Potty training – How, Do’s & Don’ts

Oh Crap! Potty Training. Well it’s a name of a book by Jamie Glowacki which I will be referring to in this post alongside my real hands on experience with potty training my 2 years old son. 

This is going to be a comprehensive and Informative post so continue reading if you have time or bookmark it to read it later. All those mommies who are about to start potty training their kids, you need to read this out till the end. And I promise that by the end of it, this post will help you to not be sacred of the whole process and think of it as a step into your child development stage and there will be nothing in here that will seem like every other post you might have read by now. So grab your favorite snacks and let’s get in to it. 

What’s the best age to potty train your child?

In my opinion, the best age is between 24 months to 36 months. According to Jamie it is easiest when it’s done between twenty and thirty months. Because once child cross three year mark, they kind of become more stubborn and skilled at manipulating stuff and know that they hold the emotional power over you which most often they win. They kind of know that they have a choice in the matter and longer the delay, more they will become comfortable in diapers and resistant to learn to use toilet.

I’ll be dividing this post into three parts:

  1. Day time potty training part 1 : Failure
  2. Day time potty training part 2: Success
  3. Naps/Night time potty training
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DAY TIME POTTY TRAINING: Part 1

When my son turned 1.5 months old, I was instantly being reminded by my MIL and by my own mother that their kids were perfectly trained by the age of 1.5 years old. There are still societies who don’t even believe in putting pampers on since the birth of their children and advice to take your newborn with you to the toilet. Google it and you will know it. Then there are societies which believe in training your kids as early as possible and then there is a third category who just wait till the last moment…I mean they just delay it to the extent from where it can’t be delayed any further.

The point of telling you all that is because I kept hearing the fact that mothers use to train their kids as early as 1.5 year old was making me quiet stressed out and instead of believing my own guts, I started putting my son on the toilet seat as soon as he turned 1.5. Note here that I have no objection if you want to train your kid at 1.5. They can certainly be trained if you think you can do it. Nevertheless, introducing toilet to my kid at this age in a way proved to be a great decision, which I will discuss in a bit, but I overlooked many other factors such as my commitment and readiness to train my child. 

Anyways, I purchased a plastic potty seat that directly fits on top of your toilet seat, and started making my son sit on it before he goes to sleep and after he wakes up. That’s it. That’s only I kept on doing until he turned 2. No serious attempt was made to properly train him because I felt he was too small and frankly he was showing me signs of frustration and anger and annoyance. So I let it go and was satisfied with the current arrangement. After all, he is not going to be in diapers all his life so just let your kid enjoy at least until he or she is capable enough to communicate with you either in words or through action.

But during these six months, he learned to pass poop on the toilet. By the time he turned 2, he knew the concept of toilet, where pee and poop goes, he sometimes do indicate me that he needs to poop in the toilet so without any extra effort from my end, he kind of get poop trained before he turned 2 years old. 

My advice: If you don’t want any scary major poop accidents later when you seriously commit yourself to potty training, this is a great technique. Just put in a habit of taking your kid, once he/she turns 1.5 to toilet seat before your child goes for a nap and at night and once he wakes up and at the time of his/her poop. Because once the poop process starts and you decide to get your kid to the bathroom, it’s kind of difficult to stop that. You will notice when your child gets in to a poop position like he goes red, he struggles, he runs and hides etc. Eventually your kid will pass poop in the potty when you act quickly at that point in time and put your kid on toilet seat. That’s it. No pressure, no prompting. Just make sure to let your kid know for now that where poop goes.  Personally I feel that poop training is a lot easier because in most cases there is a fixed time of the day when your child pass poop and you know that so it’s easy that way.

Some kid do start to communicate and to talk by the time they turn 1.5, so it’s your complete choice if you want to fully commit to potty train then and get it over with in a month or take a slow road ahead. I took the slow road because I wasn’t in any kind of rush. 

