No one ever said that parenting would be easy. And no one said that potty training would be fun.
It’s messy, it’s stinky and it comes with a lot of laundry. If there’s one thing that I’ve ever dreaded, it’s potty training! I mean, you’re excited to stop buying nappies but not so much excited for the process. But, as it is, we all have to go through it with our kids, and we all come out on the other side.
I’m no expert when it comes to potty training. We’ve finally achieved successful training with our Monster, which happened four months before his fifth birthday. It was a terrible time; lots of messes, lots of tears. Without going into too much detail, he experienced regression at some stage with caused the potty training to come to a complete standstill. Today, I am over the moon glad we’re over that. That we’re done with that part of our life.
Now lies the next chapter to explore: potty training Gremlin. Of course, no kid is the same (and add on all the other clichés we know). This time around, I’m ready, although slightly wishing I could postpone it a little more). The cool thing about kids (one of the cool things) is that they give off certain signs that can indicate that they are ready to potty train. Some kids might show more signs that others and some just give off one or two. That doesn’t mean that you can’t try potty training. Some kids are ready to begin earlier, and others might need a little more time and preparation.
No fears though! All kids are eventually potty training, and the days of changing dirty nappies will be gone!
If you think that your kid could be ready but you’re not entirely sure, there are a few signs you can be on the lookout for to help you come to the decision of potty training or not.
Watches you on the loo.
We all know that kids do this kind of thing in general, but there’s a certain curiosity that comes along. Asking you what you’re doing, observing you (the uncomfortable feeling never goes away). Gremlin never leaves me side, which includes accompanying me to the loo, and there are always questions. Always.
Understands the meanings of the words ‘pee’ and poop’.
If kids understand the toilet lingo and associate it with the actions, it carves a path for easier communication and understanding of what is to be expected. Gremlin understand both and applies them to the actions, except when he finds it a game to scream out ‘poop’ while he’s in the bath.
Pulls pants up and down.
As soon as kids are able to do this on their own, it helps with the training as they have a little more independence to go to the potty on their own if needed. I started training Gremlin to do this while teaching him to dress and undress himself. This has resulted in finding him on the toilet, unassisted.
Interested in underwear, the potty or the toilet.
As soon as kids start showing interest in any of these (or all), it’s a good time to start introducing them to the works around potty training. Talking about why underwear is needed, and what the potty and the toilet are used for. Gremlin started taking interest in all three a little while back and now insists on wearing underwear over his pull up every day.
Complains about wet or dirty nappy.
Some kids show discomfort when their nappies are full or dirty, others just go with it (because who likes to be taken away from their play time to change a nappy?). Occasionally, Gremlin will show discomfort, unless he’s severely busy with a game and just can’t walk away from it for a few minutes.
Tells you when they need to go, going or have gone.
Some kids will start expressing their doings, which is good because it trains them to express it later on during actual potty training, which helps with catching accidents before they occur. Gremlin is at the stage where he will tell me when he’s in the process or has already gone, but this is where the next point comes in handy.
It helps a lot when kids fall into a certain schedule with their nappy duties because it comes in handy when you need to start the potty training. By working on that schedule, you can have them on the potty or toilet before they do the deed in their nappy.
Hiding to pee or poop.
It’s just with us adults needed to go to the loo with a closed door. Kids will often go and hide when they need to do their business, whether its privacy or embarrassment, I can’t tell you. Gremlin has been using the same hiding spot for a couple of weeks now, which he never goes to unless he has some business to attend to, so it’s easy for me to predict what’s happening and when as soon as he heads off to that one specific spot.
Dry nappy for a longer period of time.
Bladder control is essential so if your kid is having a dry nappy for longer time than usual, it most probably means they are actually keeping their pee in for longer than usual. While it’s not healthy to keep your urine in for a long period of time, you could start using this time to take them to the potty and let them sit for small periods of time to open the doors to taking a pee there. Gremlin has been showing some signs of this recently and sometimes wonders off to the loo on his own to sit.
Wakes up dry in the mornings.
Night training is one of the tough ones (in my opinion). Some parents wake their kids up during the night to take them to the loo, which others make sure that their liquid intake is less in the evenings to help keep the bladder as empty as possible throughout the night. Ideally, the last time kids should drink anything is an hour before bedtime, but it’s not a rule set in stone. Gremlin has one woken up twice with a dry nappy in the morning in the last two weeks, and I have already started giving him less juice in the evenings before bedtime. While this is also very much part of the training, I’m going to leave it for last.
These are just guidelines to help you determine if your kid is ready to potty train or not. You will know what’s best and when you can start with potty training.
Don’t worry too much if your kid takes a couple of weeks and even months to get the hang of the whole potty training business. I have read a couple of articles on how some parents managed to train their kids in less than a week. Some kids can, and some kids can’t. It’s no reflection on you as a parent, nor your kid.
Take it as it comes, a day at a time. It might not be fun, but once it’s done, it’s behind you! Good luck!