[Potty Training] 11 More Tips for Early Success
As promised, here are more tips for early potty training success. There’s really no definition for “early”. Personally, I prefer to have my kids on underwear by around 2 years old, at least when awake. The reasons for early potty training have been mentioned in 18 Sure-Fire Tips for Early Potty Training Success. Of course, you may have your own preference.
The tips below are more for toddlers aged 1 to 3 years old. Older preschoolers aged 4 to 6 years old may need other (more “aggressive”?!?) methods to accelerate progress.
1. Set no expectation: Without an expectation on Vee’s progress, I avoided disappointment and frustration. We simply moved a little week by week, and enjoyed each progress. (This “no expectation” attitude actually applies to many aspects of bringing up a child.)
2. Choose suitable diapers or training pants: These are the main choices for potty training:
- Cloth diapers or training pants with feel-wet fabric, with waterproof layer
- Cloth diapers or training pants with feel-wet fabric, without waterproof layer
- Regular underwear
(Note: I left out disposable diaper or pull up pants from the above because the ultimate goal is to help the child wear only regular underwear, so she needs to get used to wearing cloth next to her bums.)
Just in case you were wondering, training pants are optional for potty training, especially if your child is already on feel-wet cloth diapers. You may progress from cloth diapers straight to underwear, like how our parents and grandparents did it.
And if you’re looking into getting training pants, there’s a small section on how to choose suitable ones at the end.
3. Observe progress then decide when to go diaper-free: I want to minimize wet messes (and frustration), in case Vee-the-super-heavy-wetter pees on toys and mattresses that can’t be cleaned easily. So from 7 months old, he has been wearing modern cloth diapers while being potty trained.
To accelerate success at the last lap during the day, I let him wear thin cloth diapers and non-waterproof training pants. Once he pee-ed, they’d leak and wet the floor, giving him a shock. After 2 very wet accidents, he started telling me consistently before pee-ing. Then we were finally confident enough to go diaper-free. The key is to observe when the child is almost ready.
4. Try different toileting options: A child who doesn’t like the potty may be excited at using the “big” toilet like Mummy. At different locations, I let Vee pee in the potty, on a toilet seat, and portable potty. I let him pee sitting, while hubby prefers to let him pee standing. This way, he’s also very versatile wherever we go.
Potty training when outdoors…
5. Visit the toilet before the next destination: This prevents accidents while in the car or public transport. Sometimes, we still forget and have to stop somewhere convenient to let him pee. Oops!
6. Have a portable potty in the car (or even diaper bag): We love to use Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus*. Once, we were driving along the Singapore-Malaysia highway and Vee needed to POO. We stopped at the nearest rest station, pulled out the portable potty and he poo-ed while sitting along a corridor! The toilet was too far away. It was a hilarious sight indeed.
Potty training for naps and overnight…
7. Visit the toilet as part of bedtime routine: Vee takes up to an hour before falling asleep. So if he has a big bowl of soup for lunch, he may pee up to FOUR times before nap!
8. Before waking your child up to pee, consider her sleeping pattern: Vee’s a super light sleeper. Sometimes, he wakes up to request for a diaper change after he wets himself. That abruptly marks the end of his nap or he’d need 1-2 hours to fall back to sleep again! This is no fun at all. So I don’t wake him up to pee, and let him wake up by himself or hold till morning.
If your child sleeps well, then you may try waking her up to pee at night. A suitable time is when she shifts from deep sleep to light sleep cycle, and starts stirring.
9. Place a protective layer on mattress:
- When wearing diaper / training pants that is expected to leak in case of accident:
In the earlier stage of nap / night-time training, I reduce the absorbency of Vee’s cloth diapers. We use a soft waterproof mattress protector (by BabySafe) under the bedsheet.
On his bed, he sleeps directly on a piece of water-resistant fleece blanket folded into several layers. (I bought this from Aussino.) It’s much easier to change and wash the fleece blanket than the entire bedsheet, especially at night. Do note that sleeping on fleece feels slightly warm, so it’s more suitable in an air-conditioned room.
- When wearing only underwear:
In the later stage of nap / night-time training, Vee wears only underwear to bed. To protect the mattress, we use a super-absorbent bed pad, such as Brolly Sheets reviewed here.
10. Limit fluid intake before bedtime: I decreased Vee’s milk intake from 1 to 1/3 cup before bed; and increased it during snack time. He gets some bread during supper to last him through the night. This has successfully helped him wake up dry on some mornings.
11. Expect regression and deal with it positively: Vee regressed just after Baby Jae arrived. He pooped twice on his diaper (without waking me up) and pee-ed once on his highchair. Of course, I was upset at first and spoke to him firmly after these incidents. Upon reflection, I realised he needed more attention from me, so I ensure he gets sufficient attention during the day.
How to Choose Training Pants
Nowadays, there’re many types of training pants or cloth diapers that can double up as training pants. These are some factors to consider:
- Feel wet fabric: It’s important to let your child feel wetness and discomfort to wish to progress from wearing diapers. Generally, cotton and bamboo feel wettest, followed by microfleece, then suede cloth.
- Suitable absorbency: For daytime, underwear-like training pants with extra layers of fabric in the wet zone is appropriate. For nap and overnight, having the option to stuff additional inserts would be good.
- Fits well: If the training pants are too loose, the rise is too long or thigh circumference too big, leaks are more likely to occur. It should also fit comfortable on your child.
- Easily pulled up and down by adult and child: Ideally, the training pants should be pulled easily by your child when she needs to use the potty. This also depends on her motor skills development. For instance, Vee was day potty trained before he could pull his pants down. It took another few months before he could pull them up. That’s one reason why we could skip training pants and move straight to underwear.
- Waterproof or water-resistant layer: This helps to keep moisture away from sofas, beds, wooden floors, etc. PUL and TPU are commonly-used waterproof fabric; while fleece is water-resistant. More important for outdoors, nap and overnight, less for daytime so that you know immediately when your child pees.
- Attractive colour or design: Depending on the child, she may want to wear attractive training pants and not wish to wet them.
All right, that’s all for now. When Vee’s 100% potty trained for naps and overnight, we’d share more with you. All the best to you in your potty training journey!
P.S. Do share your potty training tips in the comments box too.
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