I promised to tell the tale of toilet training Henry, so here it is so far. We followed ‘3 Day Potty Training’ by Lora Jensen, which is an intensive approach where you take the child out of nappies completely (including overnight) and focus on nothing but getting them to the bathroom. You offer lots of encouragement, accidents are treated as ‘no big deal’ and most importantly, you never go back to nappies.
When Jensen says to stick with your child for the three days you are ‘intensively’ training them, she really means stick with them. My husband barely left Henry’s side. Tim talked about nothing but going to the toilet, he followed Henry everywhere, he extricated him from some tight spaces (like under his bed) when he snuck away to relieve himself. If he started to have an accident, Tim scooped him up and got him to the toilet as quickly as possible. One of Jensen’s tips is that no matter how much they’ve wet themselves, get them to the toilet so they learn that’s where they’re supposed to go.
We made Henry feel like the cleverest kid that ever lived every time he tried to use the toilet and gave him a lolly for a every success, but the whole day felt like a full-blown failure. We cleaned up a lot of wee and one BIG (gross) accident. The worst part was at night when he wet the bed twice and was quite upset. Sometime around 5am I decided we needed to give up. I’ve decided a lot of things sometime around 5am since having kids.
I still don’t believe how the second day went down. It was honestly as if aliens had taken Henry overnight and brainwashed him into thinking that using the toilet was the coolest activity in the world. He skipped to the loo grinning like a loon and tried so hard to do the business. There were no accidents at all and lots of singing, clapping, dancing, high-fiving, congratulating and hugging. We were so proud of him and the look on his face when we made a big deal out of his success was just the absolute sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. I was stunned when he stayed dry all night.
It was Monday so now I was on my own. I was worried that the weekend with ‘Fun Dad’ had been a novelty and he wouldn’t cooperate now that ‘No Fun Mum’ was in charge. He blew me away with a positive day full of toilet attempts and no accidents. I didn’t have to stick to him quite as strictly because now he was ‘in charge’ of the whole thing – telling me he needed to go and racing off to get the job done before I’d even caught up. At one point he asked to call his Dad and screamed down the phone: “Henry did a poo in the toilet”. My heart melted. Tim and I were both blown away to be woken at 1am with him requesting to use the loo. My goodness!
A kindy day – how on earth would this go down? Our Jensen eBook did not cover this but friends all assured me it would be fine. Just pack a change of clothes and tell the teachers he was now wearing undies, they said. The kindy teachers were fantastic, total pros. True to Henry form, he found out new toilet users get a sticker so he pretended to go and then ran around for 20 minutes refusing to put his pants back on. That’s my boy. At home I realised he’d been holding on for over six hours but we had an incident-free afternoon and a walk to the park that went well. That night he was dry again.
The morning was a carbon copy of the previous one but in the afternoon, I ventured a little further afield to a shopping mall. As we arrived Annie was losing the plot and it was pouring with rain. Then Henry announced: “I’ve done a big poo”. Well. My worst nightmare. I hastily packed everything one might need to deal with such a situation and ran into the mall. A quick check down the back of his pants revealed he was talking sh*t about the sh*t (pardon my French). I was so relieved. Then the little legend used the mall toilets without a worry and all of toilet training worries had been ticked off one by one. He could:
-Hold on when he needed to go
-Get to the toilet in time
-Go all night without wetting the bed (I still can’t believe this one)
-Deal with a new toilet at kindy without me around
-Use a public toilet without freaking out
Lots of people have told me tales of their toddlers relapsing, so I’m braced for problems in the coming weeks or months, but I ‘m just so happy the start has been so successful. Henry’s never convinced me he was ready for the toilet, so his quick and laid-back response to being out of nappies has been a real surprise. I thought I knew him so well but I totally underestimated the little guy. I’m so proud of him.