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.
THERE’S wee all over my house and I haven’t a baldy notion what I’m doing.
Ah potty training – how are ya?
The Beast turned three this week and has been showing an interest in potty training so we decided to go for it.
I bought a big ol’ pile of pants (22 of them) some big boy vests, a potty and a special toddler seat for the toilet and an enormous bottle of antibac spray, as well as 123 packets of kitchen roll and a bumper pack of Xanax for myself.
We started after breakfast, delighted with our big boy pants, sitting proudly on the toilet.
No wee wee came, but sure, that’s fine.
Still no wee wee came.
We sat and read books and sang songs but no, there was no wee wee.
Five minutes later there was an enormous puddle on the floor.
‘Ooops! Wee wee Mama,’ he shouted, looking confused at the pool spreading over the playroom.
Not to worry, accidents happen, next time we’ll do our wee wee in the toilet, won’t we?
Of course, he promised, fervently, skipping off to pick fresh pants.
I scrubbed up the wee and went to wash my hands, only to be stopped in my tracks by the sound of wee tinkling off my kitchen tiles.
He had done a second wee, within nano-seconds of the first one.
The pants were changed again, the floor scrubbed again and he went back to playing with his trains.
For five minutes.
Yes, another rogue wee. Three wees in six minutes, SURELY that’s some sort of record?
At least I know he’s well hydrated I suppose!
A while later he looked up at me and said ‘Oh! Wee wee in the toilet’ so off we sprinted to the loo and sat up on the toilet.
And sat there. And sat there.
It was lunchtime then, so I got together a few bits on a plate and decided just before we sat up at the table that I’d try him again.
We sat there and then, gloriously, like the most beautiful of music we heard it – wee wee, trickling into the toilet.
WE HAVE LIFT OFF!
He turned surprised eyes on me as I danced and twerked about the downstairs loo like a CBeebies presenter on speed (aren’t they all, though?) delighted with himself: ‘There WAS wee wee Mama!’
Yes son, yes there was.
And then 40 minutes later there was some more in the toilet, glorious glorious wee.
It’s only day one and I forsee many MANY more puddles of wee in my future and who knows, it might end in disaster and we might have to put it off and try again in another few weeks.
But for today, for this afternoon, there is wee. And the wee is good.