You’ve all heard of baby-led weaning, you may have heard about baby-led potty training (but the less said about that, the better I think), but I’m going to tell you about toddler-led potty training.
I know, I know, I said I never wanted to be one of those mothers than talks about wee, poo and nappies, so I’ll try to get it all out in this one post. Excuse the pun.
My twins, have a developmental delay, due to the fact they stopped growing in the womb at 32 weeks and were born premature with a low birth weight. This was down to me having a rare but serious condition in pregnancy, called HELLP Syndrome. I wasn’t diagnosed until 36 weeks, when the twins were born, and the pair of them (and me) were very lucky to survive at all. I knew they would have approximately an 8 week developmental delay and I wasn’t too concerned when this turned out to be more like a 3 month delay. They were late meeting all their NHS milestones, but I wasn’t bothered. I knew my babies would catch up in their own time. I was in no hurry to rush them.
So when the idea of potty training came up, I got two chair-style potty’s from a kind lady at twins club, put them in the corner of the living room and left them there for a few months. That was it. I didn’t do anything else.
The twins are now 2 years and 9 months old. They are still behind on their speech, but they seem to be rapidly catching up on their other milestones. The NHS milestones for potty training are actually very reasonable and potty training is listed as being from 1.5 years old to 4 years old. So we are by no means, in a place to worry about this milestone yet, although it would be nice to save money on nappies.
Bunny potty trained the week she turned two. It took us 3 days, to go from nappy, to potty, to toilet, as we used the Gina Ford book about potty training in one week. Bunny was a fast learner and she got it in three days. I wasn’t so sure when the twins would be ready, but I did think it would be nice if we could get them potty trained before they turn 3 years old. They recently started nursery and we wondered if they might copy some of the potty-trained children there.
So when we go to the toilet, we tell the twins where we are going. When we change their nappies, we point to them and tell them if they have done wee or poo. The twins aren’t very vocal yet, they only say a few words and we wanted to test their understanding and see if they know the difference between those two bodily functions and find out if they are aware of when they do either one in their nappy.
As we are in no hurry and we want to be sure the girls are ready, rather than potty train them, we thought we’d wait and let them potty-train themselves. Sounds crazy maybe?
Well last week, quite randomly, Fluffy whipped off her nappy, sat on the potty and did a wee.
We praised her, showed her what she had done, told her she was a clever girl and gave her a clap. Her beaming smile showed us how proud she was of herself and she clapped too, which showed us she understood.
Yesterday and today, the twins have whipped off their nappies and weed only in their potty’s. Both of them.
One of them, also dropped a solid (I hate the word poo) into her potty. Unfortunately I don’t know which one as I was clearing away the lunch plates when they did it. When I came back in, I asked who did it and they both put up their hands. Not only had they used the potty, but they had used a baby wipe, to wipe their own bottom, so I had no evidence to work out who it was. So… I just told them they were both clever and gave them both a clap. They both beamed with pride over the turd that one of them had done.
So what next? Well… I’ll let them decide. This has begun as toddler-led potty training and so it may as well continue to be led by them. Once they’ve been doing this a few days, we’ll try going out with big girl pants on and see what happens. I’m not sure they’d tell me they need to go, without a potty in front of them, but we are going to take this at their pace, not ours. I think they’ll nail it before their 3rd birthday!