From nappies to undies, Lord B

Toilet training is something a lot of parents dread, apparently. I suppose there are lots of reasons for it going wrong, like starting too early, expecting too much too soon, getting angry with a child who has accidents (thus making them more anxious and more likely to have accidents). I like to think I’ve come up with a fabulous way of getting kids out of nappies, “early”, so I’m going to write it down for future reference.

Lord B was out of nappies by around 2y5m. I’m told this is early for a boy. He didn’t regress when we moved a month or so later. He was dry most nights by around 2y8m, and in the last month (2y11m) has decided he doesn’t need a nappy at night anymore. He does have the very odd accident at night, and semi-frequently waits too long during the day, but now at least he generally goes as soon as he realises it’s too late. Apparently this is all normal and doesn’t stop me from saying that he’s fully toilet trained.

Now, all this might just be cos he’s one of those kids that was ready early. Perhaps, but I think the way we did it also helped a lot.

A few months before Sir A was born, I discovered a baby sign language potty training thing. Basically, it presupposes that toddlers are able to control things a lot more than they can communicate them and that they can learn signs to communicate their needs and get out of nappies by 18 months. Perhaps this is true for some kids, I don’t know. Anyway, with a baby due when Lord B would be 17 months, I thought only washing one set of nappies sounded like a grand plan.

Here’s the DVD it came with. Pity linux didn’t like it and wouldn’t play the sound.

Step one: lots of freebum time to learn to read baby’s cues. This is really just a version of elimination communication, only a lot harder when you only start after 13 or 14 months. And I just couldn’t figure out any cues for wees. Poos were easy, and from very vague memory he’d been happy to do them on the potty if we could be bothered getting him on there.

I should probably mention that from around 8 months poor Lord B was very constipated. Poos would take a loooong time and involve much wailing. I discovered the only way to comfort him and not get poo on me (had to take his nappy off cos it was so hard) was to cuddle him on a potty. So he was familiar with them from fairly early on. Incidentally, kid-e-reg is great stuff that kept things soft till his gut matured enough to cope properly with food.

And back to signing nappies away. After a couple of weeks having Lord B nakie, and the only wees ever being in the 3 seconds out of every 2 hours that I took my eyes off him, I decided we weren’t really getting anywhere. Add to this the fact that he still had no concept of signing as well as pretty much no words, and I decided to devote my time to other things.

At some later point (I can’t really remember when), I tried again. He’d sit happily on his potty for ages, shuffling around the house (wooden floors) and playing with things. Got plenty of wees that way, but it was hardly us developing communication about the whole process. I made him some slightly padded training pants but that didn’t help much either. I let him be nakie outside, which was fine, and sometimes inside, which was also ok as long as he didn’t piss on the couch. If he wet the floor he’d just go get a flat cloth nappy and wipe it up and half the time I didn’t even know till ages later.

Clearly we weren’t getting anywhere much just then either, but I do believe we were building good foundations. We didn’t get angry with him if he took a whizz somewhere other than the potty (or pooed on the floor, for that matter), and he became more familiar with the concept of using the potty.

Around 2y10 months we observed that he could switch his wee on and off. This is a very Positive Sign, we thought. Mum and Dad were off to SA for a couple of months over summer, and thought he’d be out of nappies by the time they came back. But I just wasn’t sure how to go about it and also a bit pansy, let’s be honest. With a clingy Sir A to worry about too, it seemed awfully daunting cleaning up messes all day or running to help at inconvenient times.

Mum and Dad were disappointed. I tentatively planned to wait till after we’d moved, since he’d probably regress then anyway. Then it was pointed out that we were going from no carpet to full carpet, and the weather would be cooling down. Hmm, I thought. There goes that excuse.

I saw a cheap book on fishpond – Gina Ford’s Potty Training in One Week. (I’ve since discovered that Gina Ford is viewed as something of an antichrist in most AP circles. oops.) Also Elizabeth Pantley’s No Cry Potty Training Solution.

Both had interesting ideas. I determined he was definitely ready, bought some undies (the smallest is size 2-4. Really? For the skinny little Sweets, still wearing size 1 and under. Thankfully the weren’t too huge), acquired a toilet seat shrinker/adapter thing, and gritted my teeth.

