Toddlerdom

A relieved mum’s top 10 potty training essentials…

Potty trainingJust over a month ago Little Miss embarked on tackling her latest toddler milestone. It was the one I had been dreading most. Potty training. I’d filled my head with all kinds of chaotic and, frankly, quite disgusting images over how this one might go!

My own mother didn’t really help matters by telling me how awkward I’d been when I was little. Apparently my preference had been to hold on and hold on until I physically couldn’t hold any longer. I would stubbornly refuse to go for most of the day, so I’m told, before unleashing a torrent onto whichever floor I happened to be standing on. And that was just the ‘number ones’… I’ll stop there.

So, yes, I had been pretty apprehensive about toilet training Little Miss.

But I’ve been stunned at how well it went. Gobsmacked! And if you’re mainly desperate to know interested in what worked for us then you can scroll straight down to the ‘our top 10 potty training essentials’ section. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert but it might help.

Otherwise, here’s a bit of pre-amble…

We put off the much feared potty training over the summer as Little Miss just didn’t seem interested or ready and there were so many other things going on in our lives, most of them, so the parenting experts say, being completely incompatible with successful potty training.

There had been the arrival of Not-so-Little Mister in July. Then, just when she’d got used to having a baby brother (or as used to him as she could be in a couple of months), in September she moved from her cot into a bed. That one went better than expected so surely our luck was going to run out once we put her in knickers and asked her to ‘please use the potty now like a big girl’?!

We did start laying the groundwork for toilet training way back at the start of the year when we bought all the kit – potty, toilet seat and step – to get her used to it being around. We also got her the Princess Polly’s Potty book to read.

We’d been encouraging her to try and use the potty before her bath each night, and way back in May we had a few early potty triumphs. Then we hit a wall of refusal.  So, with me being hugely pregnant by then, we left it.

But, she was two-and-a-half at the end of September and she really was starting to feel too old for nappies (and once you go back to changing newborn nappies again, a toddler just feels so huge!), so we decided to give it a proper go. I kept my expectations rock bottom and braced myself for a literal sh*t storm!

And I’m stunned, amazed, proud and most of all relieved to say that, so far *nervously crosses fingers* it never came!

Top 10 potty training essentials

I think a huge dollop of good luck has played a part in our potty training success but, in the interest of helping others, here are a few observations as to what seemed to work well for us.

Our top 10 potty training essentials…

1. Clear your calendar

We blanked out a good three or four days to devote entirely to getting her using the pot. Thankfully the first two days coincided with solid rain anyway. On days three and four we ventured out to a very nearby park but otherwise we stayed home and focused on the job in hand.

2. Enlist support

My husband has been very keen to be fully involved in this (thank goodness!) and worked from home for the first two days. Working as a team is a huge help, especially with a second little one to look after at the same time. I would definitely recommend enlisting an extra pair of hands for the early days, even if it means taking holiday time off work.

3. Time it right 

As you can probably tell, we’ve taken a relaxed approach to this. Some might say I even avoided it a bit! I certainly haven’t let myself feel compelled to force Little Miss into any kind of schedule dictated by anyone else. We waited until we felt we were all ready to have the best chance of success. My mum said she always felt pressurised by her mother-in-law when I was little and believes she started potty training too soon with me and it all became a battle of wills.

4. Go cold turkey on the nappies

I know some people start off with pull-ups but, much as I loathed the idea of clearing up my toddler’s various bodily fluids, I do believe that going straight into her pretty pink knickers made her realise what she needed to do much quicker than having the extra reassurance of what still looks and feels a bit like a nappy.

Sure enough, we had one very early wet accident on the first day but once she realised what had happened the rest of that day passed incident free. We prompted her to use the potty every half hour or so and, with the lure of stickers, she soon got the hang of it.

Of course, we still have the odd wet pair of knickers to deal with. She is still learning after all. But generally accidents only happen when everyone loses concentration – either she or us become completely engrossed in an activity and forget to check whether or not she needs a wee.

Otherwise the huge pile of wet pants I’d been expecting hasn’t materialised. Yet at least.