Now comes the pee training part. My son turned 2 in September 2020 and I decided to pee train him before winters because there was this continuous nagging at the back of my mind that I should do that although my heart wasn’t agreeing to it but whenever my mom or my dad asks about it, that nagging starts which was kind of putting a very unwelcoming pressure on my mind. I purchased pull ups, kind of which has a towel layer inside a underwear. One day I just removed his pamper and make him wore those pull ups. 

BELIEVE ME, THAT WAS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE I EVER DID. Pull ups are going to give your child the same feeling as a diaper does so they are of no use if you really really want to train your child in a week which I did ( will discuss the “how” in part 2). As Jamie also discussed in her book that if you are seriously committed to train your kid in a week, let your kid go all commando and not put anything on your kid’s bum. Well I didn’t let my son go completely naked in the house (will discuss in part 2) but Jamie is ABSOLUTELY right. The reason being that whatever piece of clothing you put on their bum, they will consider that as a diaper because they are wearing those right from the moment they are born. So wearing diapers is a important part of their life since their birth, which you mean to change now so its a major development and a BIG change in their life like every other stage they go through in their life. It makes sense.

I started making him sit into toilet seat like after every hour. That proved to be extremely frustrating for me as well as for him. I made him sit for around 30 minutes or even more on a toilet seat unless he does his business (guilty of doing that, I am not a monster mom) which was MY ANOTHER MISTAKE. According to Jamie, do not let your kid sit on a toilet seat for more than 10 minutes or so, if your kid is not doing it, just wait and try another time. She is right. Making your kid sit on the toilet seat for longer duration is a kind of torture to those little souls. Taking a kid to bathroom after every hour during potty training process is a method which mostly daycares adopt to train kids, as mentioned by Jamie in her book. But she believes that does not make your child put 2 and 2 together quickly as compared to when you leave on your kid to tell you when they want to go to the toilet. I completely agree with her on this one too. 

So when I started making my son wear pull ups, weeks passed and he wasn’t getting a hang of it. He was getting extremely fussy, I was getting exhausted after washing his pull-ups numerous times in a day, number of accidents weren’t decreasing and he wasn’t telling me when he wanted to go. 

A month passed and same situation. I gave up. It was extremely tiring and infuriating and utter madness. There was a sudden travel plan which gave me another excuse to just hold onto this process until I come back or atleast till when he starts to communicate a little better. 

So back to pampers.

My learnings:

  1. Don’t use pull-ups
  2. Don’t make a kid sit on toilet seat for more than 10 minutes. Try after half an hour or so
  3. Start the process when you are ready to fully commit and have time on your hands. I wasn’t mentally ready to train my kid maybe that’s why i didn’t make informed decisions and it resulted in a failure.
  4. It’s your effort and success too
  5. You don’t need to train your kid how to pee and poop, instead, where to pee and poop.
  6. Don’t make potty training process big deal. I mean it is a great deal but don’t over burden yourself with it. Consider it as like every other major change your kid goes through his life like starting crawling, from crawling to standing to taking first step. We don’t make a big deal out of those right? 

One thing that really came out good during this time period was that he knew the concept of toilet, he started doing pee as soon as he wakes up from his nap in the toilet, before he goes to bed at night and once he wakes in the morning. 

Advice: you can start letting your kid sit at the toilet seat at the age of 1.5 years old to understand the basics of it by the time you really commit to potty training. Believe me, it will make the work easier. But again this is if you are not in a rush. 

Other than that potty training was a utter failure.

Wait, just don’t get demotivated, best part is about to come. 

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DAY TIME POTTY TRAINING: PART 2

I came back from my mini vacations in January and my son was going to turn 2.5 on 23rd of March. I already made up my mind that I will get done with potty training before he turns 3. No further delay because I knew in my heart that now he is perfectly ready and so am I.

In February I bought a set of cotton underwear which has stars and moons over it because he likes them. It helps really. Buy underwear with cartoons or figures which your kid like. They won’t like to get those dirty and wet.

I was kind of scared because of my last experience and didn’t want to repeat any of the mistakes or to take a huge pressure on myself. I started searching for 3 days potty train technique and came across a book “Oh Crap! Potty training”. 