We started with undies instead of nappies for a segment of the day, with regular trips to the potty. I think. Gosh it’s become vague! Anyway, within a few days we were only using nappies for sleeps and night, and not having a huge number of accidents, either. We did get a couple of poos in undies, but soon learnt to distinguish plaintive cries of “poo” from his bed from general talking to himself (just had to pay attention – how inconvenient).

Another week or so later (I think) and I noticed his nappies were dry after sleeps, so we had a wee before bed and then undies. No accidents there.

A month or so after we’d started the whole process, we moved house. I fully expected massive regression, but the move didn’t seem to affect either of the boys in any but positive ways. At some point we’d acquired a little seat with ladder all in one contraption, but nothing would induce Lord B to use the toilet. He seemed rather scared of it. So we stuck with the potty, and I took it everywhere we went in case he needed it. That was rather annoying, but better than lots of wet undies, I suppose.

A month or two ago I stopped taking the potty out with us. By that stage it was mostly only if I thought he might need to poo, as he’d started choosing toilet over potty most times both out and at home. One less thing to carry – never a bad thing!

Oh, how could I have forgotten the stickers! At first he was quite reluctant to use the potty. We’re not so much into bribery or rewards, but we didn’t really see any other way. I bought a few different types of stickers, and we cunningly worded it all so it wasn’t really bribery, it was “decorating and personalising the potty” and such decorating took place after one had used it (since one doesn’t decorate things when they’re out of mind, you see). This certainly didn’t get full cooperation, but it made using the potty more interesting. By the time we’d run out of stickers, the novelty had worn off and he was mostly cooperating anyway.

Here’s the potty. Who wouldn’t be proud of a potty like that??

There was a point a couple of months after we moved that Lord B would flat out refuse to use the potty. But then he’d flat out refuse to cooperate with a good number of things. We just dealt with it like any other undesirable behaviour, trying to figure out the cause and address that, rather than focussing on the apparent potty hatred. As with all phases, it passed soon enough.

Come a month or two ago, Lord B was hardly ever using the potty for wees (as of today he has yet to use the toilet for poos, though), but he also refused to use a seat adapter, which meant we had to hold him on the toilet so he didn’t fall in. He is well aware of the danger of falling in – told me the other day with a big grin how he was going to fall in and make a big splash, but mostly is kinda scared about it. Until two or three days ago, when he tried to climb on by himself, so I thought I’d try the seat and step contraption again. He was SO pleased with it. I wasn’t allowed to help at all. Daddy was given a demonstration as soon as he got home, too.

This is it. Wasn’t sure if he’d like a picture of him using it for all the world to see, plus he’d just done a wee and was hardly like to go again just to pose.

There’s little trouble getting Lord B to go to the toilet now. He runs off grinning at the thought of using his seat, and we have to watch. “Show me” he says (hasn’t quite got the hang of that it’s him showing us, not vice versa) and Nanny and Grandpa were proudly treated to a demonstration this morning. Hopefully he’ll be able to do it completely unassisted soon (sitting far enough back, switching on the light, getting his clothes back on are the small issues atm) and it’ll be one less thing for me to have to worry about. And hopefully the novelty won’t wear off too quickly and make him not want to go when he needs to.

(As an aside, Lord B has become a lot more independent in several things lately, and we strongly suspect that all the issues with being super dependent for those weeks described in previous posts were part of getting there. Retrospect is such a fandangoing fabulous thing.)

I suppose that’s one phase of Lord B’s life that’s pretty much complete now. Not something we really have to think about anymore, anyway. It’s been nice not having to force him, just working with him, and especially only having one lot of nappies to wash 😀 When I get the chance I”ll have a mini update on how Sir A is going in this area.

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  1. […] now to the point. Sir A has been exposed to the majority of Lord B’s nappies to toilet experience. Sir A  tries to copy everything Lord B does. It seems reasonable, therefore, that Sir A will […]

  2. […] how grouchy discomfort makes one) without waiting too long, but only sometimes. The novelty of his toilet seat sadly wore off pretty quickly and it’s back to helping him out every time he needs to go. Oh […]



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