Mama Farizal asked me how did I potty-trained Zareef. Well, to answer your question, I waited and bid for the right time to do it. But let me stress that each and every child is an individual. Therefore, as their moms, you know your child best when he/she is ready for the huge milestone. What I'm writing here, is purely based on my own experience with Zareef.
Last year, when Zareef started talking eloquently, I thought I could potty-train him. Me, being the religious reader of babycenter.com and all books alike, I thought it was the right time. But... I was sooooo wrong!
Zareef was only 2.5 years old then. Although he could talk and say whatever it is that he wanted to say, he would seldom tell me when was his time to go to the loo. So, I bought the Pampers Pull-Up pants and told him that he's a big boy now. Mummy bought special nappies for him to be potty-trained and to tell Mummy or Daddy whenever he feels like weeing or pooing. Hell, Mummy even bought the baby seat to be put on our loo for that matter.
The first day, he was excited. He even managed to say out twice that he needs to pee. But it soon stopped there. Everytime when I asked him whether he needs to wee, he'll just simply shake his head. But at the end of the day, I would always find his nappies to be wet and heavy. I was furious with my boy but that was that. I couldn't possibly punish a two-year old for wetting his nappy, can I? I mean, he's just two. He doesn't even know how to control his bladder. So, I gave it a rest. I told B that Zareef is not ready yet. It wouldn't help at all with me screaming down his throat everytime he forgets to tell me that he needs the loo thus making me seem like a monster to him. It would just make matters worse. Plus, it was winter at that time hence the cold weather requires visit to the toilet more often and not forgetting that our home then was wall-to-wall carpeted. So, it would be a horrible, horrible job cleaning up the carpet every two hour or so if accidents do occur.
I waited and waited quietly bidding for my time. By then, friends would make a snide remark or two on Zareef still being on the nappy although he's already three. But, did I care? Nah!! I didn't give a hoot about it. My son, my problem. If he were to pee everywhere in the house, would you be there to clean up after his mess? No? I thought so!
When we got back home two months ago, to our despair we found that Zareef couldn't fit into the Pampers XL nappies (despite me lugging home what seems like bundles of nappies from the UK). That's it then. Potty-training time, again.
We told Zareef that it's time for him to be potty-trained, firmly this time. We told him that he's a big boy now and no nappies could fit him anymore. Since he was a year older and a little bit wiser, he could understand and he was willing to have a go. We went out to buy briefs for him at Jusco (menyesal aku tak borong banyak2 underwear cartoon characters kat mothercare before balik They were going at 3 for the price of 2! Damn!!).
The first two days was a disaster! He would forget entirely what B and I have repeatedly told him that is "Cakap kat Mummy or Daddy kalau Zareef nak kencing tau!" We would caught him peeing in his pants. Nasib baik rumah nenek dia lantai marble sumer. Very easy to clean up after him. To teach him a lesson, I let Zareef feel the discomfort of having a wet pants. Then I told him "Kalau Zareef tak cakap Mummy nak kencing, nanti seluar Zareef basah. Do you like it?" He would feebly shake his head. After three days of feeling drenched in his own pee (which he is totally geli about), he picked up quickly from then onwards.
Now come the trickier part, teaching him to poo in the toilet. It has become Zareef's habit to hide quietly behind curtains or sofas everytime he does the No. 2. So, I told him that he has to poo in the toilet bowl. He refused at first but I told him that if he doesn't poo in the toilet bowl, he would make a mess in his pants and it would be soiled. "Would you want your pants to be dirty and smelly?" to which he shaked his head vigorously. And so, I slowly showed him how it is being done (Yes, you do have to show them. Or else, how would they know the right techniques of doing it. It does sound gross, but believe you me, it works like a charm! heheheh...).
After weeks of diligent perseverance, whackings and threats, I can proudly say that my son is now a pro at potty-training. However, I still put him on the nappy at night when he goes to sleep (Thank god for Mami Poko's XXL!). I don't trust him enough to not wet the bed because he still can't control his bladder in his sleep. But I'm taking it off soon because his nappies have been dry for the whole night for quite some time now. Give it a week or two and he'll be 100% free from diapers.
So there, that's the story of Zareef. If you plan to start with your child, a sure indicator is that he/she is ready is that your child has a dry nappy the whole night through. Next, please make sure that:
1. They are old enough. Yes the books say you should start at 2 or 2.5 but I say BULL! Girls would usually start earlier than boys. The safest bet would be to start potty training your child after their 3rd birthday. By that time, they can understand better and comprehend what you're trying to teach them.
2. You are firm. Don't start potty-training them one day and then put them in the nappies the next day. Your child would be confuse.
3. Your child can say out clearly that they need to go. It's no use asking your child to tell you that when clearly that he/she is unable to say it.
4. You put them in their underwears. Not pull-ups like what I did with Zareef. Even if they imitate underwears, they are still nappies. Your child wouldn't fell that they've wetted themselves if they wear the pull-ups. If they are in their underwear, they would know what's the feeling like when they have to pee and the consequences of not peeing in the potty.
5. Be very, very patient. Although I do admit that Zareef did receive a few blows from me but it was after tens of times of telling him. You would have to endure countless times of cleaning the floor, tracking down where the pee starts and ends and changing them like 10 times a day.
6. Do it in an environment that your child is most familiar with. Eg. your home. If you plan to go on a holiday, then put it on hold. It's not advisable and fair to the child because again, they would get confused and you would end up blowing up a fuse. That is why I waited till we were back in Malaysia.
Hmmm... I think that's about it. Again, these are all based on my experience with Zareef. Yours would be different. Ultimately, it would all boil down to your child. So, good luck Llah!