So this is something that I think most parents dread and look forward to at the same time. The dread is from going through the process itself and dealing with all the accidents along the way and the light at the end of the tunnel is not having to deal with smelly, soiled nappies and the bonus of the financial savings you make. Nappies and wipes are expensive and as our bubbas get older, the process of nappy changing becomes even more unpleasant with full blown bowel motions, as their diet becomes more adult like. For me the latter was the main incentive as I would often be left with the dirty nappies, as Kam would heave at the slightest whiff of a number 2.
There are lots of books and resources on how to do it, which in all honesty I haven’t read once. I went by my experience when Maicen was being toilet trained (and even then I just winged it) and by trial and error.
How do you know your baby is ready?
Well I knew Rhys was ready because he would tell me he needed a ‘wee-wee’ before I put him in the bath. He would happily sit on the toilet, do nothing and say ‘it’s not coming.’ He wasn’t afraid of the toilet, as he has seen his big brother (and the rest of us as there is clearly no privacy in our house) using the toilet, so it wasn’t such a big deal for him. I think this can be the first obstacle that many people face; actually getting their bubba into the bathroom and anywhere near a toilet. I would say normalise it by sitting them on the toilet here and there. A basic toilet training seat is a great idea so they don’t feel like they are going to fall in. Also, let them see that even mummy and daddy use the toilet, which to be fair most parents have no control over anyway, as their children often walk in and out of the bathroom without a care in the world.
I bought pull ups, which if I had actually used, would have been fantastic and saved fiddling around with nappies when needed. But I hadn’t really planned on training him until I was at my mum and dads and had enough of the fact that he had soaked through his nappy and into his clothing for the third consecutive morning.
So I whipped off his nappy and sat him on the toilet training seat (we have always kept one at my mum and dad’s house for Maicen) and told him he was a big boy and we needed to do wee wees in the toilet now and not in the nappy. I put his pyjama bottoms back on without the nappy and off we went for breakfast.
I sat him on the toilet every 10-15 minutes, which he was getting a bit fed up of, but the iPad was enough to keep him there for a few minutes. The first couple of times, he sat on, did nothing and said “it’s not working, it’s coming later.” But then he had an accident which he didn’t like one bit, straight after which I took him to the bathroom and sat him back on. And guess what?! He finished his wee on the toilet! The first day he had maybe 4 accidents but also did lots of wee wees on the loo.
Urine, I could handle, but as it was becoming later in the day, and bear in mind that this kid usually does his number 2 in the morning, I was getting worried! But there was no sign of it. I think he must have held it in as he wasn’t yet comfortable with doing it in the toilet. If I remember correctly, Maicen did exactly the same thing when I was training him. I did feel really bad about it because I didn’t want him to have an upset tummy or to suffer when trying to open his bowels the following day.
He had his bottle of milk as usual before bed and then I took him to the toilet again before he went to sleep.
He woke up with a dry nappy! Wow, was I surprised or what?! I got him on the toilet as soon as he woke up and he did a massive wee. But unfortunately, around 30 minutes later, he wet himself and was so upset by this. For the rest of the morning he kept telling me when he needed to go and didn’t have any further accidents.
We even ventured out on a 40 minute walk, although I did put a nappy on him “just in case”…..but it was dry. Despite having the nappy on, I asked him every 10-15 minutes if he wanted to use the toilet. When we got home I asked him to go to the toilet but he said he didn’t need to. I changed his nappy to underwear so he would keep telling me rather than risk him wetting his nappy.
By around 4pm he was straining whilst crouching on the table and drawing pictures. And there we had it….a poo in his pants! But I caught him in the act so ran over to him and took him to the bathroom, where he finished his business on the toilet, whilst I dealt with his pants (lucky me, hey?!).
He was so good that even when I was putting him to bed with a nappy on, he didn’t want to wet it and asked me to take him to the toilet!
A completely dry day!
Rhys had mastered this whole toilet business! We went to a soft play area for two and a half hours without a single wet nappy. This is when the pull ups would have come in handy as it was quite difficult to keep taking his nappy off and to put it back on standing up when taking him to the toilet. Following this, we ventured to the shops for a couple of hours and again no accidents. I took him to the toilet and he looked at his nappy and said “eww that’s dirty” and flung it off and threw it on the floor. I didn’t bother putting another one on him and so he was out and completely nappy free for another hour.
When we got home he asked to go to the toilet and when I thought he’d finished, I asked him to get off but he refused to and said “poo poo is coming.” I was so, so proud of him.
He has done so well, in such a short space of time and at such a young age. We’ve had an odd accident here or there but it hasn’t been daily and he has been waking up with a dry nappy every morning!
I’m not going to make out that it was easy because it wasn’t. I literally had to completely dedicate all my time to Rhys and couldn’t really do anything else. Staying indoors with a three year old and a two year old is difficult. Maicen is at that age, where he wants to be doing things. But because I was rushing to the toilet with Rhys so frequently, I couldn’t really focus as much on Maicen. But look, it was only three days! Actually it was only really one day, because on the second and third days, we did go out. If I can cope with it, then anyone can.
So that’s Rhys’s three day journey to being a nappy free big boy.
- Normalise the toilet (let them see that you use it)
- Get a toilet training seat so you can sit them on the same way you sit on (pottys seemed to frighten Maicen so I didn’t even bother with one for Rhys)
- Take them frequently (every 10-15 minutes or so to get them used to it and also after drinking a significant amount e.g. bottle of milk/cup of water)
- Sit them back on the toilet even after accidents as I found that he would have an accident but hold the rest of the urine (or poo) in. So when I would sit him on the toilet, he would finish the rest of his business
- If they have accidents it’s not the end of the world. Don’t make them feel bad for it as they probably feel pretty upset about it already
- Make a big deal of successful toilet trips so it positively reinforces them to go
- Pull ups can make your life easier
- Get some special pants for them (Rhys is a Peppa Pig & George fan so he borrowed a couple of pairs of Maicen’s pants, which he loved)
- Boys may prefer to stand up to pass urine (my two are happier sitting)
- Most importantly, be persistent and DON’T GIVE UP! Day one is the hardest but if I could do it cooped up at home with both of the boys, so can you!
- Once they’ve mastered using the toilet, let the nappy be a distant memory and don’t track back for your ease as it will only make your life harder in the long run.