Posts Tagged With: potty training

Potette Plus 2-in-1 travel potty review

Potette Plus travel potty reviewI have to admit I approached potty training with a certain amount of dread. Actually, make that a huge amount of dread! All I could see ahead was weeks of mess and mountains of extra laundry. Plus our sanity-saving trips out of the house looked set to become an even bigger logistical nightmare than they already were with a feisty toddler and small baby in tow.

As you may have already read, potty training Little Miss, once we really put our minds to it, actually went surprisingly well. But using the potty or toilet at home is only one part of the process and, if you’re anything like us, any more than two days stuck inside the house is enough to drive everyone crazy. So by day three we had to get out.

Now I haven’t written many reviews on this site to date. I’m still waiting for all those lovely PR opportunities and perks that all honest parent bloggers dream of to come flooding my way – and yes, in case anyone was wondering, I am totally up for a few of these! But this is one review I felt compelled to write off my own steam. This particular product, the Potette Plus 2-in travel potty, has proved so useful I had share it here. It’s become an essential item that comes everywhere with us and I’m sure will be used for many years to come with it being handed on to Little Mister when the time comes (sob!) for him to also leave nappies behind.

All hail ‘the original folding potty’

I bought our Potette Plus back in September for about £14 – this seems to be the average price, although at the moment you can pick them up online for a bit cheaper. Prior to purchase I’d spent several hours pouring over the various travel potty options on Amazon – oh the glamour of parenthood! This one seemed popular and, while not the cheapest option, customer ratings were generally very good. And since it is both a travel potty and a toilet seat, hence the 2-in-1, you’re effectively getting two products for your money. Pennies well spent I’d say (sorry, I really couldn’t resist the pun).

It’s described as ‘the original folding potty’ and boasts a string of awards from various parenting publications. The original Potette was, apparently, invented by a grandad who couldn’t believe the amount of paraphernalia his daughter had to take with her when going out with her little one.

What a cool grandad? And yes, like his daughter, the sheer amount of stuff that leaves the house with us these days meant I was desperate to find the smallest option possible. I’ve seen parents cart a full-size potty in a carrier bag around the park but it’s not a look I wanted to go for.

Small but perfectly formed

Potette Plus foldedWhen it arrived, I was quite amazed by how compact and lightweight the Potette Plus looked and felt. It really does fold down very small, as you can see from the picture, but at the same time it doesn’t feel at all flimsy. The plastic is satisfyingly solid and there are rubberised grips on the legs to hold it steady when in use.

It is fantastically portable and so easy to discreetly stash under the buggy – we have a fairly compact Babyjogger City Mini – without hogging all the space for our other gubbins. I usually leave it under there and can actually fold the buggy with it still in situ, meaning it never gets forgotten.

So how does it work?

Potette Plus as pottyWhen the call panic of nature comes the legs unfold and click into place to make a surprisingly sturdy little potty which you use with an absorbent, disposable liner, AKA a really posh bin bag, to collect whatever your little darling has been brewing. The beauty is that once they’re done you can just tie the bag up and go! It’s just like getting rid of a dirty nappy. Everything is nicely clean and hygienically contained, no yucky used potty to sort out or stash somehow.

The liners cost around £10 for 30, which may be a bit pricey for some but I’m willing to pay for the convenience. And since we try to encourage Little Miss to use the toilet wherever possible we’re still only on our second pack of bags.They have an absorbent, fragranced pad that turns liquid to gel. It’s claimed the bags, which do feel thicker than your standard plastic bag, are leak-proof and I’ve yet to have proof to the contrary. Apparently they also make good travel sickness bags should you need them! And they are biodegradable so they are not as bad for the environment as you might think.

‘Get the frogs wet’

Perhaps the most important thing about the liners is the frog holding an umbrella print! We use this as encouragement… Little Miss loves to ‘get the frogs wet’! Overall she has never once complained about using the Potette Plus so I’m, assuming it’s fairly comfortable – she’s used it for plenty of alfresco wee wees! Thankfully the girl has had the good manners to have never needed to poo on it! But in general it’s been a really useful thing to have, especially for trips to the park and long car journeys.

One thing I would say is that in the early days, when the toddler is new to toilet training and you’re still getting to grips with how the Potette Plus works, it’s easiest to have the potty set up ready to go before it’s actually needed. That way you’re not having to fiddle around unfolding it and sorting the liner at the crucial moment.

2-in-1 greatness

Potette Plus as toilet seatThe big bonus with the Potette Plus is that it can also be used as a toddler toilet seat, which is how we’ve used it most. It’s made the transition to using ‘big’ loos out very easy. Little Miss feels secure and the sides make a handle of sorts giving her something to hold on to. It does also mean that if the loos look a bit dubious she barely has to touch anything other than her own seat, which feels more pleasant to me.

Minor niggles

The only negatives, and these are little niggles that aren’t enough to diminish my love for it, have been that the ‘travel carry bag’ that came with it lasted only a couple of months before splitting. It was, essentially, just a thick, plastic draw-stringed carrier bag. Ours is now fashionably stowed in an M&S carrier! Not a big deal but something more durable would have been better.

And I would say there is a knack to clicking the legs in and out that some people pick up quicker than others. Annoyingly, my husband got it straight away. I found it a bit of a fiddle to start with and some of the less favourable reviews I’ve read were because of this. I will admit there have been a few occasions when I’ve cursed the legs for not immediately complying as I’d like but we’re talking a few seconds of faff and the pros of the potty far outweigh any momentary strops I might have with it!

