We are potty training our nearly three year old at the moment. In fact, we’ve been trying it for a few months now. We started when out of the blue he began to ask to use the toilet after seeing his friend from childcare doing the same. “Great!” his Dad and I said to one another. “He’s started training himself, this will be a piece of cake.” How wrong we were. Several months later and he’s nowhere near being accident free. I thought the new-born stage was difficult, but I’ve come to the conclusion that potty training is infinitely worse, for several reasons:
1) The Laundry Mountain
Think you did a lot of washing when your little one was a baby? Potty training will take that to a whole new level. And, this time it won’t be the odd patch of spit up you’ll have to deal with. There will be urine and poo, lots and lots of poo. If you haven’t got a washing machine that does a 90-degree wash, then I would seriously consider getting one. And, possibly a hazmat suit.
2) Cream Carpet Regret
Don’t get cream carpets if you’re considering having a kid. Never mind all the blackcurrant juice and red wine that might get on there. Did you know that some poo could actually stain? Invest in a Vax machine; it will become your new best friend. And, if you had the foresight to get laminate flooring throughout, then I salute you.
3) Resorting To Bribery
”If you do a poo on the toilet instead of in your pants, you can have a sweetie. OK, two sweeties. How about a whole packet of sweeties and an ice cream? All right, I’ll take you to the toy shop and you can have any toy you want if you just do a poo in the toilet. Please?” The sight of a desperate parent trying to bribe a stubborn two-year old is not pretty. You have been warned.
4) False Hope
”Fantastic! You have had an entire day today without pooing or weeing in your pants. Clever boy! Wait, what’s that smell and why are you walking like you have suddenly developed rickets…”
5) Bedtime Manipulation
Your child may have had accidents throughout the day and you feel like you are getting nowhere, when all of the sudden, just as you are tucking the little monster into bed, they suddenly pipe up with “I need the toilet.” You are now forced into letting them back out of bed and giving them lots of praise when they squeeze out the teeniest of tinkles, knowing full well this is all about not wanting to go to bed rather than making potty progress.
6) Using Public Toilets
Why oh why oh why is it that when I take my son to a public toilet he simply cannot keep his hands to himself. They are all over the toilet seat that has probably been urinated on by several hundred people already that day. And, don’t get me started on those sanitary bins that are helpfully placed in lady’s loos. Because what toddler can resist trying to put his hands in a box to see what’s in it? And, of course, in the ten seconds it takes for us to exit the cubicle and head to the sink those same hands have touched his face, me, and been in his mouth. It’s good for the immune system though, right? Right?
7) Smug Parents
There’s always one parent in your circle of friends or at your mother and toddler group who takes pride in the fact that their little Tarquin was trained in just two days. Then they try and give you “helpful” advice. “Yes I’ve tried a reward chart, and letting him choose his own pants, and, yes, I have tried going back to nappies for a bit, and letting him see how mummy and daddy use the toilet. I’ve tried it all thank you. Hell, at this point I’ll even do a rain dance or sacrifice a goat if I thought it would help.”
8) Penis Freedom
One way to train your child is to let them run around without any underwear. If you have a boy please be advised that this will result in your child developing a fascination for his penis, and he’ll want to play with it constantly. And, I do mean constantly. This will also lead to semi-awkward conversations such as “Do you need a wee-wee?” “No, I’m just tickling it.”
9) Travelling Troubles
Don’t plan a nine-hour drive to France when potty training. Because all of the sudden your child WILL become unable to use that nappy you put on them for the journey and your nine-hour journey WILL become 13 hours as you stop at every French service station you pass because your little one is so adamant that he or she needs the toilet every 20-minutes. This will make you question your child’s anatomy because really, how much liquid could possibly be in a bladder so small?
10) A Tinge Of Sadness
Potty training is a huge milestone for any child. It also marks a transition from baby-hood to childhood, and whilst you can be proud of your child’s achievements, it will also be tinged with sadness as you reflect on the idea that your little bundle of terror is starting to grow up.