The build up....
Just like you, at Botanic Baby, wees and poos are a big part of our daily life.
We are first time parents, and not toilet training experts! We are sharing with you, as you may find both solidarity & humor as we muddle through educating Archer. I would like to note: if you are stuck toilet training, don’t forget the raising children network or your maternal health nurse. They are a great places to get professional help!!
Toilet training is a big developmental milestone - it’s not a race. It signifies a huge step from dependent to independent. It provides parents the road out of nappies, amazing new parental skills and a chance to know more about your toddler.
Archer goes to childcare 5 days a week, as my husband and I work full time. Any major parental preferences like nappies, food, sleep and toilet training are discussed with his early childhood education teachers. We have been fortunate to have a childcare that uses our nappy preference. And we simply provide the nappies and the wetbag for them to use, and give us back the dirties. We bring them home and pop in our nappy pail and wash the covers and wetbag. We use Botanic Baby service to ensure we are experiencing what our customers are.
Archer has been in Large Prefolds from 6 months (folded on the short side and progressed to lengthways by 11 months) he at 18 months has had boosters for night time.
The awareness and communication to us that he is doing or has done a wee or a poo, has been there from about 14 months. He might have known earlier, but he didn’t really tell us. Probably because he wasn’t able to discuss his emotions and or what he was feeling earlier than that - apart from some really amazing facial expressions and body language!
The introduction of potty
We brought a potty, as usual I had a preconceived idea of how this was going to go down. Yeah hahahahahahaha pbbbt!
He showed a lot of interest in the potty at 12 months. I am going to call this toilet awareness. He started taking his nappy off, he'd sit on the potty with the lid on, He did a wee in there....... once. Then the mystery was over and he wanted his nappy back.
At this age he was only just walking and the ability for him to put himself on and off the potty wasn’t there. Which I didn’t mind putting him on the potty, but he did mind.
At 18 months - We started watching “Elmo goes to Potty” but it didn’t really go anywhere. I put him on the potty, and he just started screaming so we decided to stop and give it a rest.
Introducing the ritual at home
At 24 months Archer started to be fascinated with the “going to the toilet” process. Toilet paper, pressing the button, putting the seat up or down, locking the door (sometimes locking himself in the toilet). So we thought we would try again.
We brought some toilet training books, a toddler toilet seat and steps to the toilet, and some training pants and underpants. But here is my first learning, Archer wasn’t ready. This is both a skill development and a change management exercise. That includes emotional development.
Archer with new found speech and understanding of his feelings, he freely gave an opinion and his opinion was;
“mummy daddy change nappy - I no do it”
“You spend time with me with nappy - I no go toilet by myself”
“I playing, I busy, too busy”
All mothers get the guilts for something - so I choked back the spending time comment painfully and tried to addressed it (with a 2 year old):
My main points were -
(1) mummy and daddy will take him to the toilet until he didn’t want us too.
(2) I acknowledged it was a change and if he wasn’t comfortable we can wait until he is ready.
(3) It’s up to him when he wants to learn "going to the toilet" but that I would check in and ask him.
If at first or second or third you don't succeed try try again
At 2.5yrs I decided to open the discussion again by reading some children’s books about potty training with Archer. We had established a reward chart for learning, and so I gave Archer options on what he wanted to do for his reward chart including potty training. Archie decision wasn’t potty training, but we popped him in training pants during the day anyway to see, and he would demand his nappy after two changes.
At 3, he started taking his nappy off by himself again. I decided to read a book about busting to go to the toilet before bed and I asked him if he wanted to start to go to potty.
Archer: “no - I want to go to toilet - I no like potty - I too big for potty.”
Me: “why too big”
Archer: “I no fit on potty, mummy - No potty”
He had a point. Archer is very tall and in size 5-6 clothing so potty to him was “the potty” and he didn’t want to because it’s the wrong size.
I asked if he liked the little seat in the toilet and he told me "no". Would he like to sit on the toilet without the seat. He said :"Yes"
Another learning: use consistent language and naming for things. Sometimes they don’t want training aids, based on your child (i.e super giant tall) you may not need them. Another part of this consistency relates to what is available at your childcare. Our childcare has little toilets vs potty’s so he really wasn't going to use something different at home.
In his mind he has always wanted to eat what we are eating, sleep when and where we are sleeping, and so he doesn’t think it should be any different for going to the toilet.
Tune in for Part 2: Toilet Training Archer: The hits and misses....