Ahhh! The treacherous toilet training. We were doing so well!

Ameli used to wake up in the morning, sit on the potty, do her thing, and that would be the end of that. We’d have only wet nappies for the rest of the day. That was at 7 months old. Then June came and we went camping and travelling for eight weeks, on and off and potty training went, well, down the drain.

Now we’re at fourteen months, and the potty serves more as a step ladder to the forbidden treasures on the toiletries shelf than anything else.

I’ve been reading up trying to glean from the wisdom of others, and I find there’s a lot of information around on when baby may or may not be ready. There’s also a lot of ‘hints and tips’ making a proper guessing game out of this thing from a parent’s perspective. But I can’t really find anything that resembles a step by step guide that doesn’t make me want to beat my head against a wall.

The main problem I am experiencing in this secondary embarkation on potty training or toilet learning or whatever you want to call it is this: My child has learned to use the nappy as a toilet. Before she can now be taught to use the toilet as a toilet, she has to unlearn using the nappy as a toilet. Oh, how I wish we’d just done EC from the start.

I eventually found Dr Sears’ six step potty plan, and I am going to try it. The six steps are:

Step 1: Be sure baby is ready

Step 2: Set the stage (oh boy. Does everything have to be a drama!)

Step 3: Teach baby where to go and what to call it

Step 4: Teach baby the connection between feeling and going

Step 5: Graduate baby from diapers to training pants

Step 6: Teach your child to wipe, flush, dress and wash hands.

I have no idea how long these six steps are going to take with a fourteen month old, but watch this space – I’ll let you know.


Tips on Potty Training

  1. Your explanation at the beginning is hilarious! My poor mother… According to her, I was really easy to potty-train and never wet the bed, but my three younger siblings were another story. Here’s hoping you have better luck!

  2. I really like the book Diaper Free Before Three. Starting a schedule on the potty, getting some results then building on that. My 11 month old is going consistently after naps, so now, I try to get her on the potty every hours. I use cloth diapers at home with some leg warmers, so it is easier. I try to schedule her trips to the potty with mine. It all falls apart on a busy day though, or when I am away from home. It is all a process. She turns one on Jan 6th and I will start her bare bottomed and in training pants at home. It is after the holiday, so I hope everything will be a bit more calm. Good look and check out the book. The author has a website also.

    1. @georgine, That’s the annoying thing – our lives have very little to pretty much zero routine, so getting her to have one is rather impossible. She was doing so well, goin after every nap! *sob* I think I might try the bare bottom around the garden… it’s summer here now, so perhaps a good time! Thanks for your advice!

  3. Well, you can do late-start EC at any point. 😉

    Look for her signals, check her nappy regularly and think back whether you noticed anything. Classic toddler signs are going still and staring into space, or briefly struggling in the sling, squatting especially if they find somewhere out of the way to do so, heavy breathing and grunting.

    Have a potty available and give her lots of naked time. Take her to sit on the potty if you think she hasn’t gone for a while. Take her to sit on the potty if she has an accident, and clean it up calmly telling her that pee goes in the potty. Show her where you flush the contents of the potty.

    Let her accompany you when you go to the toilet and sit her to have a try. Try holding her in a toddler friendly EC hold (facing away from you holding under the knees) if she doesn’t like to sit. Whenever you want her to go, make a cueing noise (hissing works!) and reassure her that it’s OK to go, especially if you have ever told her off for peeing on the carpet lol.

    Take her often, take her to the toilet sometimes even when she’s wearing a nappy.

    This is how my non-EC’d baby learned to use the toilet and came out of nappies at 16mo. This is how my full time EC’d baby who then used nappies from 6 months onwards learned to use the toilet again after such a long break (though it took a LOT longer with her, and involved more accidents). This is how my NEARLY full time EC’d baby, who stopped EC after some long hospital stays around one year old, has just come mostly back out of nappies at 18mo. 🙂

    1. @Sarah,

      That’s pretty much what I was going to say! Watch to see when she poops, or notice when she has gone, and make that a potty-sitting time. No pressure, though, and if she doesn’t go, you can always slap her diaper back on and tell her she can try again later. Once you get the poops down — which isn’t all that difficult, as you’ve already experienced — you can work toward training for the pees. My mom’s method is to leave it open whether to sit on the chair, but she says, “If you go in the potty, you don’t have to put on a diaper for awhile.” She’ll let them wear underpants for a bit. Of course this nearly always results in accidents at that age, but it’s a motivator.

      If it doesn’t work, no sweat — there’s loads of time yet. I can see wanting to be done changing the poopy diapers, though! I’m going to get a potty soon, because I can predict my 8mo’s poops pretty well, and it would save a lot of trouble.

      1. @Sheila, thanks so much for the advice Sheila. The main problem really seems to be that she just suddenly doesn’t like sitting on the potty. Driving me batty! I’m starting to think I’m going to have to wait a while still… we shall see!

    2. @Sarah, Thanks for the tips Sarah. You know, I’ve never reprimanded her, but this morning I was so fed up! She sat on the potty, then got up and walked to the room and plopped on the floor! Then I cleaned it and her up, and put her back on the potty, and she stood up and weed on the tiles! Urgh. She just has a THING about sitting on the potty at the moment and it’s driving me batty!

      I will try some of your tips though, and thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

      1. @Luschka, Sitting with a book sometimes worked for mine – but the littlest one it was simply that the edge of the potty was digging in. We were given a padded toilet seat for her, and she really much prefers using the adult toilet. Worth a try?

        This too shall pass, all you can do is follow her interest and meet her need where she is at rather than where you expected it to be! Easier said than done lol. xxx

  4. Gosh you are brave. I followed my health visitors advice and waited till Geeky daughter was 2.5 years old and did it in 2 days, so all my advice would probably not work on such a young age. But Gina Ford’s Potty Training in One Week talks about starting at 18 months and that had good advice. Good luck.

    1. @Geeky Mummy, Yeah, I read that book, but I am not a fan of her at all, so most of what she writes annoys me by default 😉 I did read the book though and there were a few good tips in there. Although I remember her saying two – three years?? Anyway – I’m not sure if it’s bravery or laziness – I’m a bit fed up of nappy changes at the moment! :p

      1. @Luschka, not a fan either, picking out a a few ideas is the best I get from her books. FYI, a Polish friend of mine says they start at 7-9 months. Your method is definately bravery, potty training at 2.5 is the lazy/easy option – my kinda parenting (i.e. never make something more difficult than it needs to be). As Geeky Son is a boy, I am planning around 3 years old, nappies are far less hassle than accidents in the car/out shopping etc. But will ve very interested to read how you get on.

      2. @Luschka, Just read a few of the other comments and your replies. If getting her to stay on the potty is a problem – which I had with Geeky Daughter – I found the solution was to put the potty in the lounge so she could watch TV and bought noisy books she could play with whilst on the potty – basically anything that would distract her.

        Also, have you tried My Wee Friend? You stick it in the potty (its a sticker), it is a black sticker but when you wee on it it changes to a smiley face or whatever other picture you chose to buy. I also did the usual rewards of – when you have done something in the potty you can do your favourite thing – which at the time was a sticker book. Also did knicker checks – she got stickers for having dry knickers – checked evry 10-15mins. Those are my tips – no idea if they are of help or are relevant to you.

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