Toilet training. Those two little words, enough to strike fear into the hearts of many parents, have defined my last few months. Child two, now a big healthy 3 years and 5 months old, is really not keen on the idea that he might not get to wee comfortably into his nappy, any time, any place. This is the third attempt to get him out of nappies. And, I swear, through gritted teeth, it will be the last. Because this is it – he is going to wear big boy pants: no going back.
Of course, it’s not an easy decision. Nappies are simple – shove one on, forget about it for a while, until the child’s rear end starts to sag. Pop them on the mat, quick clean, fresh new nappy, off we go. But I truly am tired of carting two sets of nappies everywhere I go, so as it was the Easter holidays, and no need to ship everyone the mile or so to school and back, I decided to run with it. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say I’ve cleaned up rather a lot of urine from my floor lately. Tentatively though, he’s getting it.
This is roughly how potty training is going, from the perspective of a 3 year old boy:
Day one. Wee everywhere but the potty or toilet. And why not – it’s quite nice playing in the comfort of your bedroom while having warm wee run down your legs. Look on interestedly as mummy scrubs carpet for the third time while smiling in a slightly forced way.
Day two. Squeeze out the tiniest wee on the potty, to cheers of delight and a new toy car. Then, throw massive tantrum about going for a wee on the potty or toilet and refuse to go near either of them.
Day three. Throw uber-tantrum at simply being asked if you need a wee. Then do a sudden u-turn and, unexpectedly, produce small amount of poo in potty. Be cheered and clapped enthusiastically. Receive a new toy car. Wee in pants.
Day four. Scream in wild fury at being placed on toilet. Half an hour later, shout urgently to sit on toilet. Pretend to do a wee. Demand a new toy car.
Day five. Sob uncontrollably at being shown the potty, until you actually break your mummy’s heart, and she wells up herself, muttering “I’ve misjudged everything, you’re not ready, I’m a terrible mother” over and over. Then spend rest of day dry, weeing twice on the toilet. Receive two toy cars (one per wee) and watch mummy go all teary once again, but this time with pride.
Day six. Keep everyone on their toes by shouting for a wee, despite still wearing overnight nappy. Do a morning wee on the toilet, like you’re completely toilet trained. Earn a toy car. Go on the toilet at nursery, and get a lovely sticker. What a morning! Spend afternoon at home playing cars on the floor, lying in a massive wet patch. Don’t mention it to anyone for about two hours. Watch with interest as mummy scrubs carpet.
Day seven. Try not to eat, so that you don’t need to poo. Refuse all meals and drinks. Sit on the toilet and do three drips of wee. Get a toy car. Immediately sit back on the toilet and produce the rest of the wee. Demand another toy car, after all that was two wee-wees! Throw unbearable tantrum when mummy refuses to fall for it.
Day eight. Wake in the middle of night, screaming for a wee. Refuse resolutely to go back to sleep. Do two more wees on the toilet, despite it being 3am. In the exhausted light of day, pee in pants several times, and cry. A LOT. Refuse to nap. Do poo in pants, don’t tell anyone, until a bit of it falls down trouser leg. Watch with renewed interest as mummy scrubs carpet while trying not to weep. (Mummy is VERY tired, may I just point out, having been dealing with the 1am, 2am, 3am, and 4am wake up calls.)
We’re well into week two now, and everything is pretty much still as described. I’ve gone in for a couple of props and motivational ideas, as this is the long haul. I’m in it until the end. So, I’ve invested (a mere £4 from amazon, so not a bank breaker!) in a cheering potty book – as in, it actually cheers. ‘Pirate Pete’s Potty’ is a simple and straight forward book about a young pirate learning to use the potty. There’s a button to press for a cheering sound on every page, so this is going down well. And with the addition of a sheet of shiny vehicle stickers (seriously, it’s a bee to honey situation with child two and anything with wheels) plus a beautifully (ahem) drawn reward sheet, he’s diligently working towards the holy grail – a car transporter complete with cars. His eyes go dreamy when we discuss it. Getting a bowel movement into the toilet is proving the most tricky, but I do remember this with child one, and she got there in the end. I have no doubt he will too – but whether he’ll manage that before I lose my sanity and run around the house with poo-jazz-hands and singing “I’ve got a lovely pair of coconuts” remains to be seen…
As the ubiquitous sign might say: “Keep calm and carry on scrubbing that floor”.
Written by guest blogger Treading Water Mum