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Potty training during Lockdown.

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Lockdown parenting has been hard! But that's not to say it's not something a lot of us have got used to and actually benefited from, in some shape or form.

What I haven't got used to is hearing the screams of my two year old screaming "DADDY I'VE DONE A POO ON THE CARPET AND NOW IT'S ON MY FOOT!!“

So, lockdown has fallen just at the point where it feels socially acceptable for both mine and Ben's toddlers to learn to use the toilet. I don't think there should ever be a pressure to have your kids using the toilet by a specific age, and I think setting a deadline puts unnecessary pressure on you and your child, but our kids are approaching 3 years old now and it feels as though now is the right time.

There are so many different methods and pieces of advice flying at you from different angles it's hard to know which is the best and quite frankly easiest way to get your little one using the toilet. From the Auntie who swears by the method of only potty training for poo's on an evening to your mum who is adamant you were potty trained at 18 months before you could even string a sentence together.

The thing about potty training is every child is different and they all respond to potty training in different ways, one method might work for Ben's sons and the same method might cause my little girl to throw her potty at the wall in an epic meltdown. So that being said we've decided to put together our top 3 methods for potty training.

3-day potty training:

I first heard of this method when a friend recommended Jamie Glowaki's book "Oh crap! Potty training" The 3 day method has been around since the 1970's and is said to be one of the most successful methods you can use.

Who should use it: Parents looking for a quick transition from nappies to the potty/toilet.

Best Age: From around 2 years onwards.

Pros: Your child can be out of nappies in around 3 days. This method is seen as one of the most successful, once you've got through it and out the other end, you can say goodbye to nappies forever.

Cons: This is a very intense 3 days, this is not something that can be done in between working from home, because all nappies are thrown out at the beginning of the three days, you must be completely focused on your little one at all times to not only coach but also to prevent your house looking like a tough mudder event.

The process: On day 1 all your child's nappies are thrown out. They then put on big girl/boy pants. (It’s important to stock up on plenty of knickers/pants and liquids to encourage weeing before starting this type of potty training!)

You then show them the toilet/potty and really big up the fact that they must keep their new underwear dry almost like a challenge and the only way to do that is to let you know when they feel like they need to go to the toilet and you'll then take them to the potty/toilet.

There's going to be lots of "accidents" (Be prepared for many, many accidents over these 3 days!) you should scoop your little one up if they start to have an accident, run them to the toilet, and have them finish on the toilet.

This process continues and requires you to stay calm, praise heavily, even to the point of giving treats every now and again if they manage to get there in time or do a poo (which I find harder to get autumn to do on the toilet than a wee) and use accidents as a chance to teach your child when they need to go to the bathroom.

Parent led potty training:

If you're a stickler for timekeeping and like your parenting to be organised and under control, this may be the option for you!

Who should use it: Parents who are looking for a more structured and organised routine.

Best age: whenever your child starts to show signs that they want to start using the potty or toilet.

Pros: This method is perfect for parents who like structure, structure often gives a child a feeling of security but more often than not when it comes to poos and wees on the sofa and carpet, the structure can also act as a comfort for you as well. This method also works very well in a busy family environment, as it means you can plan your day around the potty training and it is much easier for another parent or grand-parent to come in and take over at scheduled times.

Cons: Because your child is not initiating the trips to the toilet, they may not notice their own bodily signs and associate this with the need to go to toilet, therefore delaying the association and toilet training could take longer to sink in.

The process: The basis of this method is that you as a parent set up a toilet schedule, say every 2-3 hours, you then lead your child to the toilet every 2-3 hours sit them on the toilet and ask them to try and go to the toilet, instead of every 2-3 hours this may take place at specific points in the day maybe after meal times for example.

The idea is that eventually repetition and association win out and your child becomes used to going to the toilet and associates those time slots with when they need to do their poos and wees, of course if they ask to go in between those times the answer would always be yes and encouraged.

Poos mean prizes:

If your child has a competitive streak and is anything like my daughter who loves to make a deal, and getting her to do anything often ends up resembling a mini episode of deal or no deal minus Noel Edmonds. Then this may be the method for you.

Who should use it: Parents of children who respond best to little prizes or rewards for good or positive behaviour.

Best age: whenever your child starts to show signs that they want to start using the potty or toilet.

Pros: Children feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment when they go to the toilet correctly they can also see a record of their achievements.

Cons: Rewarding good toilet habits with a sticker every time they use the toilet can illicit a pavlovian response meaning they associate going to the toilet with getting a sticker. If you haven't noticed yet stickers are like crack to toddlers, if you start off giving stickers every time they do a wee or a poo, you will need to continue that, no sticker = no poo/wee, and were does it stop? That chart will fill up fast and it's only a matter of time until they grow out of stickers and start negotiating for something bigger and better and before you know it daddy has had to take a second job to afford the upkeep of the pony he's had to buy because his little princess promised to do a pony in the toilet!!

The process: This one is pretty simple and can be combined with either of the two methods above you place a chart in the toilet and every time your child uses the toilet, they get a sticker, perhaps a gold star or one of their favourite cartoon characters.

Verdict: There are lots of different methods out there, and definitely no one size fits all, what might work for one, might not work for another. We will both be trying these methods in the coming weeks and we'll keep you updated on what worked and what didn't. So keep tuned into our podcast for the horrific details and don't forget to comment below and share what worked for you!

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