Monthly Parenting Magazine

Everything I’ve learnt about potty training ...

Everything I’ve learnt about potty training so far

potty training

Absolutely Mama Editor Carly Glendinning reflects on potty training…

This might sound strange, but potty training my just-turned-two-year-old was something I was actually quite excited about. My daughter has been showing signs of readiness for a while now and I (perhaps naively) thought we could breeze it.

Then, some of her friends at nursery began the process and their mums reported back that it wasn’t as easy as it looks. As with any new stage you encounter as a parent, advice from lots of different people can either be really helpful, or super confusing.

Feeling a bit less sure about whether we were actually ready for potty training (and when I say ‘we’ it was definitely me who wasn’t ready, not my daughter), I thought it wouldn’t hurt to push it back a few months.

And then my daughter’s nursery teachers told me she was getting FOMO when some of the other kids were going off to the loo. The social practice of going to the bathroom with your friends starts early it seems.

This little nudge from the teachers definitely made me panic and after speed reading a few potty training books, I decided to just jump right in and give it a go.

I wouldn’t recommend this, as I think preparation is a big factor in potty training success. As it happened, it was not the right timing as my daughter picked up a nasty nursery bug two days in and we had to abandon the whole thing.

I’m now plotting potty training round two. And this time, I want to make sure we’re both really ready. Here’s a list of everything we’ve found helpful.

Reading lots of stories about potty training

The first time we tried potty training, my daughter kept asking for her nappy back. So now we’re taking some time to gently get her used to the idea of potty training. Stories about potty training are really good for this. Some of our favourites so far include ‘Big Steps: No More Nappies‘ (my daughter loves all of the interactive elements in this book and it includes potty training tips for parents too); and we also have ‘Princess Polly’s Potty‘ and the accompanying sticker book.

Getting familiar with potty training words

This time, I want to make sure my daughter is able to tell me when she needs to go to the loo. The ‘My Little Flashcards‘ from My Carry Potty are brilliant for this. My Carry Potty founder Amanda Jenner recommends that you start using them two weeks before you start potty training. We’ve begun already and it’s really helping my daughter to get familiar with all the language she’ll need for potty training. Plus, she thinks it’s all pretty hilarious!

Choosing a potty (and one for teddy)

Most of the potty training advice I read suggested that you get your little one involved in choosing a potty.

My daughter was so excited when the BabyBjörn Potty Chair arrived (main image). The Rolls Royce of potty chairs, she absolutely loves sitting on it and it looks really comfortable with the high back. It’s super easy to clean as well. We ordered the Potty Training Kit with the toilet seat and step, which I’d really recommend.

We also got her a Minikane toy potty for her teddy. It’s very cute to see them sitting side-by-side on them.

Making sure we’ve got everything for the next steps

As I rushed into toilet training the first time, I felt completely unprepared and like we didn’t have everything we needed. We had a potty, but we were basically stuck in the house as we hadn’t thought about what we’d need if we ventured out-and-about.

In preparation for next time, we’ve got two options for toilet training on-the-go. First up, My Carry Potty. This clever compact travel potty is leak-free, odour-free, and bag free. We’ve gone for a neutral colour, but there’s lots of fun designs to get kids excited about going to the potty.

We’ve also got a Potette™  Plus 2-in-1. This is also a really great travel potty design. It can be used as a standalone potty with the accompanying liners. Fold it out, and it becomes a travel toilet seat. Genius.

As my daughter definitely didn’t love being without a nappy, we’ve also got some potty training pants from My Carry Potty. We’ll probably use these once we’re through the first stage of potty training, and my daughter was excited about the penguin design. We’ve been talking a lot about how she’s now a ‘big kid’ who gets to wear pants now. So fingers crossed that does the trick!

Nailing the timing

What we did wrong the first time was rushing into things. Our timing was completely off and I should have listened to my instincts, instead of other people. As my daughter only turned two recently, her nursery teachers reassured me that we still have plenty of time.

When we try again, it’ll be when I feel sure that my daughter is comfortable and also when I’m able to block out a good chunk of time to spend with her. Wish us luck!

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