The husband and I had talked about probably starting to toilet train the little lady around her second birthday. I say probably because despite being first time parents, we’ve always taken a fairly laissez faire, let’s see what happens approach to parenting that has worked well for us. What we weren’t expecting however, was for the little lady to take the lead and start toilet training herself in the run up to her second birthday which is only weeks away.
I think we were prepared for the whole toilet training experience to be messy, stressful and a bit tricky with us both working full time, but it seems curiosity and a growing independence has our little lady running ahead of us on this one (very proud mummy here). I’m completely astounded. We haven’t done anything in particular to encourage her to do this, but I think without realising it, we have created the perfect toilet training environment for her to explore and learn in. I’m not sure how different this is from how others approach toilet training, so I thought I’d share some of the things that I think have helped us create a stress free toilet training experience all round:
1. If you can afford to and have the space to, buy a potty and a toilet seat trainer and see which of the two your little one prefers. We started off with a lovely Baby Bjorn potty that the little lady shunned, only to find that she much preferred a Frozen toilet training seat from Mothercare that allowed her to sit on the toilet like mummy and daddy. Now that I think about it, I can see how asking a toddler to go to the toilet in a potty must be a very foreign concept. All they’ve ever seen is mummy, daddy and everyone else using a toilet, and as we all know independent toddlers just want to be like everyone else!
2. Make a big deal of them going to the toilet without going overboard. Recognise and applaud their successful toilet trips. Dont go as far as narrating everything they are doing, but do praise them when they go. The husband actually makes a bit of a fuss each time the little lady goes to the toilet whether she actually “goes” or not. I personally prefer to just praise her each time she goes, but both approaches seem to be working just fine.
3. Be consistent. We all know that little ones like routine and repetition, and the same seems to apply to toilet training. We follow roughly the same routine each time she goes to the toilet which has meant that the little lady has developed her confidence and independence in using the toilet very quickly.
4. Be responsive, supportive and patient. As much as these little people want to be independent, they can’t do it all by themselves yet. This means being patient and encouraging when it feels like they take a lifetime to pull their trousers down in the middle of your favourite programme! It also means fighting the urge to quibble with your other half over who’s turn it is to take them to the toilet, and instead be quick to respond, making it feel like a positive, not a negative experience.
5. Let them take the lead. One of the things that we’ve done, or rather not done that I think is quite different is ask the little lady if she needs to go to the toilet. As she still wears a nappy we let her tell us when she needs to go and have noticed over time that she is starting to ask us more often. More recently she has started asking to use the toilet at nursery, and asks us to use the toilet as soon as she wakes up in the mornings so we know we are definitely making progress!
The next big step is to make the switch from nappies to pants. I have no idea how we’re going to do it yet, but I’m hoping that it evolves as organically as everything else has. Its always helpful to hear how others have approached things, so let us know if you have any tips that you can share on how you did it!