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Potty Training My Toddler - What I've Learnt as a Mum so far

At the age of two and a half, Arthur's already reached so many important milestones; from walking and talking to weaning and our final breastfeed. His latest review with the health visitor went swimmingly. She knew from how he greeted her at the door, made conversation with her and asked her to play Jenga with him (he's a little show off but I love him) that he was developing beautifully in every sense and I was told he's a credit to me, which as a mum is the best thing to hear!

One thing we did discuss was potty training. I hadn't been keen to rush into it and was waiting until I thought Arthur was completely ready. In all honesty, he'd been using the potty on and off for a little while (usually after bath time) and really, he was more than ready, he just needed that little bit more encouragement and dedication from me, to commit to doing it properly!

So we've taken the plunge and I'm proud to say my little boy is doing amazingly. He's dry most days and I'm noticing that even though I'm putting him in a pull-up at night time still, there are many nights he's dry (once he even asked to go to the toilet in the night which I was pretty impressed with!) He's definitely getting the hang of it and so, I wanted to share some of the things I've learnt as a mum so far. I don't want to call them 'tips' because I wouldn't say we've mastered it completely yet and every child is different at the end of the day. So these are more just my experiences so far, which I thought may be useful for other mums and dads potty training their children. Sometimes it can be really reassuring knowing what others are finding hard or what others are doing, if you know what I mean?

It's called 'potty training' but they don't have to use the potty

When I started potty training Arthur, he only really used the potty. He did amazingly when he had no nappy on but he didn't seem to be getting the hang of telling me when he needed to use it when he had underwear and trousers on. I knew this was probably just going to take a bit of time for him, as after all, he'd spent all his life in nappies so far, not having to worry about going to the toilet, so it was a BIG change. But then one day, I asked him if he wanted to 'use the big toilet like mummy?' And since then, the potty has hardly been used! Not only did he seem happier using the big toilet but he's managed to tell me nearly every time he's needed a wee that he needs to go - even when dressed! It's made such a difference.

So one thing I've learnt is that you don't necessarily have to put kids on a potty. Some may prefer just to go straight to using the toilet instead! After all, that's what they see us do.

Briefs vs. Boxers - they might have a preference

Initially I bought Arthur a couple of packs of briefs to try. They had the characters from Blaze and the Monster Machines and Go Jetters (two of his favourite shows) on them and to be honest, I expected him to be so excited to wear them! Unfortunately he wasn't. I think again, I had to remind myself that he was so used to wearing nappies - this was something completely different, so of course he wasn't going to be thrilled by it at first. Feeling at a bit of a loss of what to do to get him to wear some form of underwear, I decided to buy him some boxers. I told him that's what the grown up boys in his family wore and much to my amazement it worked! He proudly wears his dinosaur boxers from Next and I've just come to the conclusion that as well as feeling like 'one of the grown up boys' he's probably more comfortable in them.

The Reward Chart worked!

When speaking to my friend Abbie from A Beautiful Delight about potty training, she suggested that I went down the reward chart route. Obviously you can make one of these yourself at home but for ease (and so it looked a bit more special to Arthur) I bought a pack of animal-themed reward charts and stars from Amazon. Arthur's absolutely loved being rewarded every time he uses the toilet and reminds me when he's been that he needs his stars. He loves getting to pick different coloured stars for his chart each time and he understands that he's collecting them for being a good boy and using the toilet. As he's only two and a half, I haven't said he needs to collect 'X' numbers of stars until he gets his 'big reward,' as with toilet training, you can't really determine how many that will be. What I have said to him is that when he can use the toilet like a big boy all of the time and filled his chart with stars, he can have a new train set - which he's more than happy with!

Repeating sayings / actions can help

I've found that having a little routine when using the toilet is important for Arthur. I try and ask him at regular intervals if he needs to go but I am finding that he usually gives me a sign or tells me now. When we go to the toilet together, I repeat sayings such as 'pants down, open your legs, jump onto the toilet!' And he even says them with me now.

This may sound daft but I've also found that whistling tunes helps massively and he even puts in requests for what tune he'd like to hear while he goes! One time we were in the toilets at playgroup and he asked me to whistle 'the football song' (Match of the Day theme tune). Someone walked in as I was whistling away and I must have sounded insane but you do what you gotta do for your child right!?

You'll get praise too

The final thing I've learnt is not useful for parents in any way but rather funny and it's that you'll probably find your child starts praising you too! Arthur now tells me 'you're doing it!' when I'm having a wee and 'well done Mummy!' I've even been told several times 'you're a clever boy' to which I thank him and then try to explain that mummy is in fact, a girl. 

It's all cute and funny until you're in a public toilet and they start shouting out other things like 'Are you pooing mummy?' (even when you're not) and 'I'll help you squeeze your poo out!' 'You can do it!' It's hilarious when you think about it but in that moment you're just praying no one else is in the toilet. I've also found that if I ask Arthur to whisper, he starts shouting it even louder. 'POO!' 'POO!' 'POO!' You can always count on toddlers to embarrass you. But take comfort in knowing, it happens to us all!

So there we have some of the things I've learnt as a mum potty training her son so far. As I said before, we're very nearly there (it won't be long and I have complete confidence in him) so I just wanted to share a few musings and give you a little giggle with that last one!

Have you had any similar experiences with potty training your children?

Megan x
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