Monday, 25 February 2013

Nappy Free!

I know this may not seem exciting for lots of you out there but we are now completely nappy free!
I have been changing nappies for the past 9 and a quarter years so with our youngest dry, both day and night feels like quite an achievement.  I think it signifies the end of the baby days, as we enjoy raising up the children we have and moving onto the next stage.  This is how we did it.
Life has been so busy its been really hard trying to carve out the time to start toilet training our last child but during the new year break, we decided to just go for it, as there would never be a perfect time.  I think you need at least 2 weeks to devote to it.  Week 1 is intense, week 2 eases off and week 3 is ok.  Knowing its the right time - well, I think that's different for each child.  We knew he was ready as he was aware when he wet/dry and would want to be changed as soon as he wet himself.  He would say he was doing it.  He would also be dry during waking from the night. 
Day 1 & 2, we took off the nappy so he was bare below.  We had a day at home playing and when I could see him about to go (look uncomfortable or hold himself).  I would place him on the potty and praise like mad.  He had a jelly tot or chocolate star as a reward.  I tried to encourage him to drink lots but he is a bit like a camel.  With the others I offered juice as an encouragement but L only likes water so this didn't work.  I purposefully don't keep asking. I only ask or suggest to him when I can see him looking uncomfortable.  L also has the ability to hold for a good couple of hours so I didn't really have the constant worry of accidents and he only does a poo once a day.  At this point, during the night I still placed a nappy on him.
Day 3 & 4, we introduced pants.  He loves his pants and an accident in his pants really upset him as it meant his pants would be taken away.  I think pants gives the security of a bit like a nappy so I would expect at least one accident.  I don't take them off straight away as I think its good for them to feel uncomfortable as it creates a desire to stay dry.  Pants are also a different skill to master, pulling up and down.  At this stage, if he had an accident I could see how upset he was and I would just say never mind we can try again.  Also with boys, potties are not always a great design. This is because if his willy is not pointing in the right direction, he can just wee all over the floor/clothes even though he has done all the right steps.  It can be frustrating but this is not his fault as he's done everything right. 
Day 5, we were fully dressed and out and about.  I took the potty around with me as this had familiar comfort.  I think because he had the ability to hold it meant I didn't have to constantly worry and I just timed the toilet with the others ie right we're going out now, toilet time and because his brothers were all going he would too.
He started to become really nervous about doing a poo.  I think the look and smell scared him and he didn't want to do it.  To overcome this we talked about it let him see other family members poos and that it was ok.  He got 2 sweets for a poo and got to wave it goodbye when we flushed it don the loo.  If he had an accident it was normally a poo one so he just needed lots of reassurance as this was just fear.
We are not brilliant at being consistent so after about 2 weeks we had stopped giving out the rewards as we had forgotten about them and unless he specifically asked we just let this go.  After all, going to the toilet is a normal thing.
After 2 weeks I knew his toileting pattern and whether or not I needed to take the potty out with me.  If he had an accident at this point - I would tell him off as I know he is capable of doing it.  I wouldn't tell him off in an over scolding away but let him know it is not desirable. 
At 4 weeks we introduced the toilet.  This is harder as he can't quite sit on this unaided.  This encouraged him to say wee wee or poo when he wanted to go (previously he'd just take himself off to the potty).  He was afraid of sitting on the seat but we just persisted.  We stayed with him, cuddled him and assured him it was ok.  We weren't over positive just normal voice and tone, showing him we were in control.  After about a week his confidence really grew.  I always train my boys sitting down first, just so they don't get confused about wee or poo.  I find the standing and weeing just comes naturally as they get a bit older.
The night times just took care of themselves.  He basically was just dry so it was a case of taking off his nappy.  He still has milk and we just take him to the toilet before he goes to bed at about 6pm and then he goes all the night through.  We are very blessed as potty training is not always this easy. 
He was easy to train, as he was ready for it.  We are quite relaxed about it, probably as its our 4th time of doing it so we know what is involved and have faith in what we are doing.  I would still take a change of clothes with me just in case as he is still young and all toddlers can get distracted.  L is 2 1/2 years old when we started training.  All we needed was a potty, a packet of jelly tots and little stars and lots of pants.  The potty we used for about a month before we   moved onto the toilet.  We just use our normal seat as the kids inlay doesn't fit with our seat design.  We did however go out and purchase a step so he could get up and sit down himself.  I still help him with the mechanics of dressing, the wiping of bottoms and would expect to do this for a while yet.
We've had different experiences with all our children.  Our eldest just 6 weeks after son number 2 was born, point blank refused to wear nappies and it didn't matter whether he was ready or not as he just wouldn't wear them anymore and would take them off if we tried.  It was hard work training him but this was more due to me not personally knowing what to do and hating the idea of clearing up from accidents.  I became more chilled as I became more experienced but I still hate it.  Son number 2, was the easiest to train and although he couldn't talk, he rarely had accidents from day 1.  He was 2 1/2 years old. I thought it would be a disaster as he had no speech but actually he had lots of understanding and motivation so it was fine.  It was quite a while before I tempted toilet training at night with my first 2 children as they were quite heavy wetters at night.  In the end, I just went for it.  No nappies at all, wet proctection for the beds, no more drinks after dinner and I would wake them around 10pm to toilet.  After a while we no longer had to wake them and they were fine.  Son number 3 didn't really show the usual signs of being ready but I was pregnant and wanted to get it out of the way before baby number 4 came.  This was harder as he wasn't motivated.  The first 2 weeks were more intense.  I bought special toilet training pants (never did pull ups as these are just nappies) and it took about a month before we were confident about going out.  It also took a bit longer to progress to the toilet but the nights were ok.  I think toilet training on your own terms is possible but be prepared to take a couple of weeks longer and have a few more accidents.  You have to be especially patient which is not always easy to do.
I remember getting lots of pressure from my mum saying you were trained by 18months etc but I think in the days of real nappies it was different and children were more aware due to the uncomfortableness, mothers were very motivated due to all the washing!  Nappy technology has moved on even in the re-useable.  I think it also depends on everyone's definition of potty trained.  My mum said at home I was dry but would put a nappy on for going out - to me no nappies at all is trained.
I don't believe there is a special easy method or age, as each child is different. Generally 2 and a half seemed to be our right age for our boys. There are lots of products on the market you can buy but aren't always necessary.  I would just do the basics first and if this doesn't work after a little while then try one of the products available. 


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  2. My son puts diapers around his legs and runs through the house, play on the playground with just the diaper on. And through all of that, they still work.