Thoughts & Tips on Potty Training

Another flashback to my early parenting days, when I had JUST finished potty training my first child:

Now is time to sum up the weeks of potty training!!! Needless to say, I am NOT an expert… this is just my twopence worth. For (some) expert advice:

I think it is very important, that YOU are just as ready for potty training as the little one. Ultimately, YOU have to see it through. Just don’t leave it too late (see this bit of research: – too old and you will face new issues. Red Ted, btw is 23 months)

So… how was it? It was a slow start to potty training, things didn’t really start “happening” until after Christmas and then again after Daddy went back to work.

Lesson 1: Xmas may have been a bad time as there were lots of people around and far too exciting – so our expectations should have been set lower (doing it again, I probably would have still started at Xmas, as I had the support around me that I (!) needed, just expectations would have been different

Lesson 2: With both Daddy and me “watching” Red Ted, we both assumed the other was doing so and therefore missed toilet cues – I think it may be better if just one of you takes charge

Lesson 3: Daddy (bless him) finds it hard(er) to hide his pooh disgust –work really really hard to praise IMMEDIATELY after a successful potty event and to hide any yukky feelings

Top tips:

Tip 1: Go for it, drop the nappy completely. None of this – “I will just put one for the supermarket run” – so far (!) we have had NO accidents in the pram or car, just make sure you go on the potty before any outing and upon arrival at friends and family’s

Tip 2: Vary rewards for pees (there are so many pees, that a reward may get boring, eg we migrated from popcorn to stickers and will have to think of something new)

Tip 3: show the reward (i.e. Red Ted really “Got it” when he could see the cookie for a Nr 2) – I felt sorry for him, when he raced to the potty to get a Nr 2 out and couldn’t, so rewarded his efforts with a piece of cookie… though don’t fall for this manoeuvre more than once

Tip 4: reward instantly (even if it means a soggy biscuit in the bath or a delayed bedtime as biscuit is consumed)

Tip 5: take them with you, when YOU go to the loo (Red Ted likes to go on the “big” toilet, because he sees us go)

Tip 6: don’t stress or worry if it all takes a little longer, by all accounts several weeks is perfectly normal

Tip 7: stop worrying about “whether THEY are ready for it”, as yourself whether “you are ready for it” – I think it is VERY hard to ascertain that “exact” moment in which they are perfect for training – easy to start too early, but just as easy to miss it and start too late…

Tip 8: get a travel potty that combines as a toilet seat – Red  Ted loves going on the “big” toilet (see earlier posts re Potettes)

Tip 9: when the going gets tough keep going!! some books recommend a potty break, but I reckon it will cause more confusion as to what is expected of them… keep going, even if there seems to be no end in sight… it will come!!! (we briefly toyed with the idea of, did we do it to early, and then suddenly it was working!!)

I guess that it is from a non expert!

I should prob review this again in 3 months and then again 12 months… I am sure that there will be accidents and frustrating moments to come. But so far – almost 6 accident free days! Woo hoo.

Baby Led Weaning – Follow the Leader, Melon & Bananas

Here is a flash back to our life with Baby Led Weaning – it made feeding Pip Squeak and a Toddler at the same time SO much easier and Pip Squeak got used to different textures much more quickly than her brother did at the same age.

The key is to follow your instincts and watch your baby at all times.

When I was struggling to make the decision to do Baby Led Weaning, a friend made a really interesting observation/ comment: she has been bay led weaning her baby from the start. A friend of hers tried giving her 9-10month old some finger food (having seen how well the baby led weaning baby ate) and the older baby chocked and “sicked it all up”, much to her horror and dismay! The thought was: if you let them have finger food from small on, they learn to eat it – they learn to feel what it is like in the mouth, they learn to chew (with gums), they learn not too have too big a piece. The baby led weaning baby will at first lick, suck and push little pieces around.The older baby hadn’t learnt any of this. I am sure you can convert an older baby – you just need to take it slowly and watch them closely. Give them a chance to learn and not frighten themselves!!!

Will stick to pear, banana and sweet potato for a few days/ maybe a week (these were the first foods Red Ted had), maybe make them both some steamed apple slices and then let her explore some more.

Onwards and upwards!

Baby Led Weaning

I know they say that the whole thing about Baby Led Weaning is to follow your instincts, so you don’t really need any books or manuals. I subscribe to that. The only problem though, is that it takes you a while to figure out a few things:

  • Slippery fruit, leave some skin on – easier to hold and baby will gnaw around it.
  • All food should be at least 2inch long: gives baby something to grip with enough sticking out on top to suck.

Since doing these, Pip Squeak has really explored -carrot & boroccolli today. Melon yesterday. I know the photo inserted isn’t a “proper” BLW photo, as she is only sitting in front of food, but I had to just post it! As I think it is lovely **Proud mum**. She did have a good suck on the melon and the skin really helped.

