Parenting: What it's really like potty training a toddler with a mobile baby about!

                                                picture from pixabay

Potty training is a real adventure at any time for most first time parents. I certainly never expected the few false starts we had and how much extra work it seems to create, not to mention stress when you need to leave the house. But at 2 we, and the Little Inspiration more importantly, decided it was time.

We had read books about it and had potties around the house for months by the point of seriously trying, so we felt prepared to give it a go. I soon realised after a few little accidents that maybe we weren't quite ready and so we tried a different a tack.

We got the Little Inspiration to choose her own potty (we loved this Ladybird carry potty from here) and got a reward chart to help incentivise her. But we ended up putting the stickers directly on her potty as a more visual reminder.

It is true what they say to do it when they are ready because just a few months later she started asking us to wear her big girl pants and use the potty and it was all done and dusted within a week pretty much. A few weeks later we went without pull ups at night and we've never looked back.

Reading that it all sounds so easy and we were lucky in many ways but the reality felt much different, mainly because I also had a curious breastfeeding, mobile baby to take into consideration.

Here's how it really felt potty training with a mobile baby about:

- When potty training you never know if you'll walk into a room to find a puddle or worse on the floor. It's a real adventure! But with a mobile, curious baby, you cannot turn your back for a second for fear of finding their hands, feet, or faces inside said potty and mess. Or smearing the fun water(!) they've discovered around the room! Often the potties end up on his head as a sort of dirty protest hat. Dont' worry, they are cleaned thoroughly before hand but the fear that they'll find a dirty one and wear it as a hat is real! The horror! I have never moved so fast if I suspected the Little Inspiration had used the potty on her own, mainly to prevent the babt getting there first.

- When you're pinned to one place breastfeeding the baby, and the toddler bravely lets you know they really need the potty, you feel torn in two to prevent an accident (which damages their confidence) or preventing the screaming and crying of a baby's meal time interrupted. The result? You end up getting really good at feeding a heavy baby with one arm and wiping bottoms with the other. You look completely mental with a boob out, sweating profusely and contorting yourself, but it gets the job done. In fact I've discovered that having two babies close in age requires looking a bit mad pretty much as prequisite. 

- Going out is a whole new experience. Before lockdown, even a simple trip to the shops became an expedition, having to take spare pants, trousers and a potty everywhere we went. Many times the carry potty has been a life saver and has often been plonked at the side of the road for an impromptu wee or even in the passenger seat on a really cold day. Hearing the Little Inspiration call for the potty as we were out in the middle of town, or before I'd unloaded the car with double buggy and baby, resulted in a mad dash to get everything and everyone out, and run to the nearest toilet. Finding a toilet big enough for a double buggy, potty, baby and toddler was fun.... then discovering a big baby change unit (WINNING!) then the worst bit, when you realise that you need to go for a wee as well and there's NO FREAKING TOILET. WHAT?! (LOSING)

- There's always a spectator and we even got used to saying it's not a public event when the Little Inspiration was potty training, but of course to the baby us making a fuss and appluading was something he wanted to be involved in ALL THE TIME. Trying to squeeze me, a toddler, a potty and a  baby into our small downstairs loo is an act of contortion I have become used to dealing with, But there are times when you wish it didn't take a crowd of 3 to visit the toilet. The good news is we are forever bonded as its rarer than hens teeth that any of us (myself included) get to use the loo without the three musketeers witnessing this fun new spectator sport.

- The pros are the baby shows interest in potty training much earlier. Baby Inspiration has grown with a potty training and toilet trained toddler and so is really used to the drill and seeing potties about. He has shown interest in sitting on them from being very young but for my sake really, have decided to not pursue it too early as I would like a bit more time to prepare. Plus I have never potty trained a boy so suspect it will feel very different. Do they stand up or sit down? I also heard that a hormone is responsible for how ready they are to potty train and knowing the urge. That can come later to boys, so we'll wait until he is ready as well. When they are close in age, it will feel like seconds since you trained the first one and you'll still remember the extra work it creates (hence the point above)

How have you found the toilet training process? Did you have a little spectator along for the ride too?

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