I remember the day my Mum gave my fiance and I our pre wedding gift. It was in an envelope - so immediately my thoughts went to money, vouchers, a key to a new house (dreams are free right).
When I opened it up I had to work really hard on not letting my face drop...
ball room dancing lessons and not just one....8 of them!
Now don't get me wrong I know that my Mum's intentions were great, she knew we would probably need to practice a dance for our reception.
But what she didn't know was that we had no intention of having everyone watch us while we did an elaborate ball room dance at our reception.
At that first dance class, I had seriously no idea what I was doing. I felt nervous that I would not be able to keep up. That the other couples were going to be way more co-ordinated than us.
But if I'm honest, once I pushed through that feeling of being worried and anxious I realised that if I just followed the steps and really listened, I would get there.
It can be just the same with starting out with toilet training. If you think you are going to do everything perfect the first time, then you might be disappointed. But if you go into it with an open mind and heart to say - "I have got this" or as Marie Forleo says "everything is figure-out-able", it will feel better.
After a few weeks, I actually started enjoying those classes because we started going over the dances that we had already learned. It was fun to feel that instead of counting and trying to make sure I put my foot in the right place at the right time; that I could actually do it automatically.
When a child is learning to use the toilet it can feel foreign, daunting & scary. But one day it will become automatic and they won't even need to think about it.
Here's a few facts to keep it in perspective:
FACT #1 Your child knows how to wee and poo
Toilet training is a process of changing the location and way wee and poo is collected. It's not rocket science.
In the first 3 days of toilet training your child may wee and poo heaps more often. This is because they are learning how to eliminate on cue. They may not always release all their wees at one visit and may feel that they need to return to the potty or toilet to do more later (or not....resulting in wee puddles).
FACT #2 using the toilet is a normal part of everyday life
By normalising the process for our kids we are showing them that they do not need to be scared or anxious when facing the change of using the toilet.
We can be in danger of hyping it up and telling our kids that they are 'big kids' and they don't need to be a baby wearing a nappy anymore. This makes our kids worry and builds performance anxiety.
If your child has bladder control and an awareness of their bowel movements then you are half way there.
You could encourage them to sit on the potty and do their wees, while you are sitting on the toilet. This is modelling to them what to do and introducing the skills and language in a way that feels 'natural'.
FACT #3 Some kids initiate using the toilet while most need others to help encourage them
If you were part of a coffee group or playgroup when your little one was a baby, then you'll know how different the kids were at learning different skills. They may be similar ages but walking, talking, climbing and crawling all happened at different times.
It's the same with toilet training. Some kids will initiate it. They might see someone else wearing undies and want to do the same. No one is arguing with the fact that a motivated child is always going to make faster progress with learning any new skill.
For a whole swag of kids they actually don't feel like abandoning nappies and it is easy to adopt the thought process that if we just wait until our child 'feels' like doing it, then it is better.
My child doesn't feel like brushing their teeth, eating vegetables or helping to tidy away their toys. The reality is they need to learn how to do this everyday; regardless of how they feel at the time.
If you have a child with one or more of the following characteristics then they may not initiate using the toilet. These types of personality traits can include:
+ the control freak: hates being told what to do. Puts up a protest if things are not led by them. The thought of being asked to put undies on all day, sit on the toilet and do the business on it, puts them on edge.
+ the sensitive one: might be a bit cautious at the thought of trying new things and would prefer to watch first before giving it a go. Or would prefer not to try at all at the risk of not getting it right the first time.
+ the laid back one: is so happy with weeing and pooing in a nappy and doesn't show any motivation to try and change it any time soon.
+ the social butterfly: may be too busy playing and having fun with their friends to care or notice that wees are about to come out. Going to the toilet can feel like a huge inconvenience.
Choosing the right time
I find it helpful to set a date in your diary and say - "if my child has not initiated toilet visits by xyz then I will start encouraging them and help motivate them to make it happen."
Choose a date when there are no major changes ie moving to a new bed, new room at daycare, holiday, renovations, new baby etc. The optimum time is when your child is in a settled, normal routine. Preferably when you are going to be able to stay around home for about 4 days.
FACT #4 transitioning out of nappies and into underwear does not have to be messy or stressful
By having kids in underwear that have extra absorbency such as Wee Pants, your child is able to experience the feeling of wet close to their skin, which is a natural consequence of having a wee accident. This not only gives them awareness but with many kids, it helps to motivate them to use the loo.
Getting your child to be involved in preparing for toilet training; such as choosing their favourite colour/pattern of underwear can be highly motivating.
FACT #5 You don't need a whole lot of plastic equipment to start toilet training
Have you got stuff at home that you purchased while pregnant that in hindsight you didn't really need?
With toilet training there are some essentials to help your child feel secure and safe on the toilet.
Enter your details HERE and I'll send you the check list so you don't miss a thing. This is part of the 5 day challenge designed to help you to put together a plan so you feel organised and your child is set up for success. HERE