What do you think about potty training?

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“You know we are potty training because every time I pee, my toddler screams, ‘YOU PEED ON THE POTTY? I’M SO PROUD OF YOU MUMMA!'” by @discourt (Twitter user)

When my first daughter turned 18 months, my mum advised me to begin potty training and as a new mum, it was not an easy task. It required lots of patience, making some mistakes and finding ways that would work. Even before my mum’s advise, I noticed my daughter would remove her wet diaper anytime she felt uncomfortable in it. So that was already my cue to start potty training her. And now, it’s quite similar with our second child. At 20 months, she seem ready to start potty training. Anytime I put her in her diaper, I see similar signs my oldest daughter showed. This is, thus, in my opinion, a sign for potty training to begin. Therefore, as parents with toddlers, research show that it is deemed appropriate to look out for signs of a child being ready for potty training.

So what is potty training? Potty training is the process of teaching a child how to use the toilet on their own, which means our young one no more depends on the diaper. Think of it as a transition from Diaper to Underwear.

Speaking to a centenarian on the best practices regarding how to potty train a child during their early days of motherhood.

These are some of the advice and experiences shared:

Back in the day, they used napkin. Diapers were not available.The napkin was worn when going out or when going to sleep. A child begun potty training even before 3 months!

A small chamber pot was placed under the child bottom when breastfeeding the child, so his/her feces and urine would fall inside directly.

It’s important to note that babies do not have control of their bowel & bladder movements at a very young age.

According John Hopkins Medicine. Children develop at different rates. A child younger than 12 months of age has no control over bladder or bowel movements. There is very little control between 12 to 18 months. Most children are unable to obtain bowel and bladder control until 24 to 30 months. The average age of toilet training is 27 months

Back to our centenarians experience: At 3 months, a baby is taught how to sit, making the process easy to begin to sit on the chamber pot.
Potty training begun quite early because of washing napkins had it downsides, plus they were quite expensive to maintain.

However napkins have not completely gone out of style. There are mamas and dadas around the world who still use diapers. They term it as “cloth diapering”.

However majority of parents use diapers, so the process of diapering, dressing and then switching to potty training is quite different from the centenarians experience. Potty training now start at a later age. Due to:

  1. The convenience of diapers and pull-ups
  2. Most parents views are aligning more with medical and scientific knowledge on when bowel and bladder movements can be controlled by a child
  3. Most parents have long hours at the work place, thus, they begin potty training later or the process take longer because they might only have the weekend to focus on potty training.

Now! Let’s dive into my experience speaking to some few Millenials on how they juggle potty training their babies and being career mothers.

Mimie- Accra
I started encouraging her to tell me when she wanted to use the toilet. Additionally, I would have her sit on the chamber pot first thing in the morning. It took us a while for her to get use to it and it was helpful when she did. And once she started using the chamber pot in the morning. It saved me time on having to have unexpected ‘poopoo’ breaks when we were in town.

With time, I bought the “Potty Training” toilet seat for her and that was also helpful. I wanted to get her a stool she could stand on so she was totally independent of me but unfortunately I couldn’t get a smaller one so I still have to assist her on each visit.
I think my mistake as a new mother was I kept putting her in a diaper. So she would go in her diapers sometimes. Now that we have stopped, she sometimes tell us when she wants to ‘wee wee’, but you know kids, she would sometimes just ‘wee wee’ on herself. Well, we are still working on that bit.

Bee – Accra
My son is 2 and half now. We started potty training at 2. Quite unfortunately, we didn’t start early. It was difficult at the beginning so eventually it became inconsistent.
But luckily, we got help from his school. They officially wrote to us that they were going to start potty training him, so less diapers when coming to school. I was happy because finally some help was coming from elsewhere.

Well, we’re still on it. He’s able to say “mummy I’ll weewee” , “mummy I’ll poopoo” . Other times he doesn’t express but rather, before I know, he is taking the easy route by just going on himself. So to prevent the extra work that it comes with, I put on a diaper based on how our day looks like, especially, if he has to be with relatives.

Interestingly according to most research publication, girls usually show interest earlier than boys and are quicker to get the hang of it (Source: WebMD.com).

Well, my experience was good. At first it wasn’t easy training her how to use the pot. When she started sitting down around 4 to 5 months, every morning sat her on the potty for her to ‘poopoo’ but she usually wouldn’t use. Sometimes for a whole hour. But once, I put on the pampers then she does it.
Sometimes, she would just ‘Poopoo’ once and that’s all. And sometimes when I put her on the pot, she would be crying.
However, we kept trying.

As she grew, between age two to three years, we wanted her to stop using the diapers. The solution was to put her in a diaper once a day and by this time she could tell you when she wants to urinate. So when she says she wants to urinate, I don’t allow her to do it outside, I sit her on the pot to do that.

Trying this too, was difficult, because sometimes she goes to urinate outside. Taking off her diapers to urinate or defecate was the help I received when she started schooling. They potty trained her.

Gradually, she got used to using the pot whenever she wants to attend to nature’s call. Currently, she goes for the pot herself.

Additionally, the challenge was that when she was a baby, I gave up at a point because it was stressful for the two of us. I think if I had persevered from the beginning she should have been used to it from infancy.

So to our new parents who are worried about when to start potty trainings. It’s okay to worry.

Here are some signs according to Mayo Clinic to begin potty training. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can your child walk to and sit on a toilet?
  2. Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
    Or my modified version, does your child pull down his/her wet diaper?
  3. Can your child stay dry for up to two hours?
  4. Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
  5. Can your child communicate when he or she needs to go?
  6. Does your child seem interested in using the toilet or wearing “big-kid” underwear?

If you answered Yes to multiple of these, your child is ready to potty train. If not, you might want to wait a little bit.

However, remember this as a parent, your child is unique and might respond differently to situations. Be patient, enjoy the good, bad and hard times. Always remember this “,You got this!” Lastly, don’t be ashamed to seek help.

Featured photo credit: www.summerinfant.co.uk