Thursday 23 April 2015

Potty training is... hard work!

I have been told by so many people - it only took us 3 days and he just got it and it will be easy when they are ready... well I don't believe that for a minute!

We have had our second attempt at potty training over the last couple of weeks and yes it's definitely going better than last time but it is most definitely not easy and any parent who says otherwise is either very very lucky or lying!

It hasn't come easily to Riley, I can tell when she needs the potty so there have been a number of days where we haven't had any accidents but she doesn't consistently tell us when she needs it, so if she is with someone else it doesn't always go so well or if I take my eye off the ball for a while.

There are a few things that all parents should be told about potty training...

1. Wait until your child can understand what's happening and you can explain what they are meant to do.  It is also easier if they can definitely understand two phase instructions.

2. Don't do potty training in the winter - use the weather to your advantage - warm days mean less clothes to get wet and the chance to get washing done and dried quicker than your child manages to get it wet again.

3. If your child hates being in the house like Riley does spending a full week in the house while you do 'Potty training' isn't going to be a great incentive for it to actually work.  Two days in and Riley started to connect wearing big girl pants with being imprisoned in the house!  This is where summer comes in again, my advice is go to the park, take a picnic, lay out the picnic blanket and potty and spend the day there.  They no longer feel imprisoned and accidents don't matter.

4. Bribery is ok!  We are now at the point where we have told Riley if she tells us she needs the potty and does a wee or poo on the potty she gets some chocolate (thus needing to understand a two level command).  Everyone says use stickers but you know what sometimes stickers just aren't incentive enough!

5. Pull ups are just the nappy companies way of getting those last few pennies out of parents - they can be really confusing to a child as they feel like nappies so they definitely gave Riley mixed messages, she just didn't get it.  Now there are times when accidents just aren't an option like when Riley rides my friends pony but we found 'Bambino Mio training pants', they are cotton with a waterproof layer in the middle so the child thinks they are still wearing pants but you have a back up 'just in case'  and they are washable so reusable.

6. Don't worry if it doesn't work out first time, if it all becomes too much for your child or you then just go back to nappies and try again in a few weeks or months.

But my biggest message to you is potty training is hard for your child and hard for you.  It's the first time you have to take a huge developmental step with absolutely no advice and as with many parenting topics there is a lot of pressure to succeed and make it look easy, but lets be honest it's not.  But just remember you don't see many teenagers still in nappies so it does happen it just takes time and practice and lots of praise and don't let it take over your life - still remember to have fun with your child.

I thought I'd leave you with this picture of Riley eating roasted marshmallows off a stick - what a great way to celebrate after a week of potty training pressure :)

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