!

To help with this, we’ve been putting her in a diaper for nap time (we already were for bedtime – no opening that can of worms just yet!), which has been working really well. Loads of advice suggests you shouldn’t go backwards and revert to diapers, but for Little Miss (my sanity and for the sake of our car!) this has worked like a dream.  It’s a clear signal to Little Miss that she can just relax and drift off to sleep.

There have been some hilarious out takes to potty training though: 

In the New Forest, a complete potty station set up in the trunk of the car for her lady ship to pee and poop in peace and private! (Can’t have horse’s prying eyes now can we!) 

Or trying to balance a toddler on a toilet seat on a moving train, the train jolting, me losing my balance as I crouched on the bathroom floor and her then falling in the loo! (Thankfully I was laughing so hard she just started laughing to! Germaphobe OH on the other side of the door, not so much…) 

But my personal favourite was in Eton last weekend. We went for a walk around the town after lunch and, being an exeat weekend and a Sunday afternoon, nothing was open. As we approached the hour mark, we started to get a bit jittery, wondering if we should head back to the car to get the potty (of course, that included finding out way back to the car!). At one hour fifteen minutes, my mother-in-law (GranPam) suggested she squat in a bush. We hadn’t tried this before. Little Miss can be very particular about where she pees (cue New Forest portable potty station – diva). Not to mention I have no idea how you get a two and a half year old to pop-a-squat without simply peeing all over herself… 

But by one and a half hours, we had no choice. It was give it a go or wait for the accident. So, we found a little secluded, grassy patch behind a wall and whipped her leggings down. 

The OH tried to hold her hands and get her to lean back, but she couldn’t get her bum sticking out enough. So he ended up holding her legs up for her as well in a sort of damsal-in-distress-esque fashion, while also trying to hold himself out of the splash zone. (I so desperately wanted to whip out my phone for a quick pic, but I think the OH might have killed me. So instead, you’ll just have to take my word for it – they looked hysterical.) Little Miss too found the whole thing utterly hilarious and waited, patiently ‘holding it’ until we had a good position and said ‘go!’ 

She kept saying, “my bum’s outside!” and “I’m weeing in the plants like daddy!” (Which gives you some idea of what I’m up against here – the OH has the tiniest bladder in the world and zero ability to hold it. It’s a long running joke – apparently he’s still a four year old boy himself! I very seriously fear Litte Miss has inherited his bladder control however…)

So, what’s next? 

Little Miss has just this week started telling us if she needs a wee, but it’s very sporadic and not reliable. I think this will be the next great hurdle for us for potty training. Once she’s mastered this (and not wetting herself quite so regularly) I think we’ll be home and dry (literally). 

That, and we need to sort out this FOMO issue at nursery…

daddy coaxing a toddler on the potty

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