Back in the summer, we were asked if we would like to work with Huggies as one of their Pull Ups Ambassadors, which I wrote more about here. Naturally, we accepted and with their support, we began our potty training journey with Harry.
We were asked to follow the 6 Steps To Potty Success guide, which was developed by Huggies in partnership with renowned child psychologist, Dr Heather Wittenburg. If you’ve not seen the guide for yourself, I would strongly recommend visiting www.pottytraining.co.uk to have a look for yourself as it includes all the support, help and tools needed to feel more positive and confident about potty training.
The beginning of our potty training journey was pretty disastrous if I’m being completely honest. After a week of endless accidents, puddles to clean up, poo-stained clothes and copious amounts of washing I was about ready to throw in the towel, but with the support of Huggies and the guide behind me, I persevered.
And one thing I’ve realised is that perseverance and consistency are key when it comes to potty training. You have got to be 100% committed at all times, no matter how hard or frustrating it gets.
In our last update, I mentioned that we were on step 5 of the 6 steps to potty success and were working on improving night-time dryness. At the time Harry was drinking water through the night and using his beaker as a sort of self-soother. I realised pretty quickly that if we were going to have any form of success at night-time then the drink needed to go…and it has.
I’ve also altered his evening routine slightly so that he has his last drink 30minutes before bedtime, as I find that any fluids have usually passed through his system by then. He will then go to the toilet before getting into bed and will generally stay dry. He has the odd accident now and then but it’s pretty rare and usually because I’ve forgotten to remind him to go to the toilet or something silly like that.
In addition to the night-time dryness, we’ve also been working hard on personal hygiene, so he’s learnt how to wipe his own bum after a poo and always washes his hands when he goes to the toilet.
Although we are at the end of our potty training journey with Harry, it’s still SO important to keep up the great work, which is what step 6 of the 6 steps to potty success is all about. There’s more to successful potty training than teaching your little one the difference between wet and dry. It’s also about encouraging and supporting them to build confidence and gain independence.
This positive state of mind will help to keep them engaged with the potty training process. Once the initial excitement of training fades, kids can begin to lose interest and become less cooperative. But as keeping your child’s interest high is a key to success, it’s important that they stay motivated until they’ve mastered this milestone. Here’s some tips and advice from Dr Heather Wittemburg on how to do that:
Nothing builds confidence like praise, so to help them feel more comfortable with the new skills they’re learning and to keep them interested in the task at hand, it’s time to cheer them on! Remember that non-verbal praise, like smiles and squeezes, is just as important as the verbal kind.
A great way to keep up the motivation and give a sense of achievement is to set goals, especially when accompanied with a reward. Start small and build up to bigger goals as their confidence and ability grows.
Keeping their Huggies® Pull-Ups® dry so that the unique fade-when-wet graphics stay visible is a fun motivational goal to set with your little one. As they progress, another goal to try is staying dry for a number of days, the reward for which could be choosing some real underwear.
How you reward your child for progress is entirely up to you. Little treats, watching a favourite film together and phone calls to family to share the good news can all work wonders.
Using stickers and charts as a reward can be very effective for children too young to grasp doing something for its own sake. Kids adore stickers, and earning one to place on a progress chart can be very motivating.
1) While potty training takes around three to six months on average, many kids still have accidents up to a year after regularly using the potty
2) Away from home, make the experience as similar to using the potty at home as possible to help your toddler stay on track
3) Use praise, goals and rewards to help him learn, whether you’re at home or out and about
1. At Preschool
The challenge of starting at preschool brings with it plenty of changes, not least of which are new surroundings and new routines. In light of this, it’s hardly surprising that some toddlers experience a few setbacks when it comes to potty training.
Accidents can happen because of:
With so much to learn and get used to, pre-schoolers might get a bit flustered when they feel the urge to go. They might become distracted, be unsure about who to ask or feel a bit nervous about using the toilets at preschool. With a little time and practise, they will soon adapt to their new setting.
The first few days and weeks of preschool leave kids feeling understandably exhausted – and it’s when they’re tired that accidents are more likely to happen. Try introducing a new routine that includes visiting the loo before you leave for preschool and as soon as you get home, or even just before you leave preschool if this is convenient.
For various reasons, some children simply don’t like using unfamiliar facilities and choose to ‘hold on’ until they get home, which can result in accidents. Try to understand what it might be about the toilets at nursery that your child doesn’t like and work on building him confidence with help from staff.
Top tips for starting preschool and staying dry:
· Show your little one the toilet facilities at their preschool and explain how everything works
· Help them understand what to do if they need a wee when at nursery
· Ensure their teacher understands what stage they’re at and what their needs are, making them aware of cues your child gives when she needs to go if necessary
· If you’re concerned, Huggies® Pull-Ups® will help avoid embarrassing accidents in the early days
· Remember to dress your child in clothes that are easy for them to pull up and down
· Pack spare clothes and Huggies® Pull-Ups® just in case.
Remember that preschool staff often have a lot of potty training experience and can be a great asset in the transition.
2. When Travelling
Keep potty training on the go as similar to at home as possible to prevent your little one from getting confused or backtracking on their progress. Although being out and about presents a few potty training challenges, a little preparation goes a long way.
Tips for potty training on the go:
· Encourage your little one to try going to the loo just before you leave the house as this will limit the need to rush to the toilet when you’re half way around the supermarket!
· With Huggies® Pull-Ups® potty training pants, little accidents away from home don’t have to be a big problem
· Pack a change of clothes, spare Pull-Ups® and some wipes just in case
· Take a potty, travel potty or toddler training seat with you on long journeys so that you can react quickly if your toddler feels the urge to go
In the case of a little accident away from home, remain calm and supportive. With the help of spare clothes, wipes and a pair of Huggies Pull Ups, you’ll be on the move again in no time.
Using HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® on journeys ensures little ones are protected from accidents but are still learning while on the move. The special Learning Liner allows toddlers to feel a brief sensation of wetness to help them tell the difference between wet and dry, while the absorbent core safeguards against accidents.
Regression can feel like a major setback, but understanding the cause is the key to getting your little one back on track.
What triggers regression?
Regression can happen for a variety of reasons, but is usually stress-related. A big change to their routine, moving house, starting nursery, a painful bowel movement or other unpleasant experience on the toilet, or being teased or punished for an accident can all cause a phase of regression.
Another common reason is the arrival of a new sibling as feelings of jealousy can make the older child revert to baby-like behaviour in an attempt to win back some attention. Regression can sometimes be simply about wanting attention, even without the arrival of a new sibling.
A urinary tract infection can make it difficult and painful to control the bladder, which results in accidents. Seek medical advice if you’re at all concerned that your child might have an infection.
Getting back on track
Going back to basics is the best way to overcome a period of regression. With plenty of support and praise when appropriate, revert to your earlier routine of regular potty use and marking their progress together on a reward chart. Remind them to go to the potty when they’re busy playing and look out for signs that they need a wee so that you can encourage them to go. If the accidents go on for more than a few days, or if it’s upsetting your child, going back to Huggies® Pull-Ups® for a while can also help.
Beware of negative reinforcement, as getting lots of attention for accidents may encourage that behaviour. While children prefer positive attention, they’ll take negative attention over none at all. Praise your toddler for returning to good habits, but do your best to make little fuss of accidents and to ignore bad behaviour so that they don’t come to use it as a way of getting your attention.