April 8, 2013

Potty training: Our story

Category: Being Parents

It has now been almost half a year since I last wrote on our experience of Spud being “accidentally” potty trained. Isn’t it amazing – a whole six months that Spud has not been in a diaper during the day!

At that time, while she was potty-trained to pee, Spud had adamantly refused to let go of her poo in the potty; preferring to poo in her diaper instead.

She would freak out each time she had to poo in the potty, and no matter how gentle we reasoned with her or how hard we tried to convince her to use the potty, Spud would not have it. We tried the reward’s chart and it failed miserably. While we encouraged her to go to the potty when she needed to poo, we never really pushed her hard. At one point, I thought she probably would continue pooping in her pants for the next 5 years; and somewhat resigned myself to it. Cue: Big sigh!

Thankfully, that did not last for too long, for within about a week or two  after she mastered peeing in the toilet, she figured out – without much fuss or hassle as claimed by our nanny, even though she gave us a really hard time over the weekends – that it was really OK to poo in the potty. I don’t really know how and when it happened, but it just happened. While she refused to adamantly use the small potty we bought for her, opting for the adult size toilet bowl (no! she does not want the toddler inserts to be in there either!), she finally overcame her fear.

These days, Spud uses the toilet in the day like a champ. She scoots up to the big potty like it was nothing, and does her business there whenever she needs to. There still are accidents every now and then – they generally happens when she’s too busy and distracted with other things, convincing herself that she does not need to go, even as she does her “pee dance”.

And here’s Spud all happy to sit on the big potty (and refusing to use the potty insert in the background)…

 and then telling me on how small she thought her poo would be…

Cheeky bugger!

Spud is still not potty trained at night, and we have continued with securing her with a nappy when she goes to bed in the evening. I had an inkling that we probably might have missed that “window” in the earlier stages of her being potty-trained in the day. By that, I mean: During the initial period when she went diaper-less during the day, she had voluntarily woke up several times at night telling us that she needed to pee. After several days, it became an excuse for her to either delay her bedtime and/or come to our room several times a night whether or not she needed to pee, thus robbing us of our precious sleep.

It was quite an annoying period as that had meant interrupted sleep once again. While we always would accompany her to the bathroom, we never really take off the night nappy. After about a week, she probably realised that she won’t be wet if she just pees in her nappy till the morning comes…

When the very last of her nappy ran out recently because I forgot to stock it up one fine day, we thought it would be a good idea to attempt weaning her off the nappy at night. And for about a week, I was committed to waking up at night to wake her up to pee, or hoping that she would be able to sense it when she needs to use the bathroom. However, I may have been a little too late on most nights, as by the time I wake her up, she has already wet herself and was sleeping through like nothing had happened. I could only venture that perhaps, she is still not ready to be potty trained at night. I guess she would continue being in her night nappy till she hits 15 years old…

That being said, here are several tips to toilet train a toddler: 

  1.  Let the child go diaper-less. Don’t look back (except at night!) 
  2.  Remind the child to go often. Even if you get a “no”, bring the child to the potty. This could be up to 10x every half an hour. (And a constant battle of will to convince her that yes, she needs to pee!)
  3.  Buy colourful underwear. Let her choose which one the child wants to wear for the day
  4. Bribing works – have ample supply of M&M for each time she does a pee or poo in the toilet
  5.  Accidents happen. Take a deep breath, pretend to ignore the accident, clean it up and move on
One other reminder I wish I had known before especially for a stubborn child is this:

After sitting on the potty, set a timer for 30 minutes if the child didn’t potty, 1 hour if the child did. Sit on the potty when the timer goes off (this way the timer is the one saying it’s time to sit on the potty, not you).

My take on potty training is – a child is ready when he or she is ready. As parents, we can only provide the means and encouragement and somehow, they seem to know what to do when the time comes.

I’m hoping I don’t get stressed out when it comes to Squirt being potty trained. Maybe we should be sending him to school by then and get the school to start potty-training him first.

I know. I’m disgusting – I’m copping out of my parenting responsibilities of potty training my child myself. But that’s OK; I can live with myself on this one.

Related post(s):
Potty Training
Potty Tales
Eavesdropping Spud

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