This parenting gig is a constant whirlwind of mini-projects, isn’t it? You sort out breast feeding, you get a routine going, you deal with sleep issues, you start solids, you wean from breast feeding, they crawl, they walk, they run around like crazy people, they climb everything, they talk, you try to encourage them to eat a diet more varied than porridge and macaroni cheese, you teach them to play nicely with others, you manage tantrums… And at some point you start to contemplate the blessed day when you’ll no longer have to change nappies.
When it comes to toilet training my very loose plan was to follow the advice of Plunket, Nigel Latta, and various other experts: start it in summer; wait until they’ve had their second birthday; and wait until they’re showing signs of being ready (which is a combination of factors, as I understand it – being physically capable of ‘holding on’, being emotionally capable of understanding what you’re asking them to do, and actually being sufficiently motivated to do it). My only aim was to try to have them toilet trained before they turned three, as the preschools that I’ve visited and may like to enrol them at will only take toilet trained kids.
This plan is still in place, and I’m in no hurry to crack on with toilet training (I think life is busy enough as it is), but Hattie’s recent behaviour had prompted me to wonder whether she might be vaguely interested in the whole thing. Specifically, during the past week or so, when we’d remove her and Joe’s nappies before their rudie-nudie dash to the bathroom for their evening bath, she’d invariably do wees. It seemed like she was waiting until after her nappy was removed before weeing, like her nappy was a pair of knickers. Things escalated yesterday afternoon, when she waited until I’d removed her nappy for a change in the afternoon and then, while I was grabbing the clean nappy, did a wee all over a sofa cushion. What fun to clean up! We’ve also found that they’ve started making it clear when they have a dirty nappy (by pulling out the change mat for us, for example), although I know that in most cases they’re still a long way off actually knowing when they’re about to dirty their nappy, as opposed to just informing us after the event. I say ‘in most cases’ there because I think Joe has occasionally got out the change mat as a pre-emptive move: he’s passed the ‘sniff test’ at the time, but has produced the goods shortly afterwards.
In the interests of fewer puddles on the floor, I figured that it might be sensible to get a potty and offer her the option of sitting on it after her nappy was removed. Off I scuttled to The Warehouse yesterday morning, and spent $14 on two fine specimens (this is Joe’s one prior to being used by a little bottom, obviously):
Last night we took them to the bathroom before removing their nappies, and before doing that we demonstrated how one sits on a potty, using a toy monkey and a toy cow as role models. Hattie and Joe watched intently, and when we took off their nappies they didn’t need any convincing to sit down themselves. Hattie did it all with a characteristically determined look on her face, whereas Joe was very blasé about the whole thing. However, Joe took the honours of being the first one to actually wee in the potty, which prompted applause, cheers, kisses, and general celebrations. Both children were extremely interested to see the wees actually in the potty, and Hattie immediately sat down again to try to squeeze out something. She tried three times in total, and although she didn’t manage to actually do anything, she received huge congratulations for trying.
I’m certainly not fooling myself into thinking that this is likely to escalate the toilet training process, but I figure that it’s a low-stress way to start getting the ‘this is how big kids do it’ message across. A lovely fellow twin mum did something similar with her girls, and now that she’s moved on to proper toilet training it seems to be going very smoothly and peacefully. We’ll keep offering them the option of sitting on the potties before their nightly baths, and if it does mean that we have less wee to wipe up then so much the better!