It's likely this will be our last toilet learning post. Otis has slipped seamlessly (and without fault) into night time toileting. We're at the end of our toilet learning journey. If you are at the start of your journey I have a few ideas and suggestions. Absolutely every child is different so we need to be flexible however your approach and your attitude are most important. It's not luck that Otis is toilet trained. We are very fortunate that he is healthy and that I am able to stay at home with him which helps. But what got him 'trained' was persistence, patience and consistency.
Our very first step in Otis toilet learning was to get him out of a nappy. Training pants were crucial in this process. Otis toilet learned in steps and this is a brief summary.1. DAY: TRAINING PANTS (AT HOME) NAPPY (WHEN OUT) NIGHT: NAPPY
During the day at home Otis consistently wore training pants. At night and when we left the house during the day he wore a nappy. While at home we offered him the potty and if he looked like he needed to go (we recognised the signs - mainly holding his pants) we took him to the potty.
2. DAY: TRAINING PANTS NIGHT: NAPPY
Slowly we transitioned to Otis wearing training pants everywhere during the day. The training pants he wore at this stage (from Michael Olaf but now discontinued) held so there were no puddles but Otis needed tending to immediately. At this stage he was still wearing a nappy at night.
3. DAY: UNDERWEAR (AT HOME) TRAINING PANTS (WHEN OUT) NIGHT: NAPPY
Slowly we transitioned Otis to wearing underwear at home and only wearing training pants when we left the house. The training pants gave us confidence that if Otis had an accident most of it would be caught - no puddles on the shop floor, but Otis and his clothes would still be wet. Otis was wearing Under the Nile Infant Training Pants (12-24 months). At this stage he was still wearing a nappy at night. This was the longest period of three to four months.
4. DAY: UNDERWEAR NIGHT: NAPPY
As Otis became more confident and regular at using the potty he transitioned to wearing underwear all the time during the day and wore a nappy at night.
5. DAY: UNDERWEAR NIGHT: UNDERWEAR
Otis became so confident going to the potty that at night he would take his nappy off. He transitioned to wearing underwear all of the time. He will sometimes use the potty at night but usually waits until morning. When he wakes in the morning he usually goes straight to the potty. I try to limit his fluids before bed but he still nurses before bed and during the night. I also ask him to use the potty before bed but he's stubborn and generally refuses.
As I mentioned we would offer Otis the potty when it looked like he need to go and before we left the house. Often when he wakes from his nap or returns from outings he needs to go to the potty straight away.
It was important to us that we remained (as much as possible) emotionally detached from the process. While I looked pleased when we had success it was important to us not to praise or punish. We also never pressured Otis. If he looked like he needed to use the potty but refused to do so, I would take his hand and try to lead him to the potty, if he still refused I would leave him and generally he would wet his pants. Then he would come with me to the potty to get changed/cleaned up. We never forced him to use the potty, we never used harsh words, threatened or bribed. If he wet his pants - he wet his pants, we just got on with it.
We have a step stool and toddler seat on our toilet which Otis has begun using. He uses the potty and the toilet standing and sitting. We have a potty in the car which I offered to Otis before he was able to hold for a decent period. On every outing I would offer him the potty when we arrived and before we departed. He rarely used it. Recently he has shown that he can hold and often uses public toilets (school, sports stadiums, shops), although he likes to remove his underwear, pants/short, shoes and socks and I will hold him while he sits on the toilet.
If you read through our Toilet Learning Posts you will know we've had up and downs and I've found travelling and finding us out of routine particularly difficult. There has been mess and lots of cleaning up. But now we're done at 22 months, it's completely worth it.
If you are at the start or in the middle of toilet learning, no matter which method you are using - I wish you the very best.
P.S. I've had some critical looks when Otis has had an accident in public. No matter the age of the child - young or old, please be kind to other parents.