Potty Training

Potty Training in a Week: Fact or Fiction?
I would firstly like to say that I am a humble mum of two with no professional child care training to draw upon so have little right to question the likes of Jo Frost and Gina Ford. I think that they offer sound advice and practical tips which are incredibly useful when if you are like me, you didn’t have a clue about raising just one child, let alone the buy one get one free that I managed to somehow find myself with!
My only criticism of these very knowledgeable and experienced ladies is perhaps setting an unrealistic expectation that I suspect the majority of children fall short against – potty trained in a week.
In my experience potty training is a journey that has many stages, far more than I imagined or was prepared for:
Stage 1: Introducing the concept to them and preparing yourself (Tips- great books available such as Pirate Pete for boys and Princess Polly’s Potty for girls, learning the difference between wet and dry, introducing the idea of a potty, taking them to the bathroom with you, stocking up on paper towel, carpet cleaner and absorbent trousers!).
Stage 2: Making the link between feeling the need to go and the potty (Tips- say goodbye to the nappy and hello to big boy/girl pants, expect to spend a huge amount of time encouraging them onto the potty and hoping to catch something, there are some great apps that can help to keep it exciting for them and help you keep track of the successes, lots of praise for every success).
Stage 3: Asking to go and being able to wee on demand! “Mummy, I need a wee wee” was such a good moment! (Tips- Before this we were on scheduled wee wee stops which seemed to save us from the majority of accidents!)
Stage 4: Transition to toilet. (Tips- The boys were reluctant to give up the potty. I have to admit, this was one occasion where bribery worked a charm. I wrapped up two trains, told them what they were and said they could have them if they went on the toilet. Instant results.)
Stage 5 (for boys only): Weeing standing up! I still find this strange and have to admit that I have let nursery take the lead on this one! Now, I can see its benefits, very quick and easy!
Stage 6: Dry for naps and nights. (Tips- We found after a while that the lunchtime nappies were dry so this part has been easy.
I am yet to tackle night times but I am not planning to for a while yet…….)
Getting to stage 3 when they were reliably telling me that they needed to go was the hardest bit and this is what I think the experts say can be done in a week and it can. I know mums who have it all done and dusted in 2 days but I think that the majority find this tough and you absolutely need to stay calm, find the patience of a saint and keep with it. For us, the journey to get both boys to stage 4 was about 4 months but we did train one at a time. The first was asking to go for a wee within 2 weeks, the other took a good month or so.
Potty training has been a roller coaster between frustration and joy but to be honest, I feel that the boys have done well as they are not yet three. Maybe if I had waited it would have been quicker, but I am personally glad I did it when I did.
So my conclusion, all children are different and with heaps of encouragement they will do it in their own good time. The books can give you great tips and with luck you will be one of the fortunate parents that make potty training in a week fact. For those of you, like me, where this is sadly a distant myth, keep calm, take each day as it comes and console yourself with the fact that everyone gets there eventually!
by Joanna Bell