The Trials and Tribulations of Potty Training a Toddlerby Emma Longden
With Benjamin coming up to three and showing signs of being ready, my husband and I thought the summer holidays would be a good time to start potty training with him. Having been through it all before with my older two, I figured I knew what to expect and felt at least semi-prepared.
We decided to bypass pull-ups and go straight to pants, mainly to save on cost, but also as sometimes the pull-ups are too similar to a nappy and can delay the process a bit. We happily picked out some ‘big boy pants’ in the shops and began.
At first, it was hard for Benjamin to know when he would be about to wee. He would be playing and suddenly jump up and tell us he needed a wee, only for us to realise he had already done one. In the early days, there were lots of accidents like this and I felt I was forever putting on loads of washing made up of his tiny pants and shorts. This stage is probably one of the most frustrating.
Stand Up Wee
My eldest son is nine, so it had been quite a while since I potty trained a boy. I was not prepared for the stage where Benjamin decided he wanted to only do a wee on the potty or toilet if he could stand up like his big brother and daddy. The only problem is, he didn’t really get how to do it and wanted us to help. The less glamorous side of parenting they don’t tell you about... and luckily a phase that passed at least for the time being.
Talking of less glamorous tasks, when it comes to tackling poop during the potty training stage, be prepared for things to get messy. Real messy. I heard that it can be easier and less hassle to simply allow children to run around and play without any clothes on in the garden during the summer when potty training. I happily allowed Benjamin to strip, internally high-fiving myself for cutting down on the washing for that day. Five minutes later, whilst I sipped on an ice-cold drink and continued congratulating myself, my eldest son shouted that Benjamin had done a poop. I looked up to discover he had indeed done a poop. It was standing on end on the deck, a smaller version just next to it, also on end. I had no idea how it was on end, and I must admit I was a little impressed as well as grossed out. Let me tell you now, letting them run around with no clothes on when potty training is definitely not less messy. The horror.
I have never been as stressed as when Benjamin has either made a face or told us he needed the toilet whilst potty training. If we happen to be out and about, it’s a race against time to get him to a toilet without getting wet. We have managed to avoid any car seat accidents, which in itself is a miracle, and *touch wood* I have not had to deal with a poop in the pants situation either, largely down to our quick reactions when Benjamin lets us know he needs to go.
If you told me when I was younger that one day I would be one of *those* mums that send over pictures of their child’s poop to others, I would laugh in your face. Unfortunately for my mum and close friend, I am now one of those people. I maintain that the poop that was the length of my son’s arm was something that had to be seen to believe and that I gave fair warning (to my friend, my mum just got the photo pinged over on messenger, sorry Mum!).
So, if there is some advice I can share from my recent experiences of potty training a toddler it would be to prepare yourself for a mess, take supplies wherever you go, and consider swapping your carpets for something wipe-clean... Good Luck!