Potty training Lily in Africa

Before we started the trip I wanted to potty train Lily but with all the stress of building work, finding tenants, renting the flat and packing our life up in London, it just didn’t happen. We did try briefly and bless she did do a poo in the potty but that was it. I at this time probably wasn’t consistent.
Traveling with Nic’s father and his girlfriend was difficult when it came to Lily, nappies, potty training and pooing. Both of them are in there 70’s and certainly had their opinions and would frequently voice them when it came to this particular subject. It felt like they were constantly on your back making comments and annoying remarks about not being out of nappies until she is five however, I think the real ‘go’ was at me, mum, for not implementing the process.
As a mum you know if you child is ready for potty training and if you force your child then they may then have a problem going to the toilet in later life. However, mum also needs to be ready and doing this trip for me was going to be a challenge.
Being cooped up in the car all day through Europe and Turkey in the winter would not be easy and I couldn’t exactly take her clothes off and let her run around naked in temperatures of -10 degrees!
Literature says that you need a good week at home to tackle potty training to succeed and of course at the same time the child has to be ready. I didn’t have that privilege of a good week at home and to start trying in the car or hotel rooms just didn’t work or make sense.
Driving through Israel, Egypt, Sudan and Northern Ethiopia also didn’t work. This part of the trip was actually quite difficult and at times wasn’t enjoyable. Personally I would say I relaxed at lot more after the off road section from Omerate Ethiopia via East Lake Turkana to Samburu Kenya. Getting to Samburu National Park was wonderful as I had had very happy days there with Nic and Sib five years before.
Arriving at Lake Malawi was the perfect situation for all of us. We spent seven nights on the lake at various locations and this was where Lily really ran around naked and we started getting the potty out again to see if she was ready. She did wee herself a few times, got upset and cried and she also weed once through her trousers as she sat on the potty, which from afar looked quite funny for her parents watching, but at least she was trying and we would always encourage her.
She did her first wee in the potty at Mdokera’s campsite in Lake Malawi and the poo part came around ten days later in Mozambique at the Baobab beach campsite with a small bribe – a lolly – and it worked.
She turned to look at her poo and she was very proud. The poo however was huge and it was stuck to the potty. After banging the potty against the toilet several times it then stuck to the side of the toilet and also hit the floor to the delight of the flies!
We won’t be bribing her anymore but it did help. I have heard of parents using raisins and other foods or even stickers to encourage the child to potty train.
So, in essence, for potty training to work whilst you are travelling 30,000kms through Africa, being stuck in a car all day and traveling with grumpy grandparents it is best to wait until the right situation comes along, ideally warm, relaxing, your child can wear no nappy and you can stay in that type of environment for a few days if not a week and then see if your child is ready. Lily ran around naked on the beaches of Lake Malawi and this worked. What didn’t work for Lily or mum was being stuck in the car, feeling the pressure from grandparents and having no consistency.
You cannot force it and it will only happen if and when child and parent are ready.
Like my mum said to me ‘don’t worry it will happen there is no rush, you will know when she is ready’.

About familyinafrica

Passionate about travelling, nature, raising awareness for wildlife conservation projects and teaching my fellow man about travelling community health.
This entry was posted in Children, Lily, Malawi, Our journey and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Potty training Lily in Africa

  1. Absolutely correct Nicky, don’t worry about it, it will happen when she is ready. I have leaned so much from having Grand-children. So pleased that now seems to be the relaxing more fun part of your journey. Enjoy xxx

  2. Hannu says:

    Hello,
    Great to follow the blog – just finished our Pizza oven at home – please considered yourselves invited on arrival in Pretoria.
    All the best and keep safe.
    Hannu

  3. We’ll see you there, sooner than you think!!

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