A few weeks ago we found ourselves with not much pencilled in the diary so thought it might be the perfect time to begin potty training. We've been suspecting that kiddo might be ready for it for a while now and luckily when we told her it was time, she was really enthusiastic about it.
So far we've only had less than a handful of accidents (mostly in the first day) and it has all been progressing far more smoothly than I had anticipated! As every child is different, I didn't want to share my tips.... especially as I think our success was mostly related to waiting until we were sure she was ready. Instead, I wanted to share some of my top products that have really helped us on our potty training journey.
As with anything, preparation is key! We have found that potty training doesn't need to be expensive though and you can pick up almost everything you need from bargain shops or in the sales. Our one costly purchase was the cow shaped travel potty but so far it has absolutely been worth it's weight in gold!
So, here we are. Our top 10 potty training essentials....
A potty is the most obvious thing you're going to need, yes?! There are so many options available out there, including ones that sing songs, light up and spew out treats when your kiddo has been successful on the potty! We much preferred the bog standard option though.... cheap, sturdy, comfortable and reliable.
We picked up the Disney Frozen potty and toilet training seat from Home Bargains for just a few pounds. They do the job perfectly and Miss E loves that they both feature her favourite Disney characters!
2. Portable/Carry potty
The 'My Carry Potty' might just be one of the best purchases we have ever bought. This potty training solution is completely compact and portable. Perfect for out and about, especially if you are a family who like to take long walks! In the first few weeks of potty training we have taken it everywhere with us and it has been a complete lifesaver. The potty has a leak proof seal so you can just close it and go, knowing that the contents are not going to leak out whilst you find a toilet. It's easy to clean and very sturdy. We love it!
Your local library will most likely be crammed full of books on this topic but if you're looking to buy a special one then I really do recommend Princess Polly's Potty (there's also a Pirate Pete version for boys). We received this for Christmas and it's really well illustrated and very easy for small children to follow/understand. Miss E loves pressing the button which enthusiastically cheers!
Stock up on your child's favourite treats and keep them as a reward when they have successfully done the business. Stickers, pocket money toys, small sweets, etc.... Something that is seen as a real treat! Chocolate is the way to Miss E's heart so we've been using Milky Way Magic Stars after every successful potty visit. It has worked amazingly well and is a real incentive for her.
5. Night Time Pull-Ups
We didn't want to go in head first with the potty training so we haven't been rushing night time dryness just yet, especially as Miss E hasn't been sleeping well recently. Amazingly, most nights are dry now anyway thanks to using night time pull-ups instead of night time nappies. We tell her they are special night time pants. These ones from Huggies are decorated with Disney characters to make them super special! They are just the thing when it comes to transitioning from nappies to underwear and lessen the stress of succeeding with everything all at once.
6. Fun underwear
Don't underestimate how many pairs of pants you'll get through in that first week or two! We have a small basket filled with fun underwear (pants, vests, etc) with Miss E's favourite characters on which we purchased from Primark, M&S, Disney Store, etc. Miss E loves picking out which ones she's going to wear. Buy lots, buy cheap.... you won't regret it!
As with underwear, we stocked up on cheap pairs of leggings for use in those first few weeks. Next and supermarkets are great for these, you can pick up a pair of leggings for just a few pounds. Leggings are superb in terms of comfort, getting them off easily and they also wash/dry really well. Again, buy lots and buy cheap!
One tip I received from a lovely lady on twitter is to use a timer in the initial stages of potty training and make visits to the potty into a sort of game. We found this worked really well! We set the 'potty clock' for every 20 minutes or so at first and gradually increased the time as Miss E got used to using the potty. She can now last a good few hours at a time now and knows when she needs to 'go'.
An odd one but a good one! I got this tip from one of Brummy Mummy of 2's Youtube videos (thanks so much!) During those first stages there will be accidents (probably lots) and it's not something that anybody really enjoys cleaning up.... especially in the car seat (which is a complete bugger to clean at the best of times!). We picked up a pack of puppy pads from Poundland, they are great for lining the car seat if you're about to embark on a long car journey in those first few weeks. We've never had any accidents so far but v reassuring knowing it's there!
10. Fun hand wash
Lastly! Hand washing is a boring task if you're a small child so little touches like a special hand wash just for children will help keep things fun and interesting. I love this Mickey Mouse shaped lemonade scented hand wash which you can pick up from Amazon. It's ace!