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.




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