I found the few months before we toilet trained Tom a little uncomfortable. He was almost 3 and starting to look a bit awkward in nappies. He’s a big, solid boy anyway and people often think he’s older than he is which can make it difficult. Sometimes people asked “Oh so he’s not toilet trained at all?” or “Does your son need to use the toilet? We can wait?” That one happened to me once in a public parent room…except I had gone in there to change his nappy.
I had tried earlier. We had tried the potty, sitting on the toilet and all of that. But it wasn’t consistent. He wanted to use it then he didn’t and so on. Also I had a new baby and that made it tricky too. He wasn’t ready developmentally, and waiting was actually the best thing for us.
Here’s what we did to ensure it was quick and relatively painless. This doesn’t work for everyone and for those suffering with toilet training long term, I feel for you! We are one of the lucky ones and I hope you are too.
Step 1: WAIT!
Seriously, ignore everyone else and just wait until you think they are ready. And if you think they are but then they’re not…wait a few weeks before you try again or you will end up in a pattern where they just say ‘no’ or resist because that’s what they are used to doing every time you bring up the topic. We started training just after Tom turned 3.
Step 2: Allocate TIME
I tried it once during a big week and I just quickly gave up. I kept forgetting to remind him to use the toilet and he kept forgetting to go. It wasn’t a good result. The second time I was much more planned. I had my tips and tricks up my sleeve and I was ready to be focussed on him. I picked a quiet week where the first two days were solely at home. He didn’t need the extra pressure of going out and neither did I! It allowed me to be relaxed and calm about it too.
Step 3: Put some TRICKS up your sleeve
For me? It was easy. “Tom, there are no more nappies left and we can’t get to the shop today!” When not given a choice, the undies came on. No pull ups and lots of talk about being a big boy and this is what big boys do. Positive positive POSITIVE!
I had a lucky dip full of some of his favourite things all prepared for when he went to the toilet too. A mixture of mini plaster cars, rubbers, stickers and so on. Preparing these sorts of things and making a big deal out of it worked really well.
Step 4: Be there for them
It can be so time consuming to start with…they think they need to go but they don’t, then they DO need to go but it’s too late, then they don’t want to go even though they need to! It’s soooo exhausting. You feel like you’re basically hanging out in the toilet all day! It’s worth it though. Eventually he started saying “I need to go!” and now he never goes when he doesn’t need to and he rarely has accidents. And when he does we don’t make a big deal. “Oh well it’s just an accident. That can happen sometimes”
Step 5: Don’t sweat the small stuff
I googled and wondered so much – should he sit or stand for wees? what about night time training? Do we need something in the car seat?
Don’t worry. Do whatever works. He sits at the moment. We haven’t attempted night time training yet and we haven’t had a single accident in the car and our Christmas roadtrip was almost 4 hours!
If they’re only young and it’s not happening in 3-4 days I really think waiting is so important. If they’re older and you are having trouble, seek medical advice always.
Have you toilet trained kids yet? Was it a nightmare or a breeze?