Thursday 17 May 2012

My Potty Training Experiences & Tips.... 6 weeks onwards...

So.  It's been a while now, and I think we've ridden the roughest waves that potty training has to "offer".

It hasn't been easy.  Not at all.  The first two weeks, I felt about giving in every day.  Somehow though, we stuck with it, and I think now we can say we've almost cracked it.  Yes, there are still the odd accidents, but generally speaking, I've stopped thinking about the possibility of wee or poo accidents every minute of the day and instead been surprised by the joy of finding Ethan taking himself off to the potty or loo all by himself.  I couldn't be prouder.

I'd like to pass on my tips, in the hope that they may help someone else who's either going through it or planning for the future.  I'm sure I'll miss something out, but I'll try to think of everything I can!

1)  Unlike me, perhaps put a little thought into when you're thinking of starting.  My decision to start was kind of spur of the moment, though it was during the Easter holidays - I would recommend starting it in holidays if you can because at least that way if you want to spend the first 5-7 days close to home you're not missing out on classes and groups.  Summer time is also a good choice because it's easier to dry clothes/sofa covers/rugs/pants etc and you can (hopefully) spend bare bottom time outside.  Your child can I mean.  Unless you're not overlooked, in which case, knock yourself out, you can both hang out starkers.

2) Stock up on treats and stickers.  Draw a chart up.  Our own personal chart works as follows; a small sticker for a wee, a big sticker for a poo.  10 wee stickers = a chocolate. 3 poo stickers =  a prize from the prize bag. As he gets better at using the potty/loo for poos I will up this to 5 poos, then 7 and so on until somewhere around 10 I'll just phase it out.  Don't forget to stock up on kitchen towel/loo roll/wet wipes as well!

3) Potty Wins Prizes - "The Prize Bag" TM.  When Ethan started actually doing the odd poo in the potty, I started rewarding him with substantial prizes, but as this got more frequent, I had to get a bit more savvy with the prizes on offer.  What I do now is scour the charity shops for bargain books, toys and clothes and then I pop them in a "prize bag".  When Ethan has done 3 poos he gets to choose something from the bag.  This works really really well.

4) Bright Bots training pants (or similar).  I've bigged these up before.  They are training pants with a terry and waterproof lining.  I can vouch that they contain a wee accident for a short period (and stop too much of it spreading onto the floor/furninture) and contain poos really well.  They aren't cheap but in my mind are completely worth it.   I bought 6 pairs.  I think 7 pairs would've been better really, but as we're this far in  I won't be getting another pair just now.  They are lovely though, really bright fun colours.  Ethan loves his.

I love seeing all Ethan's colourful pants drying on the radiator!

5) "Piddle Pads" again I've written about these before - they are fleece pads with a waterproof lining which can be used on your buggy and car seat.  Availbile in a variety of materials.  Ethan hasn't yet had an accident on his, but they are a real God send at putting your mind at rest, especially on a long journey or if (like Ethan) your child naps in the car or buggy.  Well worth purchasing.

Image source: eBay bussy-bots
6) Books.  There are quite a few out there.  I don't mean potty training guides.  I don't "do" parenting guides.   Personally I think all they do is stress you out and make you feel bad.  That's just me though.  What I do do though is listen to rewviews and feedback from other people and something twitter folks recommending to me when I was struggling with Ethan's poo accidents are these books.  I whole-heartedly recommend them as well.  Set me back £15 for these three, but they are all lovely books, fun to read, Ethan enjoys them and they are very reassuring for your child.  We went for:

a) Everybody Poos - Funky illustrations, simple story.  Humourous.  Ethan laughs at this one, but it's a reassuirning message - everyone poos!  It's not dirty, it's not abnormal.  Food goes in, poop comes out.  Simple!

b) Peek-a-poo - I thought this one might be a bit too cutesy, but I love the message behind this one.  The story is about an inquisative mouse who wants to look at the insides of all of his friends nappies; The first time I read it to Ethan I worried that it would be a regreassion for him because it shows all the animals have poo in their nappies but there is a fun twist at the end **spoiler** the mouse has nothing in his nappy becasuse he has started using the potty!  Then all his animal friends want their own potties.. aha I think!! That's the idea.  So yes, this is another good one.

c) Pirate Pete's Potty - This one I'd heard of before.  I'd say this was an instant fave with Ethan.  It has a button to press which produces a cheer and now we have to have it on hand for every poo and wee so "Pirate Pete can cheer me!".  This one is the best for explaining the process of going from nappies to pants and potties.  It's a very simple story, easy to understand.  The images are eyecatching and it really gets you involved, guessing which potty you think Pirate Pete would like and which pants etc..  This is my No.1 book recommendation, if you choose only to buy one, make it this one.

