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July 31, 2012 – Toilet training 101


Toilet training.

Ugh! It’s one of the things I like least about having kids. Not only is it inconvenient, having to be near a toilet for a few weeks until they learn to hold onto it, but the mess caused by the many accidents is no fun at all! I’m certainly not a fan of scrubbing out soiled underpants!

I’ve been lucky though – all 4 of my children have been relatively easy to train. But I let them decide when they wanted to ditch the diapers, and I also had plenty of help.

James was a week shy of 3 when he woke up one morning and asked to wear his “big boy undies”. We had tested his interest over the previous 6 months or so, but the answer was always a firm “NO”. I never forced the issue as I believe kids can often decide for themselves. I felt confident he’d at least be in undies by the time he was a teenager, so I never worried myself about it. Yes, I had plenty of friends boasting about how their little geniuses were out of diapers by 18 months, or two years old. And I had plenty asking me when I planned to start toilet training James, who was deemed by many to be well and truly old enough. But he wasn’t ready, and if he wasn’t ready then neither was I. We had the undies purchased from the time he turned 2, and each month we’d show them to him and ask if he was interested. We had a potty which was ready to go as well. They both lay idle, for almost a year. In fact, he grew out of the undies and I had to restock the drawers with larger-sized ones, this time they were fancy with racing cars on them! And I waited. And waited. And waited . . . . patiently . . . . with absolutely no pressure.

I waited patiently until that morning. That morning when he woke up and declared that he wanted to wear undies. And do you know what the beauty of waiting was? The accidents were practically non-existent. Yes, I had a maid who followed him around and made sure he went to the bathroom regularly. In fact, I credit Maribel with toilet training both James and Charlyse. Charlyse was just over 2 when she declared “I want to wear my Cinderella undies to school”. The books did say girls tend to train earlier than boys. And whereas James took almost another 6 months to be dry at night, she was completely diaper-free within a matter of weeks. Definitely easier.

And that brings us to Saraya and Patrick. Whereas it was my daughter who took to it better in the case of my two older children, the opposite could be said about Saraya and Patrick. Don’t get me wrong, she was still completely out of diapers by two and a half, but it was a struggle in the beginning. She wanted to wear undies, she loved the idea of wearing Ariel and Tinkerbell undies (this is where licensed brands come in VERY handy – seriously, undies with pretty flowers just don’t cut it!). But oh! The accidents were constant! I must admit, with 3 other kids to look after, I wasn’t the most vigilant of toilet-training-supervisors, and perhaps that’s where the problem lay. But it certainly was a stressful time, and I resorted to putting her in pull-up diapers whenever we went out. In the end, the teachers at her preschool offered to take control. And what do you know? Dry within days. I love when the hard jobs are taken off my hands by people who are experts.

As for Patrick, well I honestly thought he’d get to three and still be in a nappy. Not that I really stressed about it. He simply wasn’t interested and I didn’t want to press the issue. It was only when his preschool teachers told me he was using the toilet at school at the same time as his friends that I realised he was ready. So this time, rather than create both stress and mess for myself, I let them take charge right from the start. For a week, he only wore his undies once he got to school, and during nap time he put on a pull-up. Surprise! No accidents! The following week, we ditched the diaper both at school and at home, and I even took him out for a full day in his “Lightning A’Tween undies” (yes, he is obsessed with Cars!). Again, no accidents. Seriously, it’s been so easy! I can’t believe I fretted at the thought of going through it all over again with a boy, who according to the books should have been more difficult to train. In one word, Patrick was so EASY!

It’s been 4 weeks now, and he’s been completely dry during the day for 3 of those. Even nap time is diaper-free. Plus, he’s been waking up dry for three weeks. Dare I admit to myself that all diapers might soon be a thing of the past in my household? I think so. And whilst it thrills me to know that we actually won’t be spending so much each week, it is also a bittersweet realisation. Yes, my baby is now a boy. And a dry one at that.

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