Lockdown Potty Training PART 2: Potties, Pants & Poop

May 3, 2020

My therapist told me not to worry if all I succeed one day is the potty training. Amazingly she’s also potty training her son during this Covid-19 season, so at least I don’t feel like the only person deciding a global pandemic is the perfect time for more stress.

We officially started potty training when lockdown began toward the end of March, and I was trying to figure out how potty training was taking almost a year “to do”. Our son, now three years old, was at the point where he occasionally entertained the potty but was essentially happily nappy reliant 24/7.

I soon came to realise that the reason our little man wasn’t potty trained already was because of, well, us; we weren’t really doing anything. While we were right to wait for the cues and allow Reuben to potty train in his own time, it equally wasn’t encouraging him to change.

So, what’s happened in five weeks?

Independent, big boy peeing, nappy-free improvements, that’s what. Woo-hoo!

First of all, we scrapped the idea that potty training was taking so long and we began again. Fresh page. Fresh approach.

Then I identified that there were several areas of the potty training and nappy security we needed to tackle.

On reflection, Reuben hadn’t been given the chance to pee anywhere other than the security of a nappy, so to move forward we had to forgo nappies in a drastic way. Now, Reuben just wears a nappy at bedtime, going bare-bummed or commando during the day.

Potties are in situ – mini toilet in the bathroom, white potty in the living room, blue potty in the hall and two toilets available with training seats and steps – so Reuben can see them and be prompted to use them.

We make sure we’re full of praise and encouragement at every success and each miss. It can be tough not sounding disappointed when a pee has overshot the potty or splashed all over the seat, so we try to stay mindful to the fact it’s work in progress. There’s still success in the attempt. Yes, even when it feels like we’re not getting anywhere and we’re going over the same old ground (and I’m secretly wincing in terror).

But it needs to be said: our lad is nailing it! No more nappies through the day, no need to prompt, can hold a wee/won’t pee himself when we’re out and he goes to the potty or loo when he needs to go (and flushes it). That’s a success I’ll take!

Peeing on the go has been easier than I’d imagined.

Obviously because of lockdown, we’re not having many opportunities to go anywhere in the car or by foot. That being said, when we do go out to the shop or on a walk, peeing in public hasn’t been problematic. I carry an empty bottle that can be peed into for ease, but a countryside verge or tree is working just as well. That’s the bonus little boys have, for sure.

The first time we went out with Reuben during potty training, I tried dressing him in (under)pants with ‘security’ nappy pants over the top, but found it just created confusion and he weed through them. So I scrapped the idea of pants for a week, allowing the looseness of his trousers to remind him he doesn’t have the security of underwear so he’s fully aware. Then I re-introduced the pants, and it’s not been a problem since.

Lately I’ve started to pop a pair of shorts on Reuben. Just an easy wear soft jersey with an elasticated waist for the most comfort and ease of removing. And he’s doing so well at pulling them down for his potty and back up again. Granted, he much prefers the naked feel so sometimes rather than pull them up he’ll opt to kick them off and say he doesn’t want to wear anything. Fair enough, although that’ll not wash come nursery time.

And I’m trying not to be precious about the garden. It’s pretty rough terrain out the back and we don’t have a lawn (sigh), but all the same, I do still like to sit out there and chill, looking at my pots of flowers and plants. Although free-peeing in the garden has an appeal apparently – in fact, no, it’s not even just peeing, he’ll quite happily poop in the garden – and while I don’t massively care about it like I do the living room rug/stairs/bedroom floor etc etc, I do try to remind him of his potties or at the very least, to pee in the furthest corner.

And on the matter of poop…

Well, we’re not there with the “number twos” just yet. It’s not that he’s frightened of pooping in the potty (I don’t think?), he just doesn’t seem to want to.

I’ve tried bribery. The big digger he wanted worked as encouragement for his wees but will it work this time? Nope. I’ve asked him what he’d like in exchange for a poop in the potty – he said a dumper truck (how apt). “Shall we try and get a poo in the potty next time?” I prompt him, with as much positivity I can fake. “I’ll do it next time”, he insists, matter of factly. But it doesn’t happen next time and we go full circle again.

And every day he still catches us off guard and we’ll find a poop somewhere, anywhere but a potty or toilet. In the hall. In the kitchen. In his bedroom window, complete with cars driven through “the mud” (not even joking.) Actually lately he’s been directing toward the poop, even warning us so as not to accidentally walk in it, which is progress I suppose.

I tell myself it’s just a phase but sometimes I wonder if we’ll be playing this game for longer than this lockdown’s feeling like it’ll last. “This too shall pass.” Yeah?

So I’m going with… this potty training is going quite alright.

We’re half way there. In fact, I’m inclined to say it feels more like three quarters of the way there. While doing a good old poop (in a toilet) is imperative to successful potty training, the numerous daily pees that are going where wee is supposed to go, feels like we’ve pretty much won the war.

Potty training during lockdown has been the major influence on Reuben’s potty success simply because it’s relaxed time. Usually as a family we’d go out daily, an effect that’s had the biggest hit on us since we thrive on outdoor activity. But long days spent at home on our own have made it less of a stress.

And the bonus? We’re saving big time on nappies.

** UPDATE! **

7th May // We got a potty poo! Reuben tried hard all day to use the toilet or potty and by teatime he sat on his mini toilet and did a proper poop. Very proud! Since then, Reuben’s been doing his number twos right where they’re supposed to go – in the toilet. What changed? I realised I needed to stalk Reuben – watch him closely to catch his cues for needing to pass a poo and then ushering him toward the toilet. Reading a book with him as he sits on the seat helps distract him enough so he relaxes and nature can answer its call. And it’s going great!

Missed Part One of my Potty Training posts? Read it here!

Are you potty training your little ones at the moment? How are you getting on? If you’ve any advice on serial floor poopers, I’m all ears!

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