First off, this isn’t a smug post about my kids being potty trained early, far from it. My eldest son is 2-years 7-months and isn’t yet fully potty trained.
I’m also aware that toileting children on the potty at such a young age is a contentious issue.
Using the potty early is just something I decided to do with my children based on the circumstances we found ourselves in.
I’ve been inundated with comments and questions from intrigued, often critical parents – so I thought I’d explain my reasons for using a potty with my kids before they could even walk or talk.
When I decided to go against the grain and use a potty early I didn’t realise just how critical people would be. Both my GP and Healthcare Visitor said it was purely for my own benefit. I was gobsmacked as I only had my children’s best interests at heart.
It wasn’t something I’d set out to do from the get-go, I’m no eco-warrior and I didn’t really mind the mess, it was more that I felt my hand was forced.
My eldest suffers from eczema and no matter how hard I tried it was impossible keeping him clear of nappy rash. It was the blistering/peeling/angry kind of nappy rash that took weeks to see any sign of healing.
I tried all sorts before I thought about using a potty.
We moved from disposable to re-useable nappies which had some success, tried a combination of lotions and potions and changed him the minute he had a wet or soiled nappy. It was exhausting.
The rash seemed to get worse when he soiled his nappy so to me the next logical step was to have him poo on the potty so it didn’t even have to touch his bum.
He was 6-months-old and could sit up on his own when I made this decision. There was no big fanfare, we just bought a potty that had back support and looked out for his poop face.
He took to it like a duck to water and successfully deposited a poo on his first sitting. There was never any upset from him sitting on the potty, and we definitely never forced him. If he had put up a fight we would have had to rethink our strategy, but this was just never an issue.
A couple of points to mention here. I realise as a stay-at-home-mum I had the capacity to do this. I also realise, that I was reacting to his need to poo, rather than him consciously telling me he needed to poo, so this isn’t potty training per se.
Needless to say, you’ll be happy to hear that his nappy rash started to clear.
This could all have been a happy coincidence, his skin could just have become more tolerant, but as he didn’t seem to mind sitting on the potty I continued.
We’re now at a stage where he goes to the toilet on a morning, before/after his nap and before bathtime on his own without much prompting. He also says ‘poo’ and we know this to mean he wants to go to the toilet and so we take him. He’s not dry yet, so we will be stepping it up a notch and putting him in pants and trying the traditional potty training soon.
My daughter is now 9-months and has been on the potty since she could sit up on her own at 7-months. She’s also in re-useable nappies thanks to an allergic reaction to some disposable nappies we put her in.
She again put up no fight, there was no ski-jumping, no crying, just happiness and a poo left in the bowl on the first sitting.
This is just how I’ve decided to do things, I’m not saying it’s the right way, just my way. It took guts for me to stand up and do things differently and I can assure you I am my own worst critics on whether I have in fact made the right decision.
So please, before you judge the next person for doing things differently to you or the majority of parents – whether it be how they tackle feeding, clothing or potty training – stop and take the time to understand their reasons. Alternatively, mind your own business and crack on with your own day!