Our Early Stage Toilet Training Experiment is complete – HUGE SUCCESS to report!
I was horrified to read a Media Release by the Wollongong City Council (2011) which, according to the Councils Waste Education Officer, there are 2.1 billion disposable nappies added into landfill in Australia each year. I was even more horrified to learn that they estimate each of these nappies take around 400 years to break down. The shock of reading this and other documents regarding nappies in landfill has stayed in the forefront of my mind as we moved through the different stages towards Toilet Training our Baby Girl. Hooray we are all done and (well and truly) dusted!!
It has been an interesting process leading up to our first night without putting a pull up nappy on our Baby Girl. She has been having irregular dry nights since around March, just before her first birthday. It could be months before she passes the ‘dry for a week’ test and we feel confident enough to leave the nappy off during the night.
I began to notice at bed time she would go to the cupboard and get out a pull up for us to put on. She loves being helpful and getting her own nappy each night fitted nicely into her routine. It then occurred to me she didn’t even realise she was meant to be waking up dry. Our Baby Girl had even stopped waking up during the night to go to the potty, not exactly sure when, as it happened quite gradually. She would ‘lose it’ now if she stirred in the night and we attempted to put her on the potty – she has moved from that stage and forgot to send us a memo!
So it was time to plant the seed of waking up dry.
If there is one thing our Baby Girl is passionate about, it’s not missing out on anything the other members of the family are doing, so, I decided to use that to our advantage. Every morning we all have a family cuddle in our bed – all kids love that don’t they?! On the morning’s she would come in and her nappy was dry, we would have a huge celebration. High fives, throw the dry nappy in the air and play catch, then take it in turns wearing the nappy as a hat (got to have a bit of crazy!?*). She would laugh her head off as we succeeded in making it quite obvious she had done something worth celebrating.
We would then do a lap around the family checking if everyone else woke up dry. “Da woke up dry with no nappy on?” “Yes.” “Mummy woke up dry with no nappy on”? “Yes.” “Little Man woke up dry with no nappy on?” “Yes.”
As I said, this was just my thoughts in planting the seed and using the fact that she wanted to do the same as everyone in the family, to our advantage. I will start working on teaching her to be unique after this is all done….
Then ‘Da’ said “Just try it – leave her nappy off….!”
Well that just felt wrong – so wrong.
She had hardly any dry nights in succession so I had no confidence or desire (and especially no patience) to wash sheets over and over, so I put the nappy on again that night. As I was putting her to bed I looked her in the eye and when I saw she was relaxed and concentrating I told her “If you wake up dry in the morning you can go to bed with underpants on tomorrow,” or something like that.
Blow me down she woke up dry the next morning.
Could it really be that simple? Fluke? Or did she just make up her mind and do it?
It took Little Man 12 months after he was toilet trained during the day to wake up dry each morning. So I was gobsmacked to think Baby Girl would move to the last stage so effortlessly.
So to honour my word, I put her to bed without a nappy on the next night, with the waterproof sheet in place. I had the most restless night sleep ever that night, constantly checking to see if she was dry. Last thing I wanted was for her to spend the night wet and nobody noticed.
She woke up dry!!!!! Unbelievable! Coincidence again????
So that was it. We are now a Nappy Free Household with a 17 month old. Nappy free, not completely accident free.
She still occasionally has accidents during the day and night. But an accident here and there doesn’t warrant (to me) that she needs to go back to nappies. We just deal with the accident in a matter-of-fact way, ensuring we minimise the attention she receives from having the accident. Some kids enjoy attention whether it is good or bad so we ensure the fuss is saved for rewarding the good behaviour.
There is still half a packet of pull ups in the cupboard and we have used them a few times in the first month, just to be on the safe side. We have been on a couple of overnight visits since we have stopped using pull up nappies at home and both those have been for busy occasions, family weddings and visits to friends. These times we have put Baby Girl in nappies at night time as they were out of routine times and very hectic days when she has gone to bed exhausted.
The other time we have used a pull up again was when she had a bad case of the flu. Temperatures, coughing all night, clogged nose through the day. She wet the bed three times in one night, so the nappy went on for my sanity. We kept it on for the remainder of the worst part of the flu then, looked her straight in the eye, waited for her to really listen and told her to wake up dry as we were taking the nappy off again. That worked perfectly and we haven’t used the nappy since. Amazing!!
So my experiment is completed, it is possible to toilet train a baby – and since I have taught both a toddler and a baby to use a toilet, I can honestly say I would choose the baby stage every time. Get in before the tantrums and opinions come into play and set up the ground work before they are too mobile.
It is astounding to think, as easy as that, we are a Nappy Free Household. Apart from the many health advantages Baby Girl is enjoying and the fact nappies have had minimal impact on our weekly budget, I am also so very proud we have played our part in minimising our nappy count to land fill.
When Baby Girl was eight months old we were using around three nappies a day, by around 11 months we were just using one nappy each day (which was for night time) and at 17 months we are using none at all.
My conclusion is Toilet Training is best done when the Parent/Guardian is ready as the child will be ready when you are. As parents we decide the best time to introduce all the other stages/equipment which go with bringing up children e.g. putting a child to bed, transporting them, feeding them, when they are ready to be a part of certain activities – the list continues right through to teenage years when we (as parents) make much bigger decisions regarding our children’s well being. . . When to start introducing using the potty/toilet is no different.
Interested in reading my diary documenting each stage?
Ready for a fresh new topic?