We have stopped potty training and are now officially toilet timing. In other words, I give my daughter an opportunity to wee by putting her on the toilet at various, regularly timed intervals during the day.
We have had a no nappy policy when we are at home and we try to make it exciting by letting her wear her grown up undies around the house.
We tell her that she has no nappy and if she needs to go to the toilet then she should let us know. She is two and a half and more than ready – The problem has been my own apathy.
Initially I started putting her on the loo about every hour in the hope of catching something but that was way too often for her and she started to get cranky about it. This exercise was supposed to be fun. We celebrated the time spent on the toilet anyway with cheers and whistles so she could get used to it.
I then tried every two hours and that worked much better. For example if we get out of bed at around 7am I will put her on the loo at 9am. If there was no wee we would then try again at 10am and so on.
In the beginning she would tell me when she was going which was a fantastic start but a little too late to get us on the loo. At least my interval timing was getting better and I now knew she went to the loo about every two to three hours.
Eventually we caught a well timed wee and that was the beginning of the party. It also meant that I now had a starting point and could try to guess the approximate wee time when the next one came along (oh what my life has become!).
I don’t ask her if she needs to go I tell her we are going. There is no big deal about it. I just casually pick her up and put her on the toilet while continuing our conversation. We sit there for a little while and then whether we wee or not we clap hands and hooray for the effort and then get on with whatever we were doing in the first place.
We found it easier to make it activity based. ie if you are doing something else as well like getting dressed or starting/ending an activity or leaving/returning to the house we will also sit on the toilet.
When she got comfortable with the whole thing she then started to voluntarily do a wee. This was cause for great celebration. We did a special ‘wee wee dance’ and called up the grandparents to let them know how clever she was.
Positive reinforcement is proven to work much better.
This method is easy when you are in the safety of your own home with a toilet nearby and plenty of spare clothes and towels should the need arise. It gets a little more complicated when you have to leave the house and use the car seat or the pram.
You have to take the plunge sometime and we decided that it would be this week. Surprisingly we have only had a couple of accidents. I still do the toilet timing thing but I now take her to the closest public toilet (or the closest garden) when we are out.
Today we had a real breakthrough at the playground when my daughter called out “Dada dada toilet.” I ran over expecting a wet pair of pants but found her dry.
“Have you gone yet?” I asked.
“No dadda – toilet.”
I quickly took of her pants and she squatted in the nearby bushes and peed on an unfortunate shrub. Excellent work. The most impressive part was that she was able to hold it for a couple of minutes while we got her pants off and even more impressive the ability to then wee on command.
Yippee !!! We really are on our way to no more nappies…