I read it on 28th Feb and on 1st March in the morning, when my son woke up, I removed his diaper, put on a new underwear and told him that now “you are going to pee in the toilet. You will tell me when you need to go”

The book proved to be an extremely beneficial read and is written in a style that’s interesting to read through. She explains how to completely ditch the diapers in blocks/phases rather than quantifying in days as how many days should it take. The days in those blocks or phases can vary for every child so it’s not a hard and fast rule.

“I want you to think of potty training as being made up of blocks of learning. I’m going to call them just that: blocks or phases. No matter where you are starting from, you need to think of the potty training process as a tower of blocks that you are building. If one block is not learned properly, the tower will be unstable and will tumble. Thinking in this way makes potty training so much more approachable. Breaking potty training down into blocks like this will also give you a really good idea of “where and when things went wrong if there are any struggles later on. Parents who don’t break potty training into blocks and have struggles often don’t know where it went wrong.”

Excerpt From Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie glowacki

Below are the blocks and phases she discussed in detail to get you started with the process. I am just quoting the blocks name here so you get a basic idea.

1. Peeing and pooping while naked, either with prompting or without.

2. Peeing and pooping with clothes on, commando, with prompting or without.

3. Peeing and pooping in different situations, with prompting or without.

4. Peeing and pooping with underpants, with prompting or without.

5. Consistent self-initiation.

6. Night and nap (unless you are choosing to do it all together; more on that later).

7. College. Probably still needing to prompt occasionally.

Excerpt From Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie glowacki

I just removed the diapers and faced 5 accidents on day one of the potty training day. As per Jamie, before you commit yourself, make sure you set your calendar free for atleast three days. I say make it 5 days because you never know. 3 is just a rough number. You need to fully focus on your kid, catch your kid subtle clues as when he or she wants to go to pee.

Watch. Watch. And Watch. That’s what you are going to do in first three days.

If possible, do the cooking and other important chores before you commit to potty training. I, however did most of the my daily work as usual but at a slow pace and spent more time with my kid.

According to Jamie you need to look hard because there will be a clue. But I falied to get that clue on my first day. I got it on my third day. 

So on my first day, what I did was that I left him in a shirt and an underwear. I went on with my daily house chores but kept a very hard watchful eyes on him. 

Point to be noted here: Don’t hover and be on your kid’s head every second of the day. They will notice your anxiety and stress and they won’t respond in a positive manner. Just take this day as a normal day and don’t make it a huge deal out of it. Accidents are inevitable so if you get stressed out or scold your kid then they will never learn. Just be calm and say it again and again “you need to go the toilet when you need to pee or poop” 

Also remember, I use to ask my son like after ever 15 minutes before which was my mistake. This time I just let him be and ask him once in an hour. This day you will also be giving lots of liquid to your kid so he feels the need to pee more and make the connection of going to the toilet and pee there only.

Here is a log I created just for this blogpost purpose to give you all mommies an idea how it will go like. Ofcourse it’s not fixed and may vary depending on a child.

March 1st: Day 1

5 accidents: 3 during the day and 2 in evening and he peed like 7 times in a day including accidents. 2 of those accidents were very minor like no leakage.

March 2nd: Day 2

Pee: 4 times

Accident: 1

Learning: note the time difference between his first pee in the morning and second and the first pee after his nap and second pee after that  – which was three hours in our case.

Drank usual quantity of water like everyday.

March 3rd: Day 3

Pee 4 times: morning, during bath, after nap and in evening.

Accidents: 0

During bath he felt a need to pee so he himself pointed it towards the toilet to pee.

After nap he pee in the toilet: I noted the time

After 2.5 hours, I removed his under pants and let him run with naked bum. Exactly at 3 hours, he himself ran to the bathroom.

He went outside, I put the diaper on just to be on safe side but he didn’t pee in it 

Pee in the toilet before bedtime as usual.

March 4th: Day 4

No accidents recorded.

