Toilet Training at 18 months-are you insane?

At a young age, kiddiewinks become fascinated with the toilet. Loving to throw into the toilet anything they can get their hands on (mummy’s make up, their siblings toys, a toothbrush, anything goes). Another firm favourite, is putting their hands in the toilet, the down side of this is you can miss it in the blink of an Eye, delightful… Anywhere on average, from 18 months to three, comes the toilet training journey, alongside lots of jokes, and conversations involving poo and wee. Trumps become funny and “I need a poo”, or “come and wipe my bum please” become common place.

Both my elder kiddiewinks, showed signs of toilet training readiness  at around 18 months, but I didn’t completely foster their readiness; listening to comments such as “they are far too young”, “you are insane”, “it’s easier when they’re older”.  Nevertheless,  I began to recognise their signals, so we had some hits in the potty.

Kiddiewink One’s Story

At 18 months she showed real signs of toilet readiness but I was too much of a chicken to potty train an 18 month old in winter and she still seemed so young. (Advice from others was often, she is still so little). But she pulled at her nappy as soon as she had gone, so we properly introduced the potty(it had been around the house from around 12 months). She would go to the potty whenever she fancied it and she occasionally did something, sometimes she was just sitting on it fully clothed.

At two, as it coincided with the start of the summer holidays, she trained in a week, with no accidents at all after that. The first day with big girl knickers on, she didn’t have any accidents at all, weeing in her nappy at nap time, and then weeing in the bath(she had clearly held it in so long, the bath turned yellow). Day two consisted of a million accidents, but by day three she was happy to use the potty, the travel potty with the froggy liner on helped, she liked trying to get the froggy wet. I have vivid example memories of her sitting on the travel potty, on a bench, in the park. Soon into the potty training we realised the nappy had to come off at nap time, due to her holding all her wee until the nappy at nap time. This, KW1 thought was a great game, shouting “wee wee ” regularly so we had to get her and out her back on, grrrrr! By the end of week one she was completely dry, and within two months, we realised she was dry in the morning, and in her seven years, she has only wet the bed twice.

Kiddiewink Two’s Story

Little man was somewhat more stubborn.  Showing signs of being ready to train at 18months, crying to get out of the pool on holiday when he needed a wee, and pulling at nappy when he had gone. In hindsight, I really wish I had attempted it properly at that point,  as it was my lack of consistency that contributed to his stubbornness. Everyone told me 18 months was very young for a boy so I just continued letting him get ‘used to’ the potty instead of attempting potty training. He went from happily weeing occasionally in the potty, to refusing to go anywhere near it. Again, he could happily hold his wee in until nap time, and again wait for the bath, he was wearing big boy pants, and having no accidents but also not going to to the toilet.  After a few weeks of him refusing to go, I decided I would have to play hard ball. Yes, I know all advice is not to force them, they might not be ready. But he had been been bloody ready for over 6 months, and was taking the ‘piss’. Refusing to let him have a bath until he had a wee on the potty worked a treat, he muttered ok with a sad face, he sat down and immediately got up shouting “Bath, bath, bath”. I put him back on him and held him, he said “ok”, again with a sad face, and  promptly did a wee (a very very long one).After that, the next battle was that he insisted on using the toilet, less convenient when out and about, but he loved nature wees! Meaning when he started pre-school, he was totally toilet trained ( siting down to wee). After that it was plain sailing. He was 2 and a half, when he declared he was a big boy and didn’t need a nappy at a night! He was right! Again, minimal accidents.

Kiddiewink Threes story (so far…)

Now we reach the 18 month stage and my littlest kiddiewink has been pulling at her nappy and doing the nappy sign when she does a wee. With it being the summer holidays, and my kiddiewinks having my undivided attention, I am trying to get her interested in the potty. So far, it is going well, a poo and a wee each day in the potty, again she seems happier to hold it until nap or bath time, jumping off the potty before doing anything. The wee sensation seems to freak her a bit. Even waking last night at 8.30, shouting “nap o”, As her nappy was drenched. she did a little wee in the potty and then went down happily in a new nappy, luckily til 7.45am this morning. So far we have successfully done a poo every day, on the potty. A few times, she has gone and got the potty. The others has been down to me watching her closely, and putting her on when I thought she needed it, if she needs it, I have noticed she sits quite happily, and has a very different look in her face  (poo face). One was even at bedtime, when she wouldn’t settle. On the third time of going to her, I noticed she was doing the nappy sign, I asked her did she want the potty, she replied “yeh, nap nap o”. I put her on the potty, she did a mahoosive poo, and then she went to bed quite happily.