I bought all three books on Amazon.

7) Leggings - yes, I have a boy, but boys can wear leggings too!! I bought several pairs of leggings for Ethan because they fold up small - not as bulky as jeans and trackie bottoms.  This is essential if you don't want to carry too much out and about with you.  If we're going out I take two pairs of spare pants and two spare pairs of leggings and a pack of wipes.  I can get these in a small change bag.  Easy peasy.  I'm telling you, until I have another little monkey my days of carrying around FREAKING MASSIVE CHANGE BAGS are over.  My back is bad enough thanks.  I got Ethan's leggings on eBay.

8)Oil cloth material and blankets - put them over your sofa if like me you can't wash the covers!! A life saver for those not so little accidents.  After 3 weeks I took these off our sofas, but it was really reassuring during the early weeks to think that the wee wouldn't be soaking through on to my stupid impractical sofas.

9) A training loo seat - Good for use at home, but easier to take out and about than a potty.  There are quite a few options for going out and about with.  We just got a simple basic loo seat inner/training seat to go on our loo and used to take it out with us.  Now I just plonk Ethan on the loo without a seat unless we're at home, just to save me from lugging around too much, but these are great to make your child feel more secure on the loo.  I bought a fold up portable training seat but it was utter rubbish, Ethan said it hurt to sit on, so in my opinion, stay away from them!

Ethan makes me wear his training seat on my head and sing karma chameleon to him...

I think that's about it... It's not an easy journey, but it's just another stage on the bumpy road that is parenthood!  I hope that my experiences might be of help to someone!  Feel free to ask any questions, you know where the comment box is! Oh, I would also like to thank all those on Twitter and Facebook who helped me with their tips, in particular Mim (@m1m_o) who suggested books to me.


  1. Hey - you did it :-) We're doing ok, but CK still isn't happy about using the loo. Potty is no problem, but not the loo. Still, there's no hurry!

    1. I know.. it was funny. About a week and a half ago I put a very frustrated message up on twitter asking if Ethan would EVER get the hang of pooing somewhere other than his pants. I then got the book recommendations, ordered those three that night, and bang, the next day, Ethan just gets it. Since then we've had one poo accident which is amazing. So.. the books may have come handier if I'd got them earlier.. but I still think they are a positive reinforcement!

      As for going on the potty, I think that's just fine! Ethan has started preferring the loo, even tried some "standing up wees like Daddy" this week (not that CK has to worry about that!) but he still uses the potty loads. It's handy because we're a one loo household and running upstairs all the time is a pain in... the potty!! ;-D xx

  2. Brilliant. This post couldn't have been more timely for me. We are just embarking on the potty training 'journey'. Have waited for the good weather, have bought the big-girl pants, have read Princess Polly's Potty over and over. We are good to go. Some really good tips here. Thanks.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad it's come at a good time! I actually started writing this a week ago but put off publishing it just in case things went backwards again...

      I hope it goes smoothly with you. I believe girls "generally" (ick) find it easier. The good weather will help!

      Good luck and grit your teeth! x

  3. Thanks for your tips! It's nice to read real advice rather than from the net or books (not that I have any books on it)! I am planning to train Alex once I get past this yucky morning sickness stage. Bought the Pirate Pete book a month ago and this has already proved to helped in some ways, so recommend that to anyone too. I am dreading the potty training stage so much! x

    1. Thank you! That's exactly why I wrote it up. I only really value advice from a "real" person. Not that everyone's views will suit everyone, of course you need to filter and tailor things to suit you, but I just prefer it to books and articles. I just don't "do" parenting books. Each to their own!

      The Pirate Pete book ROCKS. Especially the cheering button! Ethan likes to press that every time he goes. He even presses it if one of us goes LOL!

      I would certainly wait until you're feeling as good as you can be. It helps. Otherwise you won't feel strong enough for it, and you do need to be strong for this stage (like so many others!).

      It'll be OK. Honestly, I was dreading it as well. I was going to put it off until August this year, but, well, as you've read, we ended up going for it at the end of Feb and the rest is history! If I can get through it, you can!


  4. I was wondering how you were getting on with it.

    I was very lucky as Evan is completely dry and clean now in the day (has been for a good few weeks now) but I still following him round softplay etc and remind him about the loo, I feel like a stalker!


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