Knowing that we all hate to sound like and/or listen to a broken record, I will refrain from apologizing for my absence and inconsistency with blogging and I shall do what I normally do in real life; sweep it all under the rug and proceed like everything is honky-dory!
I know that there are several milestones in the process of raising of a child but I will say I have realized that not all milestones are created equal. Things like weaning and sleep training are not very easy to achieve but I will tell you that for me, potty training or toilet training is turning out to be the ‘alpha male’of the pack. Why did I think that this would be a walk in the park? Oh my giddy days! the horror!
Now, a quick disclaimer before you proceed with this post: “THIS POST CONTAINS A LOT OF VIVID DESCRIPTIONS, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK”
Right, where were we? Yes, my horror stories of potty training my 2 year old. Nappies/diapers are oh so convenient but there comes a time when one decides it’s about time to stop investing in them. For me, that time came about three months ago. I had had enough of nappies, wipes, nappy bins, nappy creams bla bla and all the fuss that came with changing wet and soiled nappies. So I trotted off to my nearest mothercare to purchase a snazzy looking potty for my baby. Surely, the bright colours and the ‘chair-like’ qualities of this potty would go a long way in helping my 2 year old boy understand how to use a toilet. WRONG! Anyway, armed with the nice looking potty and some training pants, I turned to Professor Google for help on how to potty train a toddler.
The extent of information I got was incredibly overwhelming but I think I picked up a few tips here and there. However,nothing was specially formulated for my unique boy. He has his own personality and tendencies and so, the only way to go about this was trial and error. I tried the early morning potty routine but that failed because baby sleeps in his own room and takes his time ‘booting’ before he gets out of his bed. So by the time he appears in my room, he’s done his good morning wee in the nappy and my potty time afterwards was just a waste of time. Time for a new strategy as I wasn’t going to bring him back into my room after we had gone through the whole process of sleep training. Therefore, I decided to put the potty in the living room. Bizarre, I know. But I figured, since we spend most of our time in the living room, why not have it there instead of running back and forth to the toilet. Well, that wasn’t very successful either. I suspect this didn’t work because first of all, I wasn’t fully committed to the whole thing because I thought, in my ignorance, that wearing training pants would be a good idea and also because I didn’t want to soil my precious carpet. LOL.
After a couple of weeks of absolutely no result, I went back to my professor. There, I found that wearing towelled pants while trying to potty train is counter-productive. Going full on commando was the way to go. If your toddler isn’t able to see what is coming out from his/her body, then you are just wasting your time. Lo and behold! the first time I let him run around totally naked (albeit grudgingly, I still didn’t like the idea of soiling my carpets after all! How much in denial was I ?!), he did a wee on the floor and he was so astonished by the whole incident. While standing in a pool of his own wee, he asked me; ‘What’s that?’ I said, while trying very hard not to hyperventilate, ‘that’s wee wee darling’. “You did a wee wee on the floor, next time do it in the potty” . And thus began my nightmare.
Going with the whole naked bottom thing, I learnt a lot about my son. One of which was that he was a very private person. Even when he was in nappies, and he was starting to become conscious of the fact that he was about to do something in his nappy, he would leave the room, find a corner,get on all fours and go about his business. However, when mommy wanted him to do the ‘big leagues’ in the potty, (I’m assuming you can deduce what I mean by the big leagues) she would sit right in front him, with a silly grin on her face, cheering him on to do his business in the potty. It wasn’t until I realized that he was able to hold his poo until I got weary of wishing the poo out of his bum and I had given up, that my little man would find a moment to go into a corner in the living room and do what had to be done quietly on the floor (shock horror!) without me even noticing. Well, until I smelt it. One fateful day, after almost twenty minutes of singing poo poo and wee wee rhymes and looking at potty training books just to get things going, I finally gave up and decided to have a moment on my sofa. Lost in my own world of the internet, I heard a voice say “Mummy, look, Poo Poo”. I looked up and standing in front of me, with his little hand held out in front of him, was my son holding a piece of the big leagues in his hand. The thoughts that ran through my head in that moment, I shall spare you.
Suffice to say, this incident really put a damper on my determination and I was immediately back to nappies. I was worried about health and safety and I just couldn’t risk it. “He’s not ready”, I told myself.
Of course, this didn’t last long as we are back on potty training now because I know that he is ready and I am the one who needs to be more patient. What I have learnt though is that children learn a great deal through modelling. They watch adults and they model their behaviour towards what and who they observe. With this in mind, I am able to put myself in my son’s shoes. I understand why he wouldn’t want to go potty with me right in his face because nobody likes an audience while answering the call of nature. I understand why he would rather try to use the regular toilet rather than the potty because he’s never seen mummy and daddy go on the potty before. I understand why the potty in the living room is a counter- productive idea because he’s seen something similar that mommy and daddy use, but it’s not in the living room.
We are not fully trained yet, far from it, but we are definitely more determined and our approach has changed a lot. I know the modelling idea might seem incredulous to some, but I can honestly say that it’s provided results. We have had moments of victory and moments of regress. As I type this post, I have cleaned up five wee-wees and one ‘big league’! I kid you not. LOL. Although, I almost feel as though he’s punishing me for writing about him! Lol. All in all, we still have a long way to go and every time the husband and I hear a sound that’s remotely like a running tap, we both turn our heads, call out our son’s name in shock and groan 🙂 only to find out it was from the Television or one of our dripping kitchen taps! Don’t judge!
If you are considering potty training your child, I would suggest that you do some research, ask people for advice, have a ton of patience and determination and be willing to try almost anything until you find what works for your child. Every child is unique. And finally,be prepared to buy lots of anti-bacterial wipes, hand santizers and air fresheners. Also, if you know where to buy an olfactory sense de-activator and a gag reflex suppresant, I would be very willing to purchase because I do not react very well to certain smells. Lol. But, one must soldier on!