POTTY LEARNING UPDATE AT 18 MONTHS-OLD

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update on our potty learning journey, six months to be exact, so here we are. You can read about the beginning of our elimination communication journey here and our update at 12 months old here.

So, how has it been going? Overall, very well! It’s learning, so there are no expectations–accidents happen and that’s okay. Nowadays when an accident has occurred it’s usually E or V pointing “pee, pee” out, whether it’s them or their sister; we don’t make a big deal out of this as we don’t want them to feel shame or like they did something wrong. We just say, “I see you are wet, let’s go take those off and get new ones,” often letting them choose what they wish to put on next.

We still have two toilets for them, one in the bathroom and the other in the kitchen near the hall. After using and emptying a toilet, whoever went gets to return it to its location. They get so much joy in this and will have the widest smile. Such a sense of independence and so proud. There have been a few times V has used the toilet, while I was assisting E, and has brought it to me. There has been a time or two there was a little spillage, so being away from carpet and rugs is the way to go.

While they are usually without pants at home, they do better with undies or nappies rather than being completely free. Not having pants makes it much easier to get on the toilet. They have also been practicing pulling up their underpants, or makeshift ones, on their own–but not so much pulling them down yet.

While E is still actively using the potty, she’s still working on noticing when she needs to go. There are days she has absolutely no interest in the potty. If there is sitting on the toilet, but an immediate dismount and a few wetnesses afterward, we will often switch to nappies as that’s her sign that she’s just not into the potty that day. I don’t want it to become a struggle or something she comes to dislike, I want this to be an enjoyable experience that sticks. We don’t swap to normal diapers though. We use reusables (unless out and about or sick), but I make them loose so they can easily be pulled up and down, like undies, and usually without an insert. This helps protect the house and furniture a little better than toddler undies, but still gives her the same independent feeling that undies do. She will become more interested in time, but currently, she often prefers trying once V says she needs to go. It’s rather cute hearing V shout, “potty, potty, ” and then E comes along shouting the same. In the morning she gets a choice on whether she wants undies or a pull-up reusable nappy. She often chooses undies and sits on the toilet frequently, but other times she prefers to not be bothered with the toilet regularly. Again, this is completely okay and I love that she is in control. *Days after writing this, E has decided to take more interest in the toilet, asking to use it more regularly. I share to reassure that when the child is ready, they are ready.*

V is in undies and uses the potty exclusively; except for naps, bedtime, or when out and about (although that may change soon). I knew she was ready when she was not feeling well a few weeks ago, in disposables, and would still tell us she needed to use the potty. She also always chooses undies over pull-up reusable nappies. With her, I have learned that if she wants to go on the toilet, no matter how frequently she requests it, to take her. She knows when she needs to go, even a drop. She’ll often go “number one” in one toilet, have us dump it, and then use their other toilet for “number two”. The first few times she did this, I thought it odd, but she has her way and it works well for her. Even if it makes no sense to us, there’s no harm–so we follow the child.

There’s no rush, just opportunities. Remember, learning is literally the act of acquiring a skill and that takes time. So lots of patience, understanding, and washings.

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