Potty training. Two words that surely must fill every parent with absolute dread.
Potty training. What an absolute pain in the arse, you are.
The three year old has now been completely ‘trained’ for over three months, and still I’m only just writing about it now through fear I will jinx it. So here goes.
I’m one of those mums who was never in a rush to start potty training. Not because I was a great believer of ‘they do it when they’re ready’ but because I have baby twins and the prospect of dealing with them at the same time as wiping shit and puddles of piss off my floors wasn’t exactly appealing. Even the fact we were going through 100 nappies a week didn’t convince me.
I wasn’t even that bothered about the old peer pressure thing of doing it when my other mum friends were starting. Some began really early – with the added advantage of childminders or nurseries helping, and I still didn’t even contemplate it.
Would my son be the only child starting school still wearing nappies? If my motivation, or lack of, was anything to go by, this could actually be a possibility.
But then he started making noises about being ‘ready’. He would tell me when he was doing a wee, then when he was doing a poo. Then he’d ask me to change his nappy. Seriously.
Then he started making moves to sit on the potty before bathtime, so I kind of had to give in and admit it was probably heading in that direction.
Maybe it was time for me to just take the hint? It was all very well HIM being ready but what about ME being ready?? I was so not prepared. All I could see was weeks ahead of mess, more laundry, him being upset, me being impatient, and lots of swearing under my breath whilst chirpily telling him it was absolutely FINE to shit all over the floor for the fifth time that day. At the same time as inquisitive babies putting their hands in wee-filled potties or playing with shit-filled pants.
Oh how wrong I was.
He totally nailed it. And I mean, TOTALLY nailed it.
We started on the last May bank holiday weekend, two weeks before his third birthday, when the weather was nice and the Other Half could be around for three days to help out. I just couldn’t believe how well he did. On the first day he didn’t have one single accident. Like, WTF? How??
We stayed at home all weekend to minimise stress from all parties. I did what everyone does and asked him 5,492 an hour if he needed a wee. After the 10th time he started getting annoyed. After the 30th time he started getting REALLY pissed off with me, so I changed tack.
I introduced new rules:
- We go to the toilet before snack
- We go to the toliet before lunch
- We go to the toilet before going outside
- We go to the toilet before playing a game
- We go to the toilet before reading a book
- We go to the toilet before tea
- We go to the toilet before scratching our arse
Okay, slight exaggeration but you get my drift. Most of which were totally ridiculous and didn’t last long, but it was the only way I could get an impatient toddler to attempt it.
And when I did eventually persuade him to try, nothing would come out. Basically because it was only about 20 minutes ‘before’ the last attempt due to the new rules. Funny that.
Top tip though, run the tap. Second he heard the water, he did a wee. Worked every time. Total waste of water, but there were bigger things to worry about at that point.
Oh and OBVIOUSLY there were bribes. I’m not some sort of saint, you know. Giant chocolate buttons. One for a wee in the potty, two for a poo, three for mummy for, er, anything? These soon fizzled out though. Well for him, that is, he wasn’t bothered. Not for me, they’re my favourite.
I was exhausted after the first day – and couldn’t wait to get a nappy on him at bedtime to stop thinking about it.
This continued for several days and by the end of the first week, he’d only had five accidents in total. These were mainly when he was distracted playing, or one occasion I was sorting the twins and I couldn’t hear his ‘I NEED A WEEEEEEEE!’ shout. Kind of felt guilty about that one.
What I found weird is that kids just aren’t bothered about pissing themselves though? Or at least, he wasn’t.
Leaving the safety of your own house and actually going out adds a whole new level of stress to it though, right? Despite having a travel potty in the car (handy but pain in the arse to carry when you’re already lugging what could be deemed as an overnight bag everywhere anyway), I still sped around in a panic, constantly eyeing up potential spots to pull over if and when those fatal words were screamed at me. Because it’s not like they can wait, is it? Once they decide they need a wee, they NEED a wee!
Although to be fair I’m not dissimilar since having three children in 2 years…
Weirdly he only used the potty for about a week before wanting to sit on the actual toilet, and even then the toddler seat only lasted another few weeks.
My god, what a bloody relief that was. I’m sorry, but is there anything as grim as scraping a sloppy shit out of a plastic bowl into the loo? I couldn’t do it without urging. I’d never make it as a nurse.
Although having said that, on the few occasions he did have an accident, removing poo from pants is a skill, isn’t it? And one that I definitely never perfected – as demonstrated when I somehow ended up catching a shit heading for the beige rug in my bare hands when trying to get his pants off. Yes that really happened. I will remember it always. That was the moment I decided saving a pair of cheap supermarket pants was SO not worth warm shit in my palm.
The main hurdle was being out with all three boys. I was forever looking for toilets for him to ‘try’ in, as we’d not quite conquered the cheeky behind a tree pee yet. And I always needed to make sure someone was with me to watch the babies when I needed to dash him off to the loo.
We were at motorway services during the early potty training days and the Other Half had queued for what seemed like an eternity whilst I tried to entertain three hangry children at a table. Just as he was being served, I had to shout and wave frantically across the concourse for him to ditch the order and get his arse back to the babies as the three year old needed a wee THAT SECOND. Or there was the time when we were on holiday at Trevornick and the Other Half was doing exactly the same, at the front of a very long queue ordering food. This time I left the babies with strangers on the next table who had been cooing over them. I mean, seriously, what were they going to do?
Them wearing pull-ups are SO much easier.
After a few weeks or so I noticed his nappies were bone dry every morning and wondered when children are supposed to be dry overnight. I’d heard and read that it could take months and months longer even though they’d be fine during the day.
Again I wasn’t quite ready for the whole middle of the night bed/pyjama changing etc. I was up at least four times a night with the other two, I didn’t want anything else to deal with. Lazy, me?
But whilst we were on holiday at Bluestone it started to confuse him, having a nappy on at night and not during the day. He began to ask if he was wearning a nappy or whether he had to go to the toilet and after one morning accident when he thought he had one on but didn’t, I decided to bite the bullet.
I’m now TOTALLY jinxing it by saying, in two and a half months, he has NEVER wet the bed. Again, WTF?? I’m strict on him going to the loo straight before lights out, and immediately when he gets up, but he has a drink by his pillow that he sips from throughout the night and I don’t intend to remove it. He’s even woken me up a couple of times and asked to be taken to the toilet.
And about a month ago, he decided he wanted to be like Daddy and stand up to wee. Lovely, I thought. Here comes the mess, but he’s got such a good aim, it’s almost a shame it’s not an Olympic sport. The only time he’s peed up the wall was in some manky, dirty public toilets and to be fair, nobody would have even noticed the difference!
I am absolutely amazed at this boy. He has just completely smashed it and is proof that it was the right thing to not try when he had just turned two like others around him were doing. Waiting until he was nearly three meant he was basically so ready he was telling me what to do!
Although now he wants to wipe his own bum. I’ve not entirely sure any of us are ready for that one…