Friday, 5 September 2014

How (not) to potty train your toddler

We're in the throes of potty training at the moment. It's not going well. In fact, it's not been going well for around three months now. Three months or, as it feels, a PIGGING ETERNITY.

I'd love to be able to write you a really informative blog post about how to potty train in a gentle, respectful way. But I can't. I can, however, tell you what NOT to do – because I've done it all myself.

So, if you want a child who can use the potty AND to preserve your own sanity, DO NOT:

  1. Pounce on the very first tiny sign of possible readiness at a ridiculously young age (19 months, in case you're wondering) with such zeal that your child then becomes afraid of the potty and refuses to tell you what's going on in that nappy of hers.
  2. After giving up the first attempt, abandon the very notion of looking for signs of readiness and decide that the only sign you need is that her cloth nappies aren't fitting her very well any more. Yeah, that's really not an indication of readiness.
  3. Other things that aren't actually signs of readiness include: it's summer, daddy is on holiday so around to help, all her peers are doing it already. No, honestly, NONE of these things are connected to your child's ability to control her bladder. Who knew?
  4. Aim for complete inconsistency. Try nappy free time but then decide you are squeamish about breastfeeding a bare bottomed toddler so insist on training pants. And a nappy for outings and naps. So basically she has NO IDEA what covering (if any) her posterior will have in the next ten minutes.
  5. Try to avoid clean ups by persuading your child to spend her nappy free time sitting on the potty watching TV or YouTube videos, thus making her think she's entitled to screen time EVERY TIME she sits on it.
  6. As soon as you're starting to make progress, go away for a few days. Somewhere that makes continuing with potty training hopelessly impractical.
  7. Get to the point where it's been dragging on so long and you're so frustrated you start yelling about how all her friends have figured it out already. (Seriously, even if you end up doing all the other things, please please PLEASE try not to do this. Although if you have done all the other things, you'll probably feel as stressed as me, so ... yeah, try not to do the other stuff either.)

And finally, under any circumstances, DO NOT:

  1. Forget to check whether there's anything in the potty and then trip over it. Really. No.

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