By Jess Bovey.
Our nappy journey has been a long one. We now have a 2 year old and a 4 year old, both in nappy pants.
Before I was a parent, I made all these ridiculous claims like “I’ll toilet train my children as soon as they’re 2” and “I won’t let them be in nappies for ages”. Ha, I was so naïve to think that I would be the one to make the rules around here.
Baxter has other ideas.
I’d never even changed a nappy until I had Baxter. I remember having to change my first number 2 nappy, and it was a meconium one – that stuff is like tar! There was nobody else around and I knew I had to do it. I remember feeling petrified, this tiny body. I was scared I was going to break him. And here is at 4, jumping off the side of the couch and I am still scared I am going to break him (if he doesn’t break himself first).
He is at school next year and I am feeling a bit of pressure and anxiety about it all.
There is so much pressure on us parents to have their children reach certain milestones by a certain age or its deemed ‘not normal’.
As an adult, I don’t ever recall being asked when I stopped using nappies – I am sure you can see where I am going with this. It doesn’t matter. Yet, we still put so much pressure on ourselves.
According to the Ministry of Health, most children will be ready to start learning to use the toilet any time between about 20 months and about 3 years. Not all children are ready at the same age.
It also tells me to be calm and relaxed when your child starts toilet training, okay – well then it’s never going to happen because I am very rarely ‘calm and relaxed’.
I’ve done a lot of reading lately about how its worked for others, what’s deemed ‘normal’ as well as some tips on what we can do to make the transition a little easier on us (ha, let’s be realistic – no transition is easy).
Here are the most common tips I’ve come across (if you have any additions, let us know):
- Try during summer because there are fewer clothes to take off and it’s easier to get washing dry.
- Introduce trainer pants or underpants when your child seems ready, and help them to become familiar with the potty or toilet.
- A small box or stool can help children to climb onto the toilet and help boys be able to wee into the bowl. A smaller toilet seat can also help children to sit on the toilet.
- Take them to the potty/toilet at regular times. Give them enough time to try to go, but try not to leave them on the potty/toilet for too long.
- Praise works well. Reward your child for trying, and when they succeed, give them hugs, claps, stories or a star chart. We’ve tried bribery – everything we can think of, to no success.
- Children don’t always make it to the toilet in time when they are learning. Keep calm and don’t tell them off or punish them if they have an accident.
- Children learn by copying others. Some parents let their children watch family members go to the toilet (pretty sure they’ve done this since they were born, lol).
- Teach your child to wash their hands after going to the toilet.
What to do if your child starts wetting or pooing their pants again:
- This is especially common if something new is happening, such as a new baby in the house. It is normal and the right time will come, but if it does happen:
- Try to understand what caused it.
- Change your child in a calm manner and avoid telling them off or punishing them.
- Remind your child to go to the toilet, as some busy children forget.
- Praise them when they go to the toilet.
- Introduce fun things for when they use the toilet, like being allowed to choose the toilet paper at the shops or a star or sticker chart.
- They may need to go back into nappies for a while.
Nappies are one of those things that don’t necessarily work for every baby. What works well for your child, might be terrible for another. It is totally a matter of trial and error in my opinion.
We’ve been a Treasures family for a long time after trialing many others.
We’ve recently switched to the new Treasures care nappy pants. I’m a huge sucker for aesthetics so am a fan of the gender-neutral design. These pants are made in Poland utilising 100% sustainable energy. The open-nappies (the ones with tabs) are made in Te Rapa, New Zealand and have been since 1976!
Be kind to yourself on this journey, there is no right or wrong.
I hope these tips are helpful!
Jess Bovey is a social media marketing specialist, blogger, mum of two and founder of the successful Facebook group – The Mum Hub. Jess tells it like it is and believes in sharing the ups and downs of motherhood.