It was February half term last week so we decided we’d have a good go at potty training considering Dexter was not going to be in childcare and my husband was off work too to support me in this journey.
I have to admit I didn’t do an awful lot of research before we started and hardly any preparation. I downloaded a copy of Sarah Ockwell-Smith’s Gentle Potty Training book and read it on my phone between Felix’s feeds in the days prior, but that was pretty much it.
After four days of persevering, we gave up on potty training. Some may think us lazy, but I don’t think any of us were ready for what it actually entails. Here’s why we had potty training failure on our first attempt.
1. Lack of prep
As I just touched on, we didn’t do any prep at all. I mentioned a couple of times that we would start learning to use the toilet but Dexter didn’t seem that fazed. We didn’t go out and buy undies together, I didn’t let him choose a potty and I didn’t make sure we had minimal nappies around. Next time we will definitely make a fuss about going out to buy boxer shorts and we will try putting kitchen roll in his nappy for a week before so he can try to understand the sensation of being wet.
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2. Dexter didn’t know he was weeing
When we first began we were rarely having accidents because Dex was on and off the toilet constantly. He absolutely adored the whole rigmarole or putting his seat on the toilet, climbing up, having a wee, wiping his willy, getting back down, flushing the chain and washing his hands. He would play out the whole process again and again and again meaning his bladder was never really full. By the fourth day and when I decided to introduce trousers, he had gotten bored of going to the toilet and he began weeing whenever he felt like it in his trousers every twenty minutes or so, despite having being put on the toilet minutes before. Each wee would end with ‘uh oh‘, him kicking off his trousers and then continuing on with whatever he was doing, not even the slightest bit bothered!
I still have no idea if a toddler is meant to be able to be aware that they’re weeing or it is that exact thing that we are training but reading the NHS website, it claims that toddlers should be able to hold their wee in for an hour to an hour and a half, and Dexter was simply not able to do this.
3. I had no idea how stressful it would be
I’m not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m not a shouty Mum unless absolutely necessary and I try my hardest every day to be calm, patient and loving towards my children. I’ve found it a lot easier becoming a Mum for the second time which dumbfounds me when I remember how much I struggled when Dexter was a newborn. By day four of potty training and being cooped up in the house, I was becoming a person I really didn’t want to be. I was a lot more shouty, I was finding it hard to be patient about things, snapping at my husband and generally fed up. It wasn’t a nice environment to be in and not one conducive to successful potty training. Dexter has always been so quick to catch on with things that I mistakenly thought it would be a breeze and I simply wasn’t prepared for things not to go as planned in my head. Next time I’ll be mentally ready for the stress which will help me cope better.
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4. I opened up the experience to comment
I decided I’d micro blog about our journey on Instagram which was a huge mistake. I was very grateful for all of the messages and replies I got to my Insta stories but I found the advice extremely overwhelming. One minute someone would tell me to try doing it one way and the next someone would message saying the opposite. I didn’t know which way to turn. Next time I’ll definitely plan what our strategy is and stick to it, instead of being swayed by what worked for other people, after all, every child is different.
So, that pretty much sums up why we had potty training failure. We are going to try again at Easter when hopefully the weather will be a bit warmer and Dexter is a bit more switched on. Since we gave up he has asked to use the toilet a few times and got irrationally over excited by some Cars themed pull ups he found which I am hopeful are good signs that he is beginning to better understand the concept. Wish us luck!