I do also wonder if bigger children might find it a tad on the small side. Little Miss is quite petite so this hasn’t been an issue for us but we’ll see with Little Mister as he will definitely be much taller and more sturdy when he reaches her age – he’s on the 91st percentile for weight and 98th for height.

But so far the Potette Plus 2-in-1 travel potty gets a firm thumbs up from us. It’s proved a very sound investment, if toddler toilet gadgets can be described as such! I would definitely recommend it. It certainly made getting out and about during those earliest nappy-free days feel far less stressful than it could have been.

For those who like to co-ordinate, it’s available in several different colour combos: light blue/dark blue (we have this one), pink/purple, green/blue, white/light blue.

You can find out more and watch a video of how it works on the Potette website.

For more on how potty training went in our house the following posts might be of interest:

A relieved mum’s top 10 potty training essentials…

A tale of two potty triumphs!

Fanfare for a poo!

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Categories: Reviews, Toddlerdom | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

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!
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Categories: Motherhood, Things I've learnt..., Toddlerdom | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

A tale of two potty triumphs!

I did have a different title ready for this post but Little Miss excelled herself tonight and repeated the feat I was expecting to write about… in case you haven’t already guessed, she’s now done her first two wees on the potty!

We’ve been taking a slowly-slowly approach to toilet training. Officially we haven’t really started at all yet, we’ve just been trying to encourage her to take an interest in it. We bought a potty and trainer seat back towards the start of the year, to get her used to having them around the house and sitting on them before she has her bath each night. To start with she really wasn’t that keen – she cried the first time we sat her on the toilet seat! Then she became quite happy sitting on them but it was all just a bit of a game to her.

A tale of two potty triumphs

Now, though, she seems to actually be aware of what she’s doing. Friday night saw the first momentous occasion of a wee in the potty and what made it all the better was that she initiated it herself, asking to go on the potty. In fact, as I took her nappy off before her bath she was getting quite twitchy and wanted me to hurry up as if she knew she needed to go. I had an inkling, somehow, about what was going to happen and sure enough hubby was soon yelling excitedly from the bathroom and praising Little Miss like she’d brought the winning lottery ticket home (we wish!).

It’s amazing what you can get excited about when you become a parent. We both stared proudly at the little puddle of yellow in the bottom of the potty. I was even going to take a photo but hubby persuaded me that was taking things a bit too far!

Way back in November last year, when I’d only just started this blog, I wrote Fanfare for a poo! a post about the first time she told us she had done a poo in her nappy. This is a whole new level of toilet-related pride! And it doesn’t appear to be a lucky fluke since she’s repeated her latest trick again before tonight’s bath – cue more warm fuzzy mummy feelings.

Less easily pleased, Little Miss has seemed a bit worried to start with on both occasions – I suppose it must all feel a bit strange. But she soon laps up the praise when she realises everything is ok – tonight she even gave herself a round of applause!

We plan to stick to our somewhat relaxed approach to toilet training, rather than try and get ahead of ourselves and force things too quickly. I’m sure Little Miss will let us know when she’s ready to move to the next stage so we’ll just look out for her cues – it’s much less stressful that way too and I’m more than happy to give ourselves an easier life for now.

What has helped, though, has been our toilet-training kit as pictured. The key items we bought, way in advance of expecting her to do to much with them, have been a potty (of course!), a trainer seat and a step all made by Tippitoes – nothing fancy, just basic, practical designs that had good reviews on Amazon (incidentally, we also had the Tippitoes mini bath when Little Miss was tiny and loved that too). Then we’ve got two books: one for us, called Potty Training Girls, by Simone Cave and Dr Caroline Fertleman, and one for Little Miss called Princess Polly’s Potty, which includes a ‘hooray’ noise button for little ones to press. There are also boys’ versions of both of these.

Super Busy Mum

Categories: Mummy memories, Toddlerdom | Tags: , | 19 Comments

Fanfare for a poo!

Potty2A momentous thing happened two nights ago. I never thought this was a topic I’d get  excited about, let alone write about, but I’m feeling very proud of my little lady so can’t help it. To cut a long story short, it was the first time my 19-month-old told me she’d had a poo in her nappy!

We were sitting down together relaxing after dinner when suddenly, out of nowhere, she turned to me and a little bit sheepishly said ‘poo poo’. There was something about it that made me think it might not be a false alarm, though I still half expected it to be. I started to wonder if I’d misheard and she’d said ‘choo, choo’ as we live close to a railway line. But there was something in the way she said it that made me think not. Trains are usually heralded with much more excitement. Anyway, a quick mummy sniff proved suspicious but inconclusive so we checked her nappy and it turned out that the poo was indeed very real! Cue much praise from mummy and a warm glow of pride, followed by the  realisation that she really is growing up now.

The little milestones seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment. Every day she seems to grow in confidence and want to be that little bit more independent. There’s a daily stream of new words, or at least attempts at them. Anything we’re doing she wants to try to do.
She suddenly seems to be more a little girl than that tiny little baby.

Anyway, without wanting to get too far ahead of ourselves, she has repeated the feat once since then so I’m thinking I need to add reading up on potty training to the ‘to do’ list.

Anyone got any tips to get us started?!

Categories: Motherhood, Toddlerdom | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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