This is NOT a “how-to” guide to potty training. If that is what you are looking for then I suggest going elsewhere. In fact I would go as far to say that this post is more like a “how not to” guide to potty training. I have referred to it as Potty Training – Part One, because I am pretty sure that there are going to be a few more tales to tell on my potty training adventures.
My son is at that age when most parents feel compelled to give potty training a go. However those mere two words strike fear in my heart. We have had a potty in the house for quite a while now, and my son is no stranger to it. For the first few months of its life it was used as a hat – by my son of course and not by me. I wasn’t overly concerned by this as at that time everything was being used as a hat – the cat, a shopping basket, daddy’s wellies, the dustbin etc. I actually let him go to the childminders one day with the dustbin on his head rather than have a mexican standoff at the front door. But that’s another story entirely. Back to this one…
The next time it was used was when he had an unexpected bout of diarrhoea in the bath. The only option was to scoop him straight out and put him on the potty. The screaming (from me), the mess, and the speed of what happened was enough to leave him – and me – traumatised. Since then the potty has been stored next to the main toilet just gathering dust. A couple of weeks ago he started to take interest in it again. At first he started using it as a bath for his dinosaurs, and then he started to sit on it himself (fully dressed), and then he would sit on it after the bath so we could completely wrap the blanket around him and cover his feet (another of his obsessions).
But other signs have been there too. He tells me he has tummy ache, he sneaks off to have a poo (usually after his tea), and if I am really lucky he comes right beside me to let out a good fart. And then we had a breakthrough. One night before bath we just happened to be playing upstairs near to the bathroom. He started to go red in the face and I realised that now was the time to strike. I asked him if he needed a poo and whether he wanted to be a “big boy” he nodded and in seconds I had taken his trousers and socks off – he insisted on the socks – and the deed had been done. I was elated – but it was short-lived.
Intrigued by what had just happened, H turned around to look in the potty. And that is when I saw it – poo smeared on his bottom and now over the side of the potty. As I reached for wet-wipes he reached for the bottom of the potty to touch what was now inside. In an effort to divert his hand I knocked him over – I now had poo on the floor! The shock of being knocked over caused him to come towards me with his hands outstretched for a cuddle – it was now on me! I felt like crying. I must have used a whole pack of wet wipes to clear up the carnage. The smell still filled my nostrils hours later. Whilst recovering with a glass of wine in hand, I decided I needed a few weeks to recover.
Over the Christmas break I decided to give it another go. He mainly used the first week on the potty to give himself a detailed examination that a certain body part was in working order, but we did have a couple of successes. The following week I decided it was time to step up progress and put him in underpants. I had tactically bought some dinosaur ones believing that there was no way he would want to soil these. I shadowed him around the house and as soon as I saw the signs I whisked him off to the toilet. I/HE HAD DONE IT. Full of confidence and feeling a little smug I text my husband to tell him the good news. I sent three lines. “Decided to go for it. Put H in underpants. Success.” No sooner had I pressed send then I heard the inevitable words “Mummy I’ve pood”. Now this presented a whole new dilemma, because something new had been thrown in to the mix – CLOTH. In an attempt to salvage the new underpants I scooped out what I could but there was no avoiding the inevitable. This pair was destined for the bin. Disheartened, and emotionally scarred from the clean up operation, I realised I had one again pushed for too much too soon.
And then this weekend, at my sister’s house, Harry came up to us all and announced “Mummy I need a poo”. There was no potty to hand – my niece and nephew are 17 – and so I whisked him upstairs to the toilet and dangled him over it. One small grunt and a squeeze later there it was, and with a plop and a whoosh it was gone. As we walked downstairs he proudly announced to the waiting crowd “I done it”. There was lots of cheering, clapping and high-fiving. He was clearly loving being the centre of attention. So much so that for the rest of the time there he had me running up and down the stairs to the toilet on false alarms. I am elated by this new development but I am also exhausted.
I know it isn’t over yet. I know there are plenty of high-five moments to come and also plenty of head in hands ones. But we are getting there. He has taken another step towards independence, and a further one away from being my baby. Stay tuned.
Harry’s Honest Mummy x