Potty Training

If there is one thing I get questioned about the most it is the subject of potty training! With two boys who seem unable to aim down the pan and regularly spray anywhere but, I would encourage you to keep your children in nappies until they are 18! As that is probably socially unacceptable and also expensive, here are my views on making it as stress free as possible!

Having gone through it with two children I would say timing is everything. All the books will tell you not to start potty training a few months before or after any  major events or changes. We did not heed this advice and started potty training Andrew 3 months before Matthew was born. He was almost dry during the day except the odd accident now and then. Then Matthew came along and it all went haywire. I thought my mum was going to kill him as he would wait until I sat down to breast feed and then would wee all over the lounge ( laminate flooring is a blessing at these times!). As he was not yet three, the health visitor advised we put him back in nappies and try again in a few months. We did and it was plain sailing the next time. With Matthew we waited until he was so obviously ready and with his more structured loving nature, he was a breeze. Having an older brother also helps!

So how do you know they are ready? The best book I have found is “Potty training in one week ” by Gina Ford. She gives clear guidelines on when to start looking for the signs that you child is ready and then how to prepare them for their first big day without a nappy. Then when they are ready, you chain yourself to the house for about a week as your child exercises bladder and bowel control. It sounds too good to be true but if you follow the guidelines and prepare well, by the end of 7 days your child will be nearly accident free. Check out the Gina Ford website for FAQs

If that all seems too structure for you try looking at ” on becoming toddlerwise” by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. As mentioned before, this book give 3 different methods of potty training so you can choose which one suits you and your child best.

Whichever method you choose be comforted by the fact that most teenagers do not start university wearing nappies! Some kids take longer than others but they all get it in the end.

A couple of practical tips which I found helpful

1) Make sure you have plenty of pants/knickers. They can be cheap and cheerful but buy them in size bigger than your child needs. This means they are easier for them to pull up and down.

2) Invest in a portable potty. This is an amazing invention which you can get in Tesco or Mothercare. It consists of a sturdy plastic ring with foldable legs that you attach a plastic bag onto with an absorbent pad. The child sits on it like a potty but the mess goes into a bag that you can detach and throw away and it collapses into a changing bag. Brilliant! It saved me many a red face or wet seat in the car!

4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Sandra said,

    Thanks for this post Amanda! We’re currently in the midst of potty training and I absolutely agree that timing is everything. In fact, J insisted on being nappy free all of yesterday and we didn’t have a single accident! Of course, you just know there’s bound to be an accident today. 🙂

    I know lots of people swear by Gina Ford’s potty training book but I just cannot get myself to read or buy any of her books so we got “Potty Training Boys …the easy way” by Simone Cave and Dr. Caroline Fertleman instead. It’s available on Amazon in case any other mums are interested. It’s a great book. It even encourages dads to get involved in potty training their sons. 😉


  2. 2

    Amanda said,

    Thanks for the helpful comments Sandra. Glad J is doing well! There is so much out there on parenting its great to get comments on books or websites that others have found helpful! I forgot to mention how useful it is to buy a couple of books for you children on potty training too. My kids loved “On your potty” by Virginia Miller and My potty book for boys by DK.

  3. 3

    Sandra said,

    That reminds me, Js favourite book to read while on the potty is “Who’s in the loo?” by Jeanne Willis. It’s really funny! The author just has a new book out called “Bottoms Up!”.

  4. 4

    Taryn said,

    We’ve been spared many an embarrassing moment by having nappy sacs and wetwipes handy in the cubby hole, handbag, buggy. We’ve become experts at catching number 2’s while out and about 🙂 I definitely agree – once the CHILD is ready for it, it all goes quite smoothly…and it definitely helps having siblings to copy!

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