Here it is… the time for your baby to say bye-bye to nappies. It’s a milestone which many parents are anxious about. How to explain to this little person that certain things belong to the potty and not on the floor? Is it the right time for potty training? Is potty training in 1 week even possible?
I don’t think I’m an expert or anything near it, but I can tell you how I potty trained my children. All three of them when they were 2 years 3 months old and they all learned it within few days.
Potty training options
You can start thinking about potty training as soon as you get pregnant. It’s one of the things that needs preparation. You can read more information about it in advance so you can make the decision HOW and WHEN you want to do it. You have 4 options here:
- Baby-led potty training – this one you start with when your baby is born, even before she starts wearing nappies. She learns to do wee-wee and poo-poo into the sink or toilet and wears nappy only to prevent accidents. If you haven’t heard of it before, I understand that it might sound as nonsense. But it isn’t. It’s a natural way of toilet training and all babies are born ready to do it. I remember when my babies were born (especially boys), during their first few days of life, they were doing a wee-wee as soon as I took their nappy off. My reaction was: “Woooow, what’s happening!!” They quickly got the message and stopped doing it as they figured, they shouldn’t do it that way… They learned that they should do it into the nappy because that was what I (unintentionally) taught them. Of course, I didn’t realize there was some other way of doing things out there, maybe even better than the one I used…
- Slowly introducing potty to your baby from 6 months onwards, so she recognizes it and knows what it is for. I’m not a great fan of this method, to be honest. Because with this method, your baby wears nappies all the time and doesn’t “ask” to go. You get to change wet and soiled nappies AND you mess around with potty too. You need to undress your child, sit her down to a potty, try to entertain her to make her actually sit there at least for a while, if she does something there, you need to clean the potty, then you put her nappy back on and you still need to change it later as it is soiled or wet again. What’s the point in that?
- Potty training in 1 week when your child is 2-3 years old. No previous “introduction” of the potty is needed.
- Waiting for your child to “potty train herself.” Or waiting for your child to decide that she doesn’t want to wear nappies anymore. This might come as soon as before the age of two (yes, there are some clever kids like this out there, maybe you will be lucky to have one of them). But many kids simply don’t care about wearing nappies for as long as 4+ years as it’s so comfortable for them. It’s up to you if you want to wait for your child to take this issue over. It’s very gentle and natural way of toilet training and there’s one thing that is 100% sure: your child will get there. She won’t stay in nappies forever.
Potty training in one week
It sounds like a great idea, that’s the reason I tried it in the first place. And guess what, it worked. It wasn’t easy, but it worked. You can find 1000 guidelines online regarding the signs of readiness for potty training but after admitting that baby-led potty training exists you will realize that all babies are ready from day one after being born. So don’t be too concerned about your child being ready for toilet training. She is.
All babies are born ready for potty training.
The only problem is that you taught her to go into nappy, she got used to it and now it seems like some kind of losing comfort by taking the nappy off. There’s another thing too: from 18 months onwards your toddler’s personality is strongly kicking in and by the time you decide to potty train her, she’s in the terrible twos phase and often doesn’t want to cooperate with you at all.
Be prepared for the fuss
Reviewing 2 facts above, I need to say that you have a big chance that your child will not want to cooperate. It’s up to you to motivate her. It requires a lot of energy and you will have that “I cannot go any further” moment of frustration. But once you’ve started, please, hang in there. Don’t give in and don’t put the nappies back on. It only takes few days before your child gets it. Be persistent, especially if you have a reason for “sudden” potty training, e.g. your toddler is about to start creche which doesn’t accept nappies or so.
How do I potty train my child in a week?
How? Take the nappy off. This part is simple. You take the nappy away from your child and start explaining that wee-wees and poo-poos belong to the potty or toilet. Generally, you need to take 3-4 days time off work to stay with your child and dedicate 100% of your attention to her. Free up your schedule and make sure you don’t need to go anywhere the first 2 days (at least).
Buy a lot of big girl or big boy underwear & trousers and also some stickers & treats to reward your child for trying and for success. Your washing machine will be running every day for first couple of days, maybe even a week or two so make sure you’re stocked up on washing powder too.
Hang in there
Set your mind up for trying & not giving up for at least one or two weeks. Every time you think that your child doesn’t get the message or isn’t ready yet, say to yourself: “If there’s no sign of improvement by the second week is over, I will put her nappy back on.”
Consistency is extremely important, especially in the first two weeks. Once you took the nappy off, don’t put it back on (except the night time when you should be using toilet training pants instead of nappy so it’s different for your child).
For example, if your child doesn’t wear nappies anymore and you put one on when driving somewhere in the car, your child might figure that it’s ok to do wee-wee in the pants again when in the car. You definitely don’t want to risk this, do you? Putting the nappy back on is confusing for your child, so don’t do it.
Potty training is a long topic. Read also the other two articles, about potty training preparation & 3 real examples of potty training of my children.