Potty Training and “The Starry Night Sky” Reward Chart

One of my goals at the start of this year was to potty train Alice as soon as possible. I am pleased to say that whilst it was a goal that I was dreading, it is also a goal that has very much been achieved – she is well and truly in the habit of using the toilet/potty and it wasn’t half as bad as I anticipated.

Alice is our first kid to not only be fully trained both day and night pretty much straight away, but at 2.5 she is also the youngest to grasp it. Of course, I feel like by even writing this post I am completely tempting fate and am thinking as soon as I hit publish we are probably going to hit a major digression in this department, but I am willing to take that risk to shout from the rooftops (or my corner of the web) and say that our little toddler and youngest Smith has taken to it brilliantly and we are so proud of her.

Potty training this time round has been a clear example to me of just how different every child is. Ethan, if I remember rightly, was nearer 3. He initially couldn’t grasp it and so we waited, and with round 2 he had it after a couple of days.

And then there was Megan – the stubborn one. You may remember this post I wrote about that experience – Potty Training the Stubborn Child of mine! She was the last child I potty trained and not only was it almost exactly 4 years ago, it was also  A LOT of hard work and stress – for months! It was really hard work and required so much patience, but like the old saying goes, she wasn’t heading to school in nappies so we got it eventually!

Alice has been a dream in contrast to that experience and I am reminded about how different we all are. How unique our children are and how these things are always child led with some encouragement. She picked it up quickly and has had very few accidents since – and none in the last 3 weeks.

Potty Training

We started on a Wednesday and stayed in the house for 3 days (only going out for the school runs with a towel under her).

Day 1 was so easy – she just knew what to do (benefits of being the youngest and always watching maybe?).

Day 2 – a little more nuts and reality of a toddler in underwear hit!

Day 3 seemed good again and we had several wins!

On the Saturday she had a couple of accidents whilst we were out, and then on the Sunday we did super well again. By Monday I felt brave and we ventured out – she had zero accidents – granted we did have 100 trips to the cafe toilet (only one to wee – the rest to play with the peddle bin and toilet flush!) and then on Tuesday we stayed in again to reinforce it. By the end of the week it was the odd accident but from there on it just seemed to be okay and part of our natural flow.

In the beginning I did a lot of reminding and showing her where the bathrooms were when we went out, but nowadays she just let’s me know when she needs to go, and if it is home or somewhere very familiar then she will go take herself off to do her business herself. Such a big girl!

Dry at Night

I have never gone full on cold turkey with potty training and only ever focussed on getting them out of nappies during the day initially. With Alice I again took this familiar approach and put a pull up on for bedtime like I did with her siblings, however, when she ran out of pull up’s and was waking up most mornings dry, we decided to just take the plunge and see how we got on – after all we could always buy more pull up’s if needed.

That was about a month ago and we haven’t needed to buy more. She uses the potty before bed and is fine until the morning when we hear her yell “quick – I need a potty!”.

She is a little star and being dry day and night feels AWESOME!

The Starry Night Sky Reward Chart

I put this success down to her not only being ready and understanding it from her siblings, but also I know it was heavily influenced by her “Starry night sky” reward chart that we used to reward her efforts.

This simple yet effective reward system was introduced to me at the end of last year by the health visitor at her 2 year review and I have to say – we have seen a huge success in using it alongside potty training. The idea is that every time they do something good, you not only reward them vocally (lots of high 5s and cuddles) but then you let them stick a star into the starry night sky. Once it is full, they can choose a reward/treat.

As potty training is a huge deal, Alice has been saving hers up for a little plush Po (which we finally got on Monday) and because the stars are small it takes several weeks to fill an A4 sheet and so it proves to be a great on going reward.

Every time she did a wee or a poop in her potty or on the toilet (or over a drain on the days we got caught out) she got to stick a star on her chart and we gave her an extra clap – she loved it. It took her a solid 4 weeks to fill it, by which point the habit of using the potty seems to be pretty much ingrained but It is something she quickly became excited about and enjoyed doing.

I am so grateful for this simple reward system and how easy it has been to potty train Alice! Hooray for no more nappies!


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