This may seem like an odd post but at the end of the day, going to the toilet is something we learn. For quite a while here we wondered when it would actually happen. If your child is 3+ and STILL doesn't use the toilet, read on. Our boy has finally learned at age 5. I find it important to share our story because I knew I was the odd one out with a boy 4+ who was still wearing nappies and I was desperate to chat to someone in a similar situation.
Our boy showed signs of interest in using the potty at around 2.5 years old. We had a very chilled approach, all we did was have the potty accesible for when he wanted to use it. Looking back, at around the same time he showed interest we traveled abroad on/off for about 2 months which probably didn't help. Our boy soon lost interest and went back to nappies. He didn't show any signs of interest at all after that. When he turned four I was starting to lose it a little bit to be honest. I didn't mind him not wanting to use the toilet but I was tired of chasing him to change nappy. A racing game to see who got to the loo first when he felt he needed to wee did the trick and we never looked back. We offered tiny chocolates as 'reward' but he wasn't interested. Yup, he's that kind of boy; it's like he knew what I was aiming for and wasn't going for it no matter how many treats I offered.
Now, the poo. For a whole other year he pooped in nappies. He wasn't interested in the potty anymore. He said he wanted a smaller seat for the toilet which we got for him but then he wouldn't use it. A few months later, out of the blue and for about two weeks he did all this poo's in the toilet, just like that, so random. But then went back to nappies. He expressed he didn't like the water splashing his bottom. We were so close to not buying nappies anymore, but Janet Lansbury's teaching 'they'll learn when they're ready' (which feels so true to me) kept me going. Also, our boy had severe constipation issues as a baby and honestly, I was terrified of him holding his poo if I put pressure on him so I just went with the flow.
Four months ago, lockdown happened, and with it pooping in the toilet! I once spotted our boy doing a poo on top of the nappy so I drew a target with colourful markers on all remaining nappies and the game was that he had to try and aim for he poo to land on the circle in the middle of the target. He went for it and I knew that was a step forward as he no longer wanted to put a nappy on but poo on top of it. We then moved from nappy to painting the targets on kitchen roll so he could then throw it all in the toilet. He went for that for like 2 days only (thankfully, because it was messy) and he then randomly said: 'Let's just put the target inside the toilet and I'll aim to poo sat on the toilet'. And that was that. No more nappies!
To be honest I can't quite believe it, for a while I lost complete hope but deep down it felt right to wait. I understand the 'need' to want to potty train, but in my case the issue was with me; I was the one scared of judgement from other mums, and worried about my child using nappies till he was 12! It took a lot of work to let go of my preconceived ideas and just respect my child's timing. Everyone's journey is different of course, but if you're in a similar situation, potty training isn't working or you're having doubts about it, this could be an invitation for you to learn something, connect with your child, respect them and trust. If your child isn't ready, s/he will thank you for waiting (I think).
PLEASE NOTE I'm not at all saying potty training is bad, this post is aimed at parents who are struggling with that process.