This is a collaborative post in association with Andrex, all words and opinions are my own.
So you’ve got a recently potty trained child, well done! But sadly that’s not it done and dusted. They know when they need to sit on the potty and if you’re lucky they might even wipe afterwards! That’s all well and good but how you do prepare to send them off into the big bad world of normal toilets without hovering behind them with a packet of washlets? I was lucky and managed to have dry day and night scenario with my toddler within a week, and very few accidents once she was potty trained. However a few months down the line we were still struggling with two things: Cleanliness & Tackling public loos.
A few weeks in to using the loo the novelty of wiping seemed to have worn off completely, but with preschool just around the corner it was something that I really want to get on top of and make sure that it is happening every time. I really wanted pants to still be clean at the end of the day rather than worrying about taking spares out and about but most importantly I wanted to make sure that that she understood the importance of keeping herself clean so she feels healthy and fresh.
At home we have toilet roll and moist toilet wipes so she can use these, and I’ve started to carry a pack of moist wipes when we are out and about too. However the struggle seemed to be that she was so reluctant to go to the toilet because colouring/ playing with playdoh/ watching Frozen for the six hundredth time is far more exciting and she wants to get back to it as soon as humanly possible. Sometimes she didn’t even pull her trousers back up and comes tripping back into the living room in her haste to get back to her previous activity with her leggings round her ankles! To try and combat this I started to remind her each time she heads to the loo that she must wipe, ideally wet and dry. I can’t always be with her when she goes to the loo at home due to having a baby too but on the times that I can go into the bathroom with her I gently remind her and help when needed to make sure she wipes properly, and then flushes everything away. There are days when she doesn’t always get it quite right but it is a lot better and I am far less worried about her being at preschool and using the loo independently, or at friends’ houses on play dates. Thankfully for us hand washing hasn’t been an issue at home and as long as she can reach the sink and taps when we’re out of the house she’s happy to wash her hands with no reminders.
The second issue that we experienced was a complete lack of enthusiasm for public loos. Now to be completely honest I don’t blame her! They’re often not the nicest of places and although I always try and visit ‘nice’ loos in department stores if we have to go when we’re in town it’s not always possible! It’s not healthy to not ‘go’ when the urge appears and I have spent a long time explaining this to her, in the hopes that she won’t hold it till we get home, especially as an accident could have dented her confidence in the early days. I found that sometimes the cubicles are so small that we can’t both get in without keeping the door open, but she hates having other people see her on the loo, which is fair enough! In this instance we’ll head to the end cubicle so there is no passing foot traffic! Another issue is that toilets are so much bigger than a potty, but you can get fold out loo seats that you can carry fairly discretely to help that unsteady feeling, and so that she doesn’t have to put her hands on the seat to stop her bottom from going in the bowl! As she gets bigger I’m sure she’ll be more confident on normal sized loos, but most pre-schools and primary schools have child sized toilets for little bums!
I am hoping that by this time next year when we’re preparing to send Athena off to primary school neither she nor I will be worrying about using the loo and can spend time having fun getting prepared for the start of a big adventure! A couple of months ago I went to a brainstorming session with Andrex and some other fantastic bloggers, plus parenting expert Fi from Childcare is Fun to help put together a great tool for parents of kids about to start primary school: The Countdown to School calendar. It contains all the things you’d need to think about in the weeks leading up to your child starting in reception class and is a great tool for making the run up that bit easier! You can download it here.