We started in earnest on Friday with potty training. I had thought for a few weeks now that Isobel was ready but, after reading “Oh crap! Potty training” I knew we needed a more concrete plan.
It recommends setting aside an entire weekend or 3-4 days together and staying within your house to solely focus on potty training. I booked a day off work so I had 3 days together.
We started day 1 with Isobel naked, potty in living room and nappies hidden away. I explained to Isobel what was going to happen when she woke that morning. We had a very emotional reaction, one that I wasn’t fully prepared for and after loads of tears, I was ready to give up by 8am. Isobel needed constant hugs and reassurance which was mentally draining. The book had recommended to push past a resistance, as if they have the mental capability to resist, they can accept the transition.
We moved on and although she cried every time she went on the potty, she had at least started telling me when she had to pee. When her dad came home that evening she was even proud to show him how she was able to pee on the potty. After day 1 I was exhausted and in bed by 9, but after so much learning Isobel was asleep early too (there had to be some upside 😉)
On day 2 my husband was home so we tried to share the potty training, but she only seemed to want to do it with me holding her hand. I noticed she started to come off potty before she had finished so to keep on there, I kept saying I can hear the pee pee coming. She got relaxed when I said this and would then clap her hands and the pee pee would follow. Another exhausting day after day 2 and I re-read the chapters in the potty training book to see if I was making any classic errors. It turns out I was hovering a little and asking her to pee rather than prompting to the potty.
So on day 3, I tried to play it really cool and focused more on playing with her and her toys. She started telling me “pee pee” but instead of putting her on the potty and then her getting upset, I said “Potty is there, you can do your pee pee in it”. She would ignore this prompt and continue playing. I noticed she had a great capacity to hold a pee from the first time she told me she needed it, sometimes even 30 minutes. But I continued to play it cool and eventually she would lead me to the potty and let me put her on it. By late afternoon that day, she was getting cabin feverish after nearly 3 days indoors with mommy. So my husband braved it and brought her and the potty to our local park, which is only 5 minutes walk. The minute that she got in the park she had to go, and even though she got on the potty backwards she still managed her first public pee! (The book does recommend some short local outings if things are going well, dress the toddler but no knickers or pull up pants). She was also so happy just to be running around. So day 3 a success and only 2 misses off the potty.
So on day 4 she was back at nursery. I had followed the advice in the book which said to give the childcare provider notice in writing about what your doing and your method and ask for their continued support. Apparently some providers do not offer full support, but ours have been great and we only had 1 accident. She is in clothes today and a knickers even though the book says wait longer before transition to knickers, but due to safeguarding policy we didn’t have a choice.
Our next step is transition out of nappies for nap and nighttime but for now we are happy with the progress, and lucky for me the book has a whole chapter dedicated to nighttime training!
We also used a book for Isobel that explains potty training in a story that I had been reading to her a few weeks before our planned weekend. It has also a great little button, that you press, which does a little kids “Yeah” cheer that she loved pressing once she had finished her pee.
Best of luck to anyone going through the transition. It is emotionally draining but the quality time I spent with Isobel over the weekend was just amazing and brought me back to our breastfeeding days.