What is REALLY interesting about BLW, isn’t just that Pip Squeak is happy, but that Red Ted ADORES having some lunch and supper with Pip Squeak. He just wants to feed her stuff and for her to have the same as him. He loves it. Two happy babies!

Guest post-The Nappy Mountain! (Part 1- Potty Training)

In  case you missed my Guest Post at baby budgeting:

I have been following Baby Budgeting for a while – what an “Ingenious” topic to blog on – after all Babies do cost a fortune! And all of us want the best for our children, providing them with as much nutrition, fun and experiences as possible! Thank you Baby Budgeting for all your ideas so far.

 Being a “little green” (note, the word “little” – I basically “try”), I was pleased to see the “Green Month” theme and even more pleased when I was “allowed” to contribute. There is one topic close to my heart, but I would like to submit two posts over two days which refer to it:

 The Nappy Mountain!


Photo curtesy of Kingston & Merton Nappy Network

 For first two years of your babies life, not only will you be using up over 5000 nappies, it estimated that these will cost you a minimum £800. Every additional half year will mean an approx extra 730 nappies at a minimum of £125 per 6 months! I think that these calculations erred on the side of “cheap” and minimum use. You will probably be spending more!

 There are two ways to help reduce costs and the impact on the environment. I will talk about one today and the other tomorrow….

 Firstly: Potty Training!

Out generation is encouraged by books, media, health visitors and (I don’t doubt) the nappy manufacturer’s to potty train our children later and later. Many families don’t even THINK about potty training until their child is 2.5 years old, let alone starting potty training at that age. And when they do, they frequently use the “half way” house pull up nappies.

 Now think: each month you probably spend at least £20 (optimistically cheap estimate!!). So every month you delay potty training, that is £20 pounds down the drain – in some cases children are trained 18 – 24 months later than it is possible (i.e. at 3 – 3.5yrs) – that is £360 – £480 wasted on nappies alone?! (not mentioning the cost of baby wipes or nappy bags).

 Our parent generation trained children around 18 months. Ok, this means the process is slower, more work and more infuriating, BUT if a child isn’t trained til 3.5yrs – that is at least £500 less spent by our parents.

 I potty trained mine just before his 2nd Birthday. It took 3 weeks (very boring) and we do still have accidents now (4 months later) – but this is normal. No one tells you this. Everyone tells you “we did in 1 day”, “we did in 3 days” – making you wait and wait and for “the right moment”. Some children will take 3 weeks regardless of when you do it. Some will do it faster. It is hard to decide when exactly is the right time.

 Pull up nappies just prolong the process and make money for the nappy companies. Don’t go there. They are a waste of money. Go nappy cold turkey and you will sort it faster. Don’t wait for summer. Do it when it is right. We did it over Christmas – in some ways winter was better, as when Red Ted wet himself it just went into his trousers and not all over the carpet.

 And here’s a scary fact: your child is more likely to experience incontinence problems if (s)he is trained after the age of 32 months  The ONLY observed downside of training early, is that it may take a little longer.

 Ok. Enough lecturing. Save money. Potty Train.

My New Baby Essentials

As a mum of two, I often get asked by expecting friends “what are my baby essentials”? I remember being pregnant and getting ready for the arrival of The Boy and being totally stumped by all the “different lists out there”. I didn’t know the difference between  a body, a vest and a baby grow (body and vest are usually the same by the way).

So I thought a New Baby Essentials list may be handy!!! It is surprising how little you actually do need and how you can get away with less rather than more.

  • Moses basket – I would say borrow one if you can, you will only need it for three months, but in those three months it is a invaluable item
  • Muslin Squares – you can never have to many. Once my kids got older, they became bibs, and now we use them as our “painting rags”. They are still very handy!
  • A set of nappies – we had new born size for the hospital and cloth nappies for home. Once you get used to them, they are easy and worth every penny, especially if you have more than one child.
  • Cotton wool, a small dish, a bottle (these don’t have to be special, just an ordinary dish and bottle will do) to store boiled water for cleaning your baby with
  • Baby nappy rash creme – personally I am a fan of sudocream. But different people will say different things. Do NOT bother with baby lotion or baby talculm powder (unless you GP tells you to use it), I bought some 5 years ago and we still have them
  • 2 Cellular blankets
  • Baby sleeping bag – we loved these, no kicking off of blankets during the night
  • 7 Babygrows (those are the all in ones, that come in lovely patterns)
  • 7 vests (those go underneath and you can get short or long sleeved ones, we found short sleeves fine)
And the biggies:
  • Pram
  • Car seat

Some Prams come with Car Seats, which is very handy, but it is totally up to you and what style of pram you get. I could write a whole post just about that. Again, there is FAR too much choice out there. I would keep it simple and go for what you like the look of. Modern day prams are all good and they all have a “set back of sorts”.

Good luck and have fun!