March 5th: Day 5

One major accident 

Night pamper clean

Started to self initiate and can hold his pee a little longer

March 6th: Day 6

One minor and one major( major because I scolded him for something he did so instead of coming to me when he needed to pee because he sensed I am angry he peed on the floor but cried his lungs out because he didn’t like it)

Peed thrice in evening and told me everytime

March 7: Day 7

One major accident

March 8th: Day 8

1 very minor accident 

March 9th: Day 9

No accidents but little prompting is still required and need to keep time in mind.

March 10th: Day 10

No accidents and I started to dress him fully with pjs on. 

In a nutshell, your first three days are the most important ones during this process. You need to observe your kids pee timing. Prompt your child little bit if needed but avoid over prompting. Your child will pass pee with a same time difference usually every day. Ofcourse some days will be different but generally it will be like that. 

Note that once your kid gets a hang of it, don’t think that accidents won’t happen. They might happen now and then when they are busy playing and going to the toilet seems like a waste of time for them. So you need to make sure you prompt them and get them to the toilet at those times. 

Somewhere in those three days, you will notice the sign or clue or your kid will start a pee dance or any other indication that he/she needs to go. Watch out for that. 

If you’re not seeing this progression of awareness, it’s okay. I repeat: it’s okay. It’s really hard to determine how well things are going in these first few days. It’s very common to have what looks like a disaster in the first two or three days, and then have things magically click into place. Still, if you’re worried that there is no progress, it’s worth taking a minute to check in with yourself. Are you truly watching your child, or have you gotten distracted? Are you making too big a deal of all this? There is a delicate balance between prompting and backing off. Remember, potty training should be an effort for you, but not for your child.

Excerpt From Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie glowacki

According to Jamie, from start to self initiation takes three weeks for most kids but in my case it took 10 days. Again, it will vary and depend how you proceed and how your kid is progressing. 

I still put a diaper in him when he go out but I make sure he pee at home before leaving so the diaper stays clean. Along the way, he will learn to go out without the diaper too. Time will come and you will notice it yourself.

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NAPS/NIGHT TIME POTTY TRAINING: PART 3

Nap Time: On a random day before his nap time, I didn’t put on a diaper on him and he slept without a diaper. The reason being that he usually pee in the toilet before his nap time and he doesn’t pee for next 3 hours and his nap duration is 2 hours. 

So that’s out of the way.

Night Time: Since the day my son is fully day time potty trained, he is not wetting his diapers at night. He pee in the toilet before going to bed and then once he wakes up but I am still making him wear diaper pants to be on a safe side.

I’ll observe this for another month and if he started to wet his diaper at night then I have to wake him up in the middle of the night to take him to loo because that’s how potty training at night is done. There is no other shortcut to it and that’s how I will be doing it if I face wet diapers in the morning. Extremely sorry if you were expecting any other method to it. But it will be over soon and it will be your achievement as much as it is going to be your kid’s. 🙂

That’s it mommies. I hope I have explained the process in detail and have helped you to not take this whole process as something you feel stress about and take lot of pressure. 

Think of it as another major learning your child will actively learn like other milestones your kid has achieved along the way. Think it as one of them and you will be good to go.

On the last note, I seriously recommend you to read Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki before you get into the process. It helped me to get certain facts straight and I am sure it will help you in one way or another.

If you find this blogpost useful in anyway, don’t forget to share among your circle who might be looking for a little help in potty training. 

Best of Luck! 😊

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Hello! Welcome to my space. I am a Pakistani from heart, born in Karachi and spent good 27 years of my life in that country. I am happily married and a stay-at-home mom, currently residing in KSA which i now call as my new home. This blog is my happy place where I will post about lots of different things, including my motherhood journey, lifestyle, book reviews, my thoughts and feelings about different issues and generally about my life on the go. I am an introvert who generally sucks at expressing her emotions verbally but loves to write them down. I hope you find the content here relevant and interesting to read. Looking forward to build a great community here. Have a great day!

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