A final word on pull-ups. We do use them for nap time as her soaking wet nappies after she’s slept are a tell-tale sign that she’s nowhere near ready to stay dry in bed yet. Pull-ups still feel more grown up than a nappy so are very useful for this. And for longer car journeys as I don’t much fancy having to clean a pee-soaked seat!

 5. Pretty pink knickers! 

Or whatever other colour/design is going to get your little one excited. We’ve got a huge pile of Peppa Pig ones as well. Little Miss loves choosing her knickers each day. She has a much nicer pants collection than me!

 6. Lots of stickers

We printed off this free ballerina potty training chart (I love a good Google search! This site has various reward chart options) and customised it ourselves, sticking a favourite pretty picture of Little Miss onto it. We then bought loads of different types of stickers – she loves stickers – and awarded these accordingly for each job well done on the pot (it’s up to you but we gave one for a wee, two for a poo and also saved the best ones for number twos as these seem to take the most, ahem, effort on her part!).

7. Drink up!

During the first few days we made sure Little Miss was drinking plenty, probably more than normal. The idea being that she’d be much more likely to definitely need the loo when she sat on the potty and her success would positively reinforce the idea of going to the toilet. After all, sitting on a potty is going to be pretty boring for everyone if nothing happens.

8. Have no great expectations 

As the song goes ‘a pessimist is never disappointed’. But hopefully, like us, you may also be pleasantly surprised. If, after a few days, it is clear it isn’t working then all the good advice I’d read was to stop and try again another time. I’d been fully prepared to admit defeat if I’d had to and just a few weeks breathing space can make a difference.

9. A word about poo…

Most of the little people I know find the prospect of pooing on a potty somewhat daunting. True to form, Little Miss refused to do so on day one and managed to hold it. We didn’t force the issue. Just braced ourselves!

The husband scored major brownie points (no pun intended. Well maybe it was intended!) when he managed to coax Little Miss into finally having a poo on day two. Time, patience and gentle reassurance did the trick. Plus the promise of a special present, a new dolly outfit I had stashed away. Bribery? Perhaps. I like to think of it as positive reinforcement. Either way, it gave the added incentive needed and helped her overcome the fear of The First Potty Poo. Lots of praise, not further gifts, helped encourage repeat performances.

10. Out and about with the Potette Plus 

Our main potty is a plain white Tippitoes one. Cheap (£5.99), cheerful and comfy and suitable for a boy or a girl as we were expecting our second when we bought it. But where we did splash out a bit more was on a Potette Plus travel potty (approx £15). I love it so much I’ll be posting a full review soon but it can be used as either an on-the-go potty, with disposable bags, or a toddler toiler set and has really has made getting out and about so much easier. It’s so compact and fits easily under the buggy with plenty of room left for all our other bits and bobs.

One month on…

After a week of being in knickers at home, I packed Little Miss off to nursery with her potty, about ten pairs of knickers and at least five pairs of leggings and socks. And I was stunned when she returned home wearing the exact same outfit she’d left in that morning! That was five weeks ago and she’s still yet to have an accident at nursery. She no longer takes her potty either as she prefers to use their toddler-size toilet.

With very little persuasion she has quickly progressed to generally using big toilets (with a toddler seat) almost all of the time. Early on my husband got her doing this for the, erm, messier numbers. For this I truly adore that man!

Of course we’ve had the odd accident. My favourite being when she announced she’d had a wee ‘in the Daddy bed’! As it turned out she had managed to get out of the bed before she’d wet herself which kind of ruins the story a bit.

So overall our first potty training experience has been far more positive than I dared imagine. But ever the pessimist, I’m now wondering if we’ve used up our loo good luck with The Girl. Surely her brother, affectionately known as The Boy, will be more difficult!
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Categories: Motherhood, Things I've learnt..., Toddlerdom | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

Celebrating Movember?!

