Over the past few days we have tentatively started our toilet learning journey.
We have used cloth nappies since Frida was three months old (you can read my guide to getting started with cloth nappies here) which provide a good basis for toilet learning, as they feel wetter so foster a connection between the act of toileting and feeling damp.
We also talk to her during her nappy changes and vocalise what is going on, for example “you’re wet so now we are changing your nappy, I’m going to wipe you so that you’re clean, now I’m putting on a nice dry nappy”.
Whilst I don’t think Frida is quite ready for us to ditch the nappies and move to toilet learning pants, I do feel that she is ready for us to start introducing a potty so that she becomes used to it.
I put her on her potty at times when she naturally might use the toilet – when she wakes up, before going out, and at every nappy change. There is zero pressure and if she is in a bad mood I don’t do it. The idea is that she learns to be comfortable sitting there and that she gradually gets used to the sensation of doing a wee or a poo outside a nappy.
I have given her a little basket of books and she seems to really enjoy sitting there. If she wants to get up we do so immediately.
I am trying not to make a fuss or emote too much – if she uses her potty then I am pleased but I don’t go overboard wth praise as I want her to learn it is a natural process rather than an amazing feat (and we hope to avoid using praise in our parenting – but that is a whole other blog post!) Similarly if nothing happens then it is absolutely fine. If she does use the potty then I explain to her what has happened.
I think it’s important for infants to start their toileting journey as soon as possible, and personally believe that in the UK most families leave it very late – it’s common to start when a child is two or even older. I had hoped to do Elimination Communication (EC) when Frida was a few months old but then sleep regressions got in the way. Although introducing a potty at ten months may seem early to some I actually feel a bit guilty that I have left it so late!
Frida is not walking yet but when she is doing so I will set up another potty area downstairs and then take it from there. It will probably coincide with summer time which seems like the ideal time to progress.
I am hoping that by introducing her to toileting now we will avoid some of the pitfalls of traditional “toilet training”.