WE’VE been at the coalface of potty training for a full week now and praise all the gods, it seems to have clicked and we’re now on day three accident free.
I’m not the better of it, I’ll tell you that.
It’s just one of those skills that kids have to get for themselves. You can talk about it, read about it, demonstrate but you don’t have control over their urethras so you just have to sit back and hope that they will literally go with the flow.
Seeing as we’ve been stuck at home for the past week wearing just our pants – hey, don’t judge, it’s called modelling behaviour – I’ve been compiling a list of nine things you might need if you decide to start potty training.
- Pants. Loads and loads of pants. I bought 22 and thought that would be enough, but then The Beast had ten accidents in the first day so that told me. Buy 800. And then the week before you start buy another few packs. And then at the last minute buy five more packs. That should be enough, but no guarantees.
- Stickers. Loads and loads of stickers. (If you’re planning on doing a reward chart) We got a beautiful Thomas the Tank Engine book all about potty training, which featured a reward chart with stickers, five for each day. ‘That’s grand’, sez I, ‘five a day will be plenty, sure how many times can a toddler go in one day?’ Forty. The answer is 40. They go 40 times a day. You will need many MANY more stickers than any reward chart has to offer.
- Hand cream. For you. Do you know how many times a day you’ll wash your hands when you’re potty training a toddler? 657. I counted. By the end of day two your hands will be dry, scaly, chapped shadows of their former selves. Buy hand cream. A lot of it.
- A potty, even if you’re planning on using a special seat that sits on the regular toilet. We bought the special seats, but The Beast seemed more comfortable on the small, cheap, plastic potty we got in the chemist so we’ve ended up using that instead. It’s also handy for when you take 60 seconds to go for a wee yourself, because it is in that 60 seconds that your child will tell you that he needs a wee as well. So if you keep a potty handy in the bathroom, you can both go at the same time. Alternatively, if your child is hogging the regular toilet and you just can’t hold it any more (hello childbirth, goodbye pelvic floor) it’s handy to have for you to use in an emergency. I’m not saying that happened to me, I’m just saying it might happen to you. *side eyes*
- Antibacterial spray that smells of something. If you use odourless cleaning products now is the time to break out the scented products. Just …trust me, ok?
- Extra packs of loo roll. This seems like a no brainer but it’s amazing just how much loo roll tiny bottoms can go through. Ditto kitchen roll for cleaning up your floors. Now is not the time to think of the environment, one sheet will NOT be plenty, you can take that to the bank and cash it.
- Arts and crafts/baking supplies. To give you something to DO while you’re sitting there on the edge of your seat waiting for the next wee to spring forth. Generally speaking you’ll need to clear a good few days to potty train, you need a run at it, and it’s best to stay at home so you’ll need something to fill those hours. Baking chocolate fairy cakes for example filled a good hour here, plus I then had something with which to eat my feelings when I had to clean up another pool of wee. Win win!
- A pack horse, to haul about all the supplies you’ll need when you do decide to venture out. Or maybe look into hiring an experienced mountaineer, maybe someone who’s climbed Everest, to come and live with you for a few months. Gone are the days where you could throw a packet of wipes and a bottle of water in your bag and go to the playground for a couple of hours. When you’re potty training you’ll need changes of clothes, extra pants, spare shoes, wipes, loo roll, plastic bags (in case of a rogue poo) and you might even decide to bring the potty along with you. Grand if you’re in the car, you can throw a bag in the boot, not so much when you’re on foot. That shit is heavy.
Hard drugs.Patience. I meant patience. Bucketloads of it. Potty training is a big change in a little one’s life and it can be full on certainly for the first few days. The most important thing about potty training is that the child is ready, so sometimes if potty training is hard it might mean he or she just isn’t there yet and you should put it off for another while. But sometimes it’s just hard because it is – well it was for me anyway. Plenty of people find it handy enough but I found it a stressful aspect of parenting. There’s a lot of waiting and watching, a lot of cleaning and reassuring and repetition while you wait for it all to click. I took the advice of better mothers than I in one of my Facebook groups, who told me that The Beast would need some time to realise that he couldn’t just dribble along as he was playing, that he had to get used to that ‘full bladder’ feeling and that eventually it would all come together. And thankfully it did. I’m delighted with him and for him and he’s delighted with himself. I think we’ve broken the back of it now and I’ve everything crossed (literally, the child is hogging the toilet again) that it’ll be plain sailing from here on in.