Attention: We have now reached a point in our house where we no longer need nappies or potties.
To all the mums and dads out there who are still embroiled, you too will be free from this one day, hang in there..
It’s not that I’m averse to poo handling – as anyone who read my blog entitled ‘My Poo Panic..’ will know. But there comes a point when nappy changing is no longer the gentle bonding experience it once was. Gone are the days when you can softly sing that ‘bum change song’ you made up when they were first born (to soothe yourself as well as the baby) whilst you execute the task with minimal fuss.
Eventually your child reaches the stage where they are big enough to run away, say NO and refuse to comply, yet not big enough to stop pissing and shitting in their own pants. Paradoxically, they are able to exercise control, before they have ‘control’. Around about this time they seem to stop being bothered by the sensation of a trouser-full and will happily continue their day in this state rather than have their play rudely interrupted.
I have to confess, when they were playing so quietly and intently, it did seem a shame to disturb them and I would secretly wonder how long I could leave it before it became socially unacceptable..
So when they first start showing signs of being ‘ready’, it comes as a welcome relief. Until you realise you are about to enter a fresh new world of poo and wee HELL.
People will say “Oh it was easy, once we knew he was ready, we just did away with the nappies and he hasn’t had a single accident.” LIES.
Others will suggest you simply put the child in the garden with nothing on and let them wee all over the lawn and shit in the sand pit. SERIOUSLY? How is that going to help matters?
In my experience it was not ‘easy’. It was like having a puppy in leggings.
I’d regularly find little damp puddles unexpectedly underfoot around the house. The washing machine was groaning under the extreme use it was getting and the 1001 carpet cleaner manufacturers contacted me personally, to thank me for my customer loyalty. (Actually, the last bit isn’t true but seriously I went through bottles of that stuff. And it has simultaneously saved my carpets and my mind! I might email them.)
I know what your thinking. “That child clearly wasn’t ready!”
Now what if I told you that at the end of every nursery session my child would come home proudly sporting a smiley face sticker because she had asked to use the potty every single frickin’ time she needed a wee? Hmm?
She was ready alright.
One of the hardest things about potty training is that all of the guidelines, advice and of course your own common sense tell you that it is counter productive and even damaging to tell your child off when they have an accident. I totally get that and never did. But that doesn’t stop you feeling like you want to. It is after all, F*****G INFURIATING.
So what are we supposed to do with all of this rage??
I like to silently swear at household appliances. A favourite is opening the fridge door and giving the unsuspecting contents the V sign with both hands frantically trembling whilst simultaneously mouthing a string of obscenities at the cheese. Then I turn to the chilling bottle of Pinot Grigio in the fridge door and pat it tenderly, before closing the door and marching back in to my day a little calmer.
Things did progress. She went from peeing exactly where she was playing, to peeing half way between where she was playing and the potty, to peeing right next to the potty, to eventually peeing IN the potty. YAYYY! How we all danced and cheered and clapped and praised – and then abruptly stopped as we realised; so proud was she of her ‘big girl’ achievement, that she’d picked the potty full of wee up and was attempting to walk upstairs to empty it herself. “NOOOOOOO!”
But of course, doing a wee in the potty is one thing. Doing a poo is quite another! It must feel strange and exposed at first because in our house, her Peppa Pig grown up pants saw more solids than the potty for quite a while. But beware, once they have gotten over the ‘feeling weird about it’ phase; when your child is happy to fetch the potty during a family gathering, plant it in the centre of the room and proudly poo whilst everyone roars and claps and cheers her on; it can only lead to one thing.
The poo gift.
Similar to when the cat drops a punctured blue tit excitedly on the kitchen floor. A child will give you the gift of her poo. Because of course, you love it when she poos. You said so. The whole family did ‘the poo dance’ last time so what’s the difference? She pooed in the bath, she pooed in the garden. She even shook one out of the bottom of her pyjamas like an inappropriate clown: ‘Ta da!!’ But nothing, NOTHING prepared us for THIS:
“Mummy!! Come and look, I’ve done a funny little poo poo on the standing thing!!”
We probably shouldn’t have laughed so hard as this seemed to send the wrong message regarding what she had done. And then of course there was a bit of discussion about its weight before we took lots of photos for a Facebook post that I couldn’t wait to share. Incidentally, it was very well received.
Just four days before the scales incident, my mum and step dad had taken both of our girls to the nativity play at their local church. It was Christmas eve. At this time, toilet training was still a bit shaky (as you have learned!) and so we were in the habit of taking the potty out and about with us in a plastic bag in case of any emergency wees. My mother, (being a bit of a pro) sensibly took the potty along to the church incase an urgent tinkle was needed on the way.
Picture the scene. The church congregation are silent, save the sniffs of noses and shuffles of winter coats on the wooden seats. The church candles are a glow and there is a festive whiff of orange peel and cloves in the air. There is an atmosphere of childish Christmas eve excitement, mixed with a sense of the profound meaning of the nativity story and the weight and awkwardness of being in a church at this important time of year. Mary’s waters had broken, the contractions were now less than a minute apart and Joseph was anxiously trying to find a place in which his wife could safely birth their VIB (very important baby). He was secretly relieved to have this responsibility, otherwise, like all dads, he’d just be feeling pretty useless right now.
“NANNY I NEED A POO!!”
Nanny, in a panic and not wanting to cause a fuss or disturb anyone, whips the potty out of the plastic bag and places it on the floor. My daughter hops off the pew and sits herself down on it happily. One can only imagine, the thoughts that were now going through my poor mum’s head as my delightful child strains and grunts her way though baby Jesus’s birth, providing all of the appropriate sound effects of a women in the throes of labour.
Needless to say that none of the congregation were prepared for this ‘sensory experience’. Poor Nanny, hot and bothered, had to wipe the child’s upturned bottom and then take the walk of shame, sidling past the disgusted looking faces of the poor people who were sharing their bench, whilst holding the potty just above their wrinkled noses. She made it through the church and out in to the courtyard. To this day I still do not know exactly what she did with that poo. (I haven’t asked and I don’t want to know in case it’s not what I want to hear.)
But that day will always be known as the day my daughter did ‘A poo in the pew’.
So, without further ado, here is my list of 10 essential things that you will need to get you through toilet training without it driving you potty!
- 1001 carpet cleaner. If you don’t want your house to start attracting all of the local stray cats, use this stuff.
- Kitchen paper. Lots of it. Great for soaking up puddles of wee.
- A washing machine. For endless pairs of piss soaked leggings, pants and socks and sometimes even shoes.
- A fridge, for swearing in to.
- Cheese, for swearing at.
- Wine. To guzzle.
- A potty. If you’re lucky they’ll use it.
- Bathroom scales. If you’re lucky, they’ll use them too.
- A travel potty. Don’t get caught short. Its not cool.
- Patience of a saint. It really is F*****G INFURIATING.