(Disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, please see my about page for more information)
It’s a big step in any little person’s life. It’s a big step for any parent too! The day your child decides to ditch the nappies and embrace the porcelain throne is a day that is filled with both excitement and dread. But…very rarely does this transition happen over night. It certainly hasn’t for us. For a few months Little Bean has shown a lot of interest in the toileting habits of her friends and relatives. And the dolls now I come to think of it. But it has only been in the last month that she has felt comfortable actually using the toilet, thanks in part to seeing her cousin taking this big step. However, I believe that all the interest and small introductions to using the toilet that came before played a big role in where she is now. So in this post, part one of four (or maybe more), I hope to layout what happened in what I think was the first stage in Little Bean’s journey to toileting independence.
As I said, Little Bean has been interested in all things toilet for a few months. It was maybe at about 14 months that she started to use words related to toileting, like pee pee. They weren’t connected to her own needs, but those of the people around her. So, I would come back from the toilet and she would announce “Mummy pee pee.” Yes, thank you Little Bean. She also wanted to join us in the toilet and started taking note of the routine, use the toilet, wipe, flush, wash hands, etc. It was at 16 months I decided to buy a potty. My thinking was that, because of her interest, she might soon want to start experimenting herself. The potty was bought (I got the BecoPotty from BecoThings by the way, it’s made from plant fibres and is biodegradable, yay) and I explained that this was for Little Bean to go pee pee on. She seemed to understand the concept. I kept it in the bathroom to begin with and when I went to the toilet, she would sit on the potty. She would go through all the motions, sitting down, wiping with toilet paper, washing and drying her hands, without actually taking off her nappy. But this seemed like a good start and I didn’t want to put any pressure on her. The whole time I have tried to follow Little Bean’s lead, let her go at her own pace.
Pretty soon she started asking to use the potty. This was when I bought some pants for her, around 18 months. She was in pants when we were in the house and nappies whilst sleeping or out and about. The potty also started to follow us around the house instead of just being in the bathroom. We had a lot of accidents in those weeks! I think we maybe caught a pee in the potty twice in two or three weeks! And she was adamant that she was definitely NOT going to poo in the potty. If she needed to go poo and I suggested doing it in the potty she would get really distressed. So I would put a nappy back on her. But throughout all of what seemed like this disastrous time, Little Bean was learning about her body and what it felt like to need to go and what it felt like immediately after…wet! However, after a while, she stopped even telling us when she had wet herself. She lost all interest in the potty, in the toilet and anything to do with them. So we went back to nappies and decided to leave it a few weeks.
This whole stage I found exhausting. It felt quite labour intensive, especially as the house is almost entirely carpeted! But I think it was an important starting point for Little Bean, and as she showed interest I wanted to be able to provide opportunities for her to explore the concept. We have come a long way since then but we are still on this journey, she is certainly not independent with the toilet yet. Come back later for what happened next!