Via the medium of chocolate cake…Celebrating Movember
I had asked her to smile for the photo (as I hovered nervously with the wet wipes) but this is clearly very serious stuff so there’s just a hint of a Mona Lisa smirk.

brummymummyof2
Categories: Toddlerdom | 17 Comments

Little Miss in the Autumn…

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this time of year. On a crisp, clear autumn day, full of crunchy leaves and glowing colours, I love it. On a damp, dark and dismal one (a bit like today!) it can make me feel a bit down in the dumps.

But thankfully we have had some nice, bright days lately and Little Miss has certainly been embracing the season. It’s been lovely to see those little autumnal things amuse and enthrall her, much more so than any of them did this time last year. Little Miss in the Autumn She loves spotting squirrels in our garden and always asks “what they doing?”, one of her favourite questions at the moment.

She loves walking in crunchy leaves.

She loves playing with leaves at the park, especially getting a bunch and pretending they’re a duster to clean the slide with!

She loves collecting leaves, taking note of the different colours and shapes. Every time we go out we seem to come back with a mini collection under the buggy.

She also loves collecting little sticks and sending them down the slide or playing a little game where she shares them out among family members.

She’s fascinated by things like acorns and sycamore tree aeroplanes. She’s yet to encounter conkers but I know she’d love them so I need to work on that one.

Little bugs are also ultra interesting. She spent ages (well toddler ages anyway!) looking at ladybirds at the park last week and catching them on one of her stash of leaves.

Little Miss with ladybird

She also loves wearing her bright yellow wellies and finding a muddy puddle to play in. This time last year she was still pretty unsteady on her feet and puddles, while enjoyed, often ended up being fallen into by accident, which kind of spoilt the fun! Now she can really play properly. Standing in them to see how far her feet get covered. And yet more leaf action as she loves collecting them to throw into puddles and see if they float.

And I mustn’t forget Little Mister. He, of course, always accompanies us on our little excursions and seems to like getting out and about. He’s very nosey and loves having a good look around. He’s always been keen on watching clouds and branches blowing in the breeze – such is life when you’re only a few months old!

This time next year I’m sure we’ll be chasing after him and trying to stop him eating stuff! He already seems to be a much more ‘mouthy’ baby than his sister was. But for now at least he often spends much of the time out dozing. So here’s one of the cutest pictures ever of him doing just that at the park back in September.

Little Mister sleeping at park

Categories: Mummy memories, Out and about, Toddlerdom | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

A trip to the park with Peppa…

Once upon a time Little Miss couldn’t get enough of In the Night Garden. To be fair, it was one of the few things we let her watch on telly when she was younger. But in recent months she firstly developed an inexplicable fear of the Pinky Ponk! Whenever it innocently appeared on screen she suddenly started crying for us to turn it off. We still don’t know why. And secondly a certain cartoon pig has stolen her affections.

So it now is that most days, at some point, we’ll hear the words “more Peppa”. And at the moment I can cope with watching Peppa Pig on repeat (I know, I will eventually eat my words). Personally I find Peppa a darn sight more entertaining than Igglepiggle and his ultra-repetitive little gang. Especially the hapless Daddy Pig who, as my husband complains, is so often the butt of the jokes!

So, for now, I’m happy to indulge her love of all things pink and Peppa. A few weeks ago we baked Muddy Puddle cupcakes. Potty training is being ably assisted by the lure of bright pink Peppa Pig pants. And we also recently took her Peppa Pig ballerina toy on an outing to the park, which as you can see from the photos below everyone enjoyed – and ‘shhh!’, perhaps Mummy enjoyed it a bit more than a grown-up strictly should!

It was a dry day so no muddy puddles but Peppa had great fun… hope you like our little photo story!

Peppa at the park

Peppa Pig toy on swing

Peppa Pig toy on bouncer

Peppa Pig toy on boat

Peppa Pig toy walk

Peppa Pig toy on see saw

Peppa Pig and Little MisterAnd that was our lovely trip to the park with Peppa. Snort!


