When toilet training, you can expect some accidents (and messes) along the way. While some books promise to toilet train your child in a day, not every child will go through the same process.
Sure, some children will become toilet trained in a day. For some children it can take weeks….MONTHS even! Potty-training can be tricky.
If you are heading into the deep abyss that is toilet training, here are few speed bumps you can expect along the way.
Three Cheers For Peeing In The Toilet!
As I mentioned above, not every child will experience these common toilet training dramas, but some will. So, if you are constantly cleaning up wee from the carpet and find yourself asking your child 100 times an hour if they need to go to the toilet, you’re in good company.
And it’s perfectly acceptable to jump for joy, dance around the kitchen and reward yourself (yes, yourself) with chocolate when your child does finally pee in the toilet!
So let’s delve into the common potty training concerns, shall we?
1. My child has no interest in weeing anywhere but all over the floor
And when she wees, she simply looks down, smiles, and continues to play surrounded by a puddle of pee.
Don’t stress. She simply doesn’t ‘get it’ yet. When she wees on the floor, clean it up, explain to her what has happened and continue to bring her to the toilet. If she still hasn’t figured it out after a week and shows no interest in wanting to, then perhaps she’s just not ready yet.
2. It feels like all I do is ask my child if she needs to pee
Potty training involves a lot of supervision! It will probably feel like you are either thinking about your child’s bowel movements or asking her about it 100 times a day. Your child does need a lot of monitoring during the first few days and it’s okay to ask her a number of times, as she will probably become preoccupied with playing and forget she needs to go.
Once she does figure it out, she requires A LOT of praise. And even more patience as she learns to identify the need to go, tell you or choose to go to the toilet on her own.
3. It’s impossible to toilet train with our busy schedule
When you’re in and out of the house every day, it can be hard to set up a potty training routine. Aim to set your child on the toilet first thing in the morning, before a nap, after a nap, before a bath and before bed. Or, see what times she usually goes to the toilet and work with that.
When you are out of the house with your child, you have a number of choices. You may decide to hold off on regular undies until you are back at home if you are worried about accidents. You may wish to bring a spare change of clothes (and wipes), just in case. Or you may wish to carry around a portable potty to keep in the car.
4. My child is afraid to poop on the toilet
For some children, the idea of having a bowel movement on the toilet is terrifying. It could be because they think they are losing a body part (that’s what happened to my kids) or it could be they have a fear that the toilet bowl will swallow them up.
Talk to them about these fears and explain to them that this isn’t the case.
5. My child is attached to his nappy
Does your child love the comfort of wearing a nappy? My daughter was like this – she loved her nappy more than she loved her dummy.
Meet her halfway. Allow her to wear her nappy as long as she does a wee on the toilet first. Or offer her two hours in a nappy, then two hours nappy-free. You can expect the hardest transition to be at night. Work on day time training first, then work your way into nighttime training.
6. Anytime my child needs to have a bowel movement, she hides
My kids (and some of my girlfriend’s children) use to hide when they needed to poop. I suppose with good reason. After all, no one really likes an audience when they have to go to the toilet.
If you notice your child is hiding to poop, direct them to the toilet to hide. Even if they choose to poop in their pants, in the washroom, this is progress.
Tip the excrement down the toilet and flush to show your child where it goes.
7. My child just won’t go to the toilet unless there is a nappy on her
Your child associates going to the toilet with the sensation of wearing a nappy. After all, it’s what she’s been taught for the last two years. Now, all of a sudden, she is being told that we don’t wee into the soft comfort of our nappy; instead we wee in this strange round white object that makes weird noises.
Lead by example. Show her how you go. Then ask her to do the same. Anytime you go, bring her with you so she sees how it works. If mummy does it, then maybe your little one will want to give it a go too.
8. My child was doing so great and now has regressed
Again, this is completely normal. Some regression is expected. Even more regression is expected if there has been a bit of a change, such as a new baby, moving house or switching day cares.
Return back to what worked before – plenty of patience, monitoring and praise.
9. Toilet training is draining me and causing a strain on our relationship
Parenting isn’t easy. Learning how to breastfeed, teaching your child to sleep, mastering the fine art of discipline – these things are tricky! And toilet training is no different. There is no right or wrong way to potty train and it’s important to remember that you are the parent and you get to choose how to do it.
If the pressure is too much and causing a lot of fights and tears, take a step back. Your child won’t be in nappies forever. Even if she is older than her peers and still not potty trained, even if you are getting pressure from everyone around you, even if you are doing EVERYTHING you can to get her to learn, it’s not always a simple, straightforward process.
Stay positive; keep focused on your child’s progress (not the progress of the other kids her age) and stack up on chocolate to celebrate the little wee wins along the way.
For more helpful articles, check out Common Toddler Sleep Problems (And How To Fix Them!) and 11 Secrets To Taming Toddler Tantrums.