I always swore I would leave potty training until my children were absolutely ready, able to tell me they need to go, then tackle it in a week. I suppose I thought they would be ready a bit sooner. Especially as both their dad and me were out of nappies by the time we were 2 (or so we are told).
Felix turns 3 this week and despite being perfectly capable of using the potty or toilet (he's been sitting on it every day since he was 18 months old), he shows no sign of actually wanting to get rid of nappies. Not only has he taken to telling us "I not big boy", but he actively refuses to poo on the toilet. I put him on when I know he needs to go: before nap-time story, after nap-time story and nothing. As soon as I tuck him into bed and head downstairs there comes a small voice "I do my poopoo" and t'is done.
Well, I had concluded we were just going to have to bite the bullet, probably over the summer, and put him in pants. Then... the lovely Jenny Paulin from Mummy Mishaps offered me the chance to review an all-singing, all-dancing potty and I wondered if it could provide our last chance to persuade him that he really does want to be a big boy before giving him no choice.
Our Smart Rewards Potty arrived on Monday and I have to say, first impressions were fab! Putting it together was easy, one electronic connection and then slot the 'cistern' into the back of the bowl. Felix had great fun sitting down and making the 'welcome' song play. Of course, I have been singing it around the house all week... but that happens with ANYthing musical in this house.
It's been a bit of a hectic week for any serious effort to be put into potty training... what with me turning 30 and the baby running a high temperature... but we've made a bit more effort than usual to encourage toilet usage and even worn "big boy pants" on a couple of occasions.
Let me run you through the "likes" first. The four step learning system is great. The child is rewarded for sitting, then for 'making a deposit' (what a great turn of phrase), flushing, then rewarded with a sticker to chart progress. So if you're starting potty training fresh, you don't have to think about it at all. The Smart Rewards Potty will tell you exactly how to do it! Easy.
We LOVE the removable bowl. It makes disposing of the 'deposit' SO much easier than with a cumbersome normal potty. And cleaning too.
I was impressed that it came with more than one reward chart and a second roll of stickers (refills can be purchased online). Because how many parents buy a new potty when training their second child, eh? The seat can also be removed and used as a trainer seat on the real toilet. Very sensible of the designers to make it a one-stop solution.
And do you know what? It's a lot more stylish than the average potty too. I found it quite cute having a 'mini toilet' sitting in our bathroom all week. It doesn't take up anymore space but looks at home.
The negatives are few and only minor. The "parent-activated" sticker dispenser was unfortunately, not quite parent-cotrolled enough for my sticker loving child. In fact, I think pulling the roll out, releasing 10 or so stickers, was the first thing Felix did after I opened the box. And as I couldn't wind them back in (I possibly could have if I'd bothered to unscrew the cover) they got torn off and stored elsewhere.
He also found the boys deflector shield great fun for taking off and dropping in the bowl. Maybe it's only my child who's that annoying but I would have liked a better way of fixing it on so it was less easy for Felix to remove.
One final, jovial criticism. Wouldn't it be nice if you could choose an English accent version of things like this. Why are they always American? In fact, wouldn't it be good if you could choose the voice. Personally, I think Stephen Fry would make an excellent "Voice of the Potty".
Disclaimer: I was sent a Smart Rewards Potty to review free of charge, but I received no other compensation for this article. The views are my honest opinions.