Toilet training my almost 3 year old
How do you know your child is ready to be toilet trained? For me, it was my child’s occasional interest in the toilet and her need to be like her big sister. She would see her big sister go to the toilet and run after her saying it was her turn. There were times when she actually used the toilet, but for the most part she had already gone in her nappy. I was never disappointed that she there was no action on the toilet, in fact I was rather excited that she was showing an interest.
I wanted to toilet train my daughter at 18 months when she originally started to show an interest. All I could think about was how much money we could be saving by not buying nappies every week. I could be one of those mums who was able to get her child to use the toilet completely before she was 2. But in all honesty, what would I accomplish by attempting to toilet train my daughter at such a young age? Yes she was showing an interest, but she was still using a bottle and slept with a dummy. She liked to be cuddled and enjoyed playing. Toilet training at this age? I would encounter disappointment, stress and more laundry and toilet cleaning then I would like. I had to wait for that right moment. I had no idea when it was going to happen, but I knew it would be around her 3rd birthday.
The very idea of toilet training can be a dread. There are parents who have years of experience and know exactly what they are doing, while there are people like me who research the best methods. There are people out there who claim they can have your child toilet trained in 3 days. I did my research on this and found that the child had to be without undies and pants for a minimum of 3 days and you could only leave the house for an hour at a time. You had to monitor your child and their movements and look for signs of them wanting to use the toilet. Then you had to get them to the toilet and praise them once they had used the toilet. What person wants to spend their day looking for signs their child needs to wee or poo?
I also read that one of the best methods to encourage toilet use is to put them straight into undies. This meant the use of pull ups was also not recommended. You would have to have at least 20 pairs of undies and a lot of dresses or loose pants. What about old towels? If your child hasn’t shown an interest but you want to have a go at it, you are going to need lots of old towels or hope the day outside is pleasant enough for you both to play on the grass.
I could go into many different methods of how best to toilet train your child, but in the end each child is different and the journey will vary for each family. I tried letting my daughter run around naked and taking note on when she needed to go. In the end I found myself doing a lot of laundry and dealing with what some people would call a wannabe nudist who actually enjoyed marking her territory. I guess I was lucky in some way, at least I didn’t have to scrub the poo of the carpet. She was kind enough to do it on the tiles in bathroom or in the nappy I placed on her because I had had enough.
One of the things you are told by professionals is to not get angry at your child when they don’t make it to the toilet. Put on a happy face and let them know ‘accidents’ happen; you as the parent or care giver are to continue asking your child if they need to use the toilet. Patience is a virtue.
I admittedly lost my cool just last week. The feeling of disgust I felt with myself brought me to tears. I was that angry at my child for once again not using the toilet like I knew she could. After that day, I put my daughter back in nappies and gave myself some time to think about what I should be doing. What was I doing wrong, my daughter is almost 3 years. She knows how to use the toilet, I’ve seen her do it. She knows her wees and poos go in the toilet. After every ‘accident’ my child told me she needed to use toilet. After a whole weekend of feeling like a failure and wracking my brain over what I could be doing, I decided that I would forego the toilet training for a few more weeks and wait until after her 3rd birthday.
Come Monday morning and my daughter wakes with a dry nappy. I give her a morning cuddle and sit with her for 20 minutes while we Doc McStuffins. She turns to me and asks for apple juice. Placing her on the lounge I notice her nappy is still dry. Curiosity gets the better of me so I tell her I will get her apple juice if she goes to the toilet. Without hesitation my child runs to the bathroom and takes off her nappy. I follow her and listen outside the door, I can hear her placing the step near the toilet so she can sit down on the seat. Then it happens, she does her wee. I run to the kitchen and pour the glass of apple juice and place it on the table. Seconds after I place the glass down I hear “I did wees on the toilet”. I praise her by giving her a cuddle and her drink and go to her room to get her undies.
After that morning I realized that for my child, asking her when she needed to use the bathroom was pointless. The trick to toilet training my almost 3 year old was to have her use the toilet before she started something new, something she wanted. Now we have her go to the toilet before she gets in the car, goes outside, plays a new game, gets in the bath.
Five days later and we have had only one ‘accident’ each day. Even her day care said she seemed happier. It’s still early days, but something tells me this is how I will successfully toilet train my almost 3 year old. How do I know though? I don’t, but ask yourself; do you use the toilet before you start something new? When you start your shift at work, go to bed, wake up, go for a drive?