Getting ready for the arrival of Ella and being warned about the amount of soiled diapers I’d have to change, I stocked my nursery with all the essentials – changing pad, diapers, wipes and disposable gloves. Yes, disposable gloves were a must have for me as the thought of even accidentally getting any of it on my hands grossed me out. As with everything when you actually become a parent, you just learn to deal with it as there is no other choice.
As a result, I was happy to support potty training as soon as possible! We were lucky as Ella’s baby sitters were completely on board. I read a lot of articles about when the right time was and many of the articles indicated that you should wait until they showed interest in the potty or were uncomfortable sitting in a soiled diaper. Ella was 19 months at the time, and I can’t say that she showed interest or even cared too much about a soiled diaper. In looking back, I think she was a little young to really care one way or another and I wonder if I waited until she had more of an opinion on things whether she would have been as agreeable to go along with it. Who knows, all I knew was the sooner the better and since she didn’t fight us on it, why not?
Doing some research on all the tools I needed, I got my toilet training kit together:
1. Potty seat: Prince Lionheart WeePod and Baby Bjorn Toilet Trainer
2. Step stool: Baby Bjorn Step Stool and Ikea Bolmen stool
3. Wipes: Pampers Kandoo flushable wipes
4. Disposable toilet seat covers: Neat Solutions Potty Toppers and Potty Covers
5. Car seat liner: Summer Infant Deluxe Piddlepad Waterproof Seat Liner
6. Lots of underwear!
7. Pull-up diapers: Pampers Easy-ups
I made a decision that we were going to skip the stand alone potty that you’d have to dump into the toilet and clean afterwards and go right to the toilet. At 19 months, it wasn’t like she could pull her pants down by herself and since she needed help anyways throughout the entire process, why not just put her on the regular toilet and skip the extra step was my thinking.
It was spring by this time so there weren’t many layers to contend with so this made it much easier. As she was with the baby sitter for most of the day, I was very grateful that they were so keen as it was a bit of work at the beginning. We started by putting her on the potty every 15 minutes to get her to actually go in the toilet and know what the sensation felt like. On the second day, success – she went in the toilet. Then we extended the time to every 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, and then an hour. The increase to an hour took about two weeks time. We stayed at every hour for about 4 weeks as the goal was to drastically reduce the chance of accidents and ensure she got used to going in the toilet each and every time. Before we left the house, we put her on the toilet first and gradually she got used to this cue and went almost every time. This allowed us to go out for short periods of time without any accidents. When we did go out, it was always to a place where there was a washroom near by. I got great at scoping out the closest washroom and ensuring I could access the facilities with no more than a 5 minute walk. After 4 weeks, we increased the time again in 15 minute increments every couple of days until she could go two hours in between washroom visits. For us, two hours was success as we never went anywhere where we couldn’t access a washroom in two hours time.
Earlier on in the process, I was so nervous about accidents that I relied on pull-up diapers instead of regular underwear a lot. I think that this slowed down the process for us since she still had the safety of going in her diaper and truly didn’t give her incentive to hold it since she didn’t go through the uncomfortable feeling of sitting/standing in wet underwear. If I had to do it again, I would have drastically reduced the use of pull-ups to only times when we were going out and potentially washrooms would not be as readily available or during long car rides. Other than that, I would have put her in underwear right from the start.
Even when she was “trained” we still prepared for accidents (as they will happen!). Always pack extra clothing and underwear which we religiously did until she was 2 and a half. By that time, she was communicating well and could tell us when she needed to go potty which was an added benefit. Don’t take it for granted that once they start telling you that they always will. We made that mistake and after months of no accidents, low and behold we had an accident as she neglected to tell us until the very last second. In addition we still to this day always put her on the toilet before we leave the house regardless of when she went last. If we’re out and she’s engrossed in playing and hasn’t gone for 3hrs, I will preemptively take her without asking her as the answer is usually no when she’s having fun.
If you’re getting close to this stage – good luck! And if you’re already through this stage, please share other techniques or potty training stories below.
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