Do I dare go cold turkey with no nappies? Not on your nelly! Would that be quicker? Who know she?  who cares? I will not let potty training stress me out! We will go with her cues, nappy off when awake, progressing to big girl pants when we dare, and keep reminding her to try on the potty. Big perk of this is, we have less pooey nappies to wash! We are off on hollibobs soon, so will continue with no nappy there, watch this space…

My toilet training top tips

  • Go with the flow and try not to get stressed(clever little kiddiewinks know how to play to stress).
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself and them; it is a next step not a hurdle
  • Don’t be swayed by other people ( everyone has an opinion – too soon, too slow…)
  • Introduce the potty at a young age, just have it round the house.
  • Invest in some sort of travel potty, (Kiddiewinks love the novelty of weeing anywhere)
  • Lots of nappy free time, unless they get wet, they won’t know the sensation
  • There will be accidents, just wipe it up calmly and never get cross. As, Sadie at Fit for Parenting says, “shit happens”.
  • Nature wees are awesome (I drew the line when KW2 squatted on the school field and pooed)
  • Let them watch TV, play with a toy, anything to distract them from getting off.
  • Remember all children are different; some want the potty, some want the toilet; some are 18months, some are 3.
  • Still wearing a pull up at night at 5 is fine, it does not automatically mean they are lazy, or naughty, or that they have a medical issue. They say night time depends on their bladder! Some children are very deep sleepers, and the only accidents we had were when they were exhausted.




Child friendly Opticians are worth their weight in gold.

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Over the past three years Kiddiewink 2 has seen pretty much a different optometrist and ophthalmologist at every hospital appointment. Due to the differing rapports he forms with them (some are more child friendly than others), it is some times tricky to know if he is struggling with the test or just playing silly beggars! The care he has received has been fine but the continuity of care has been lacking somewhat! Getting an appointment I can attend has always been tricky too but we have a solution for that now. I wish we could see just a couple of different professionals, rather than a different one each time!

I also wish , now he is nearly five, he could go to our local optometrist ‘Wendy Diddams’; it was Wendy that prescribed both mine glasses , and by the time the hospital referral came through, they had happily been wearing glasses for awhile .We are hopeful that the early detection (8 months) with our youngest Kiddiewink means she will possibly avoid patching.

All my children love going to the opticians -‘Wendy diddams ‘ and all of them react far more positively in the warm and friendly environment, than a sterile unwelcoming environment. The continuity of care is brilliant and they know all of my children well! My eldest gets plenty of attention so she doesn’t feel left out and the sweets are a big hit! My eldest is actually the only one that Wendy tests at the moment due to her age. With her being a child specialist, I just wish the hospital would ‘release’ my children from all but annual checks. It is the frequency of the hospital visits that is draining and surely it would be more cost effective for the NHS for all my kiddiewinks to be checked locally. My kiddiewinks are happier and more relaxed, and the whole experience is a pleasure rather than a stress and hassle.

What I think matters when choosing  an opticians...

  • The more local the better; visits may be frequent with breakages, adjustments, scratches.
  • Find some one who likes and understands about fitting and sizing glasses on kiddiewinks , particularly if you have tiny kiddiewinks!
  • Accept their advice. Yes little johnny might well like the Spider-Man pair, but they might not work for him and his prescription.
  • Go somewhere that you and they feel as relaxed and stress free as possible! 
  • Have the number on speed dial for when the childminder becomes convinced the baby has eaten the lens. (yes that actually happened!

We are so fortunate that we have a wonderful optometrist in the town where I live, Wendy Diddams specialises in children, and all the staff are amazing. Several of my colleagues, travel to my town to have their children tested at Wendy Diddams, and it is a well regarded practice within the local community. They understand what makes my children tick. Sharon, in particular, has a wonderful relationship with my little man. Making her laugh when he tries on the glasses, he knows exactly what he likes, and doesn’t like, and tells her as he sees it.

Nothing is too much trouble, and they are happy to source specific items for us. The prescription goggles we ordered through them are perfect and their knowledge of children’s glasses is vast. A welcoming and cosy waiting room (with sweets), means they are happy and well behaved (usually).

We have been known just to pop in and say hello, although now I am back at work, this happens less frequently, as its often my Mum that pops in for the adjustments. All the staff know her well now too..; The journey into glasses with children, can feel overwhelming at times, things change and change can be tough! Having a child friendly and reliable optometrist, makes the whole journey less daunting. And lets face it, if you are going to be going there frequently, (and you will be), it is much better for all involved if the children feel they matter, rather than simply the next patient/customer.