Categories: Mummy memories, Out and about, Toddlerdom | Tags: , | 7 Comments

A successful big bed move…

A few weeks ago I wrote about how our two babies were about to move beds – and shared some cute photos of them in their current sleeping quarters. Well, just over two weeks ago, we finally sorted the move. Little Miss is now sleeping in her new ‘big girl’s’ bed – quite literally as I’m writing this during afternoon nap time – and Little Mister has moved out of the crib and into the cot, freshly vacated by his sister. It’s a bad pun I know, but the move really has gone like a dream! We, for now at least, have two very happy little sleepers.

I can’t claim to be any kind of expert on making the transition from cot to bed but later on I’ll share a few observations of things that I think helped with the move.

A successful big bed move... www.mummystodolist.com

Loving her ‘big girl’s bed’. Puppy’s smiling too!

While I always thought Little Miss would love her new bed, there had been a part of me that felt apprehensive. What if she really hated it? And would she accept seeing her baby brother now occupying the cot that had been hers for more than two years? That was a big concern because we really had to move him into it as soon as she was out. All those parenting books say this is a big no, no but he’s a big baby and his crib was becoming increasingly cramped. I did fear we could have an epic parenting fail on our hands!

But, thankfully, my fears were unfounded. Little Miss absolutely loves her new bed and has been sleeping and napping better than ever in it. Just prior to the move we’d had a run of fretful bed times but now she can’t wait to climb in and snuggle down.

She especially loves her new pillow and proper cosy duvet, something she had’t had in the cot. We got her a princess print set from Next in her favourite colour pink and she keeps telling us “my bed is so pretty!”.

We sorted her new-look room out on one of her nursery days and made it look as lovely as possible, so she returned home that day to see it all nice and ready for her. She was so excited and jumped into bed straight away for a test run.

We’ve got a stairgate on her bedroom door but so far (fingers crossed!) she’s been great at staying put. She loves snuggling down at night and will only leave the comfort of her covers once it’s morning and time to get up.

Little Mister has also been fine moving from crib to cot. He’s got a lot more room to move around now and as it’s got cooler we’ve got out the baby sleeping bags which also help him sleep more soundly. *Whispers* at the moment he’s sleeping through from about 9pm until 5 or 6am in the morning. Not bad for a three-month-old. Bit scared he might suddenly change his mind about this nice convenient arrangement!

A successful big bed move... www.mummystodolist.com

Little Mister chilling in his cot (with Mr Elephant keeping watch)

My tips for moving a toddler from cot to bed…

– Get your toddler excited about the change. We talked a lot about how nice it would be to have a new bed in the run up to the move. I think the most important thing was that by the time it finally happened our daughter felt ready and had expressed how keen she was to have a ‘big girl’s bed’.

– Help you little one know what to expect. Little Miss has two slightly older cousins who were already in toddler beds so we were able to show her their beds. As she looks up to her cousins this also helped fuel her enthusiasm too.

Next Woodland toddler bed set

Our second duvet set

– There’s quite a lot to buy – more than you might first think – so it does take a bit of planning ahead for a smooth transition. Certain items will need to be ordered and may take a few weeks to arrive as well – we had the bed itself weeks before the mattress was delivered. We then needed to buy a toddler bed sized duvet, pillow, a couple of duvet cover and pillow case sets, fitted sheets and a couple of mattress protectors.

– Cover appeal is key! We got two sets from Next which were reasonably priced – the one a bargain at £12 and the other is reversible so we effectively have three designs for the price of two. So far they’ve washed well and Little Miss loves the pretty designs.

– Don’t make it too different. We kept the bed in the same position in the room as the cot had been and moved all the toys she usually had into the new bed so it was still familiar.

– Think carefully about whether or not you need to have a rail. We had bought a rail to go on the side of the new bed but decided against using it at the last minute. Once it was installed it kind of ruined the effect of having a new ‘big girl’ bed – the one we got had wooden bars like her cot – and we strongly suspected our daughter would hate this. So far she hasn’t fallen out of bed and even if she did the bed is not very high up.

– And as with most toddler behaviour that you want to encourage, heap on the praise!

Categories: Baby days, Mummy memories, Toddlerdom | Tags: , | 11 Comments

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