How We Fully Transitioned Our Toddler From Nappies to Undies

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In my previous post on toilet training Miss A last year, I wrote that I “had visions of her still refusing to use the toilet at 3 years of age” after she had a toilet strike. Well, she is 3 now and I’m pleased to say that we have finally gotten her completely out of nappies!

Nappies

So glad to not have to see this packaging for a while now!

It has been a long journey getting to this point. We started at 5 months of age with putting her on the potty twice a day for poops. She took to this very naturally and gave us the pleasure of not having to change many poopy nappies since then. Then when she was about 1, we transitioned to using a child’s seat on the toilet. By 18 months of age, she could say “toilet” and tell us when she needed to poop, so we then transitioned to following her cue rather than just putting her on the toilet at set times throughout the day. After a while she naturally started asking to go to the toilet for wees too so we moved on to putting her in undies at home during the day.

At the rate we were going, you would think we would’ve been done with toilet training by the time she was 2 years old but it wasn’t to be. Even though she understood the concept of going to the toilet and wearing undies early on, it turned out to be quite a difficult emotional journey for her to fully transition to undies. She had lots of undies/toilet strikes throughout the next few months and she also turned out to have a crippling fear of using toilets at public places and even other people’s houses. This was even if we brought out the same child’s toilet seat she used at home. Using nappies at daycare also seemed to be a bit of a security blanket for her. We didn’t want to force the issue and have her develop any kind of negativity towards toileting so we ploughed through with switching back and forth between nappies and undies according to her cues for the next year.

Towards the end of last year, she started refusing to poop in her nappy when we were out (she used to if we were not at home). As she still wouldn’t use public toilets either, this equated to really big meltdowns crying to go home if she really needed to poop. So we got her a portable potty that she really liked and she started using it outside the house. This really helped her adjust to the idea of using public toilets (she would use her potty next to the toilet) and she started wearing undies outside the house. With this she also had to learn how to hold her pee and tell us in advance that she needed to pee so we could find a bathroom. However, she still wore nappies at night and at daycare at that point.

Bumblebee potty

Her bumbleebee portable potty!

Then, after she turned 3 she suddenly had a desire to be a “big girl”. One influencing factor was that at the beginning of the year she moved up to the 3-year kindergarten class, made lots of new friends, and started actually enjoying going to daycare. A lot of the kids in her class are toilet trained so I guess the peer pressure helped. One day we asked if she wanted to wear undies and use her portable potty at school and she agreed and actually did get through the whole day with no accidents. Then the next time we went out and she used her portable potty, some of her pee sprayed out and my husband managed to convince her the potty was getting too small for her. He told her that she needed to start using her child’s toilet seat on the grown up toilet instead and much to my surprise, she happily agreed to that. So from then on, she finally started using public toilets with a child’s seat. After that it was easy for her to make the switch to using her school toilets (which are kid size).

So at this point all we were left with were the nights. We were definitely not in a hurry to overcome this last hurdle because we were already over exhausted with a newborn as well as an old dog who occasionally barks to be taken down to pee at 4 am (we live in an apartment so it’s not as easy as opening up a door to the backyard unfortunately). But then, one night she absolutely insisted on wearing undies to bed. After a bit of arguing with her (because we weren’t ready for it!), we realised we shouldn’t pass up on her enthusiasm to be fully out of nappies and so my husband (bless his soul) agreed to wake her up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet to pee.

The first week, he did this twice a night to make sure she remembered she was in undies and not a nappy and wouldn’t automatically pee upon waking. Believe me when I say she screamed the entire time she was made to go to the toilet at night. The second week, he woke her once a night. And then…he gave up and decided to let her be and see if she wakes herself if she needs to go. The result was that we discovered that most nights she has no problems sleeping through and not needing to pee at night. Very very occasionally she does wake screaming bloody murder and I know it’s because she needs to pee but for some reason does not actually want to do so. Then I have to drag her screaming to the toilet…but thankfully this is not often.

Since having Miss E, we have also found it essential that Miss A learns to go to the toilet herself as I don’t always have a free hand to help her. So for pees she has been using a potty as it’s easier for her to access. It took a while but she is now perfectly capable of pulling down her own pants, peeing, wiping (we put a box of tissue next to the potty and she throws it into a bin), pulling her pants back up, and washing her hands at the sink with soap. Then when I have a free moment I just empty the potty. Her being able to pee on her own has been fantastic for the both of us. It has given her the freedom to go when she wants without me needing to nag her or help her, and it means I don’t have to stop to help her when I’m busy feeding Miss E or trying to put her to sleep. For poops Miss A still goes on the toilet and I still need to help her with that. I guess the final hurdle is her being able to use the toilet herself and go without a child’s seat…but there’s no rush for that.

So there you have it. That was our loooong journey to toilet training! I no longer need to buy nappies for two kids which is great because toddler nappies are not cheap! It is a relief to finally have Miss A fully toilet trained at an acceptable age (seriously, I was starting to worry!) and not having to battle her on this issue anymore. Now I just need to do this all over again one more time…

My previous posts:

How We Started Infant Potty Training

Toilet Training At 2 Years Old: An Update To Infant Potty Training

My Child Won’t Use Public Toilets: Try a portable potty!

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