Thanks to Starwinkle Photography, for all all these amazing photographs. Lucy is wonderful with kiddiewinks.


Prescription goggles-are they worth it?

The first time he wore them

Mummy I can see” these were the words shouted by my four year old .after swimming underwater with his prescription goggles on!  Those four words made ‘prescription goggles’ for us, totally worth it.

Ordering prescription goggles

This was all a bit of a ball ache to be honest, but mainly because of mixed messages due to a change in legislation . Online retailers can no longer prescribe for children, and the cost at opticians seemed extortionate! If Kiddiewink 2 had been a mild prescription, we probably wouldn’t have bothered, but at +7, +8 and a crazy water baby we felt he needed them. Our local opticians ‘Wendy Diddams were amazing, as they always are, and ordered some in that would work for his prescription. One pair looked more ‘prescription’ than the other, and luckily the other pair fitted better, so he preferred them too.  


 They took a few weeks to arrive and obviously he didn’t see the benefit  until we actually went swimming. They were also somewhat more expensive than normal goggles too, which is frustrating but means he/we have really looked after them!

“Mummy I can see” priceless

Here is a video about why little man loves his goggles… Struggling to load the ones of him in the water but will update soon.

Little lady always wants to get in on the action too …


Kiddiewinks and Appointments

Over the last three years, kiddiewink 2 has seen a different optometrist and ophthalmologist each time. On Tuesday, little man had his three monthly check up and finally he saw the same person as last time. We have been moved to a Child Development centre linked to the hospital and it is so much better. Waiting area is brilliant for children, parking is vast and free. We always have a bag of snacks as the wait can be quite long.

Yesterday at his check, as usual, Little man wouldn’t speak at first (well for all of 30seconds). He was bothered he was due to have the drops that help check his prescription, this is not an experience he relishes so was a little down in the dumps. Instantly She cheered him up, explaining the eye drops were just like ice, as he likes ice, they were put in with no fuss or tears whatsoever. It helped that for the first time ever, it was the lady he saw last time, so she was straight away brilliant with him. All is good, he managed to do a little better than last time and his prescription we changed ever so slightly for the better. I was just relieved that he didn’t need patching again, those are words I really don’t want to hear again! 

Littlest lady has her next check in a week, fingers crossed she co-operates as she is a feisty monkey at the minute. She is still pretty good at keeping them on, but she flings them off in the car and sometimes the pram, if she is tired. Although the I believe they come off a little more for the childminder and my mum! If you ask her for them, she takes them off and hands them you, equally, she asks for them in the morning and after naps. Other kiddiewinks of her age are pretty interested in them at the moment, trying to talk them off. Surprisingly, she gets quite protective over them. Her script went from +11 to +9.5, hoping her results are positive this time too. She is somewhat more wilful than the others, so I sense if she ever needs patching we are buggered!
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Say it, don’t whine it…

Oh my goodness! Kiddiewink 1 has always had a tendency to whine and speak in a baby voice, when she is shy, wanting something, demanding something…

The fact is, it is just so bloody irritating. The older she is getting the more irritating it gets, then to throw in the attitude, blimey- she is one complex young lady! At the minute, she really is the ‘girl with a girl right in the middle of forehead’ (if any of you remember this rhyme)

I sense the teenage years are going to be interesting…

Tears and tantrums…

Why is it children know which buttons to press to get a reaction?

Why do they seemingly cry at the drop of a hat? 

 With parenting, comes stages and phases! Not all of them lovely and candy coated. 

 When kiddiewink 1 is in good form, she is an absolute delight and wonderful company; when she is ‘on one’ beware…

Kiddiewink 1 (nearly 7years old)is offering numerous challenges at the moment, mainly in that her attitude stinks! She speaks to us all like rubbish if the mood takes her and she has brief moments of being really mean to little man. If she doesn’t like the answer to something, she will persist on asking and asking and asking. Why do children assume the more often they ask and the whingier they get, the more likely they are to get it. She also cries at the drop of a hat, the slightest thing can bring her to tears (very toddlerish). Today’s list was; daddy sitting on the chair she had planned to sit on; not being allowed a club biscuit; being asked to give her baby sister a bit of space, her brother having a cuddle that was longer than hers.

Bless her, she is an absolute doting big sister,and, plays and looks after the other two beautifully. 

She just seems a bit sad at the minute and we seem to be in cycle of grotty attitude from her and nagging and ‘getting at’ by us  I think I need to find time to do something special with just her again. Making her feel loved, important and extra special.