So with our second baby on the way in T-minus 6 weeks we’ve taken the plunge and decided to potty train our 2 and a half year old. I’ve felt quite daunted by the idea of potty training to be honest. However I’d rather try now and avoid wrestling a 2 year onto the potty while simultaneously trying to calm/feed/settle a new born! So we begin.
After a week and a half, A LOT of naked time in the house, accidents of various severity, lots of sticker rewards/rounds of applause/kisses and praise. I’ve come to the conclusion that potty training lands at the worst time in your little ones life.
Potty training usually starts between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old on average. Isn’t it just a pain in the arse coincidence that these ages are also when your precious little bundle turns into an opinionated, stubborn, unreasoning toddler?! Whether it’s the Terrible Twos or a Threenager you’re dealing with, it’s no mean feat to drop the bombshell of potty training on them without coming up against, ahem, challenges.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t go on without saying that Freddie has been receptive to the potty MOST of the time. The lure of stickers and little rewards have definitely spurred him on no end. Isn’t it amazing what a sticker chart and the promise of some chocolate buttons can do to a toddlers motivation?! However at the same time we have been met with resistance, particularly during those delicate morning and evening times.
“I don’t need a wee wee” – proceeds to wee on the floor
“I want a nappy back on” – proceeds to wee on the floor
“I don’t want to sit on the potty” – proceeds to wee on the floor
“I don’t want to sit on the potty, I want to sit on the toilet” – Ok great lets go the toilet “NO”
But my favourite to date is this one. At bed time I asked him to sit on the potty before we put his nappy on for bed (he’s still in nappies for bed time until we get him dry during the day). I was met with this response;
“No mammy I’ll just have a wee in my bed”
How do you respond to that? At that time of night I’m always shattered, torn between just agreeing with him to get him to bed and sticking to the routine of sitting on the potty before bed time. So after a lot of negotiation, the offer of having ‘potty stories’ in addition to standard bed time stories was made and accepted. Somehow even though he sat on and did his business while we read Peppa Pig, I still felt like he’d won. And I think the little trickster felt the same way…..he’s getting more stories than usual and gets to stay up for an extra 10 minutes!
But it’s not about winning the battle; it’s about winning the war. I’ve convinced myself that as the new routine remained intact and that it resulted in a wee before bed time; the goal was achieved. Victory will be mine in the long run!
Freddie’s little quirks are what makes’ the process so much more interesting. He loves to empty the contents of the potty into the toilet, flush it away and wash his hands. God forbid I empty the potty without him, then it’s all out freak out followed by “take it back out of the toilet mammy, I want to do it”. How he thinks this can be done I have no idea.
There have been days when he has run down the hallway with the potty to show me his dirty work, splashing everywhere as he goes. And times when he’s tried to ‘clean’ the potty with the toilet brush leading to an unspeakable amount of ‘toilet water’ being splashed around the bathroom!
Sometimes I don’t (have the energy to) rise to it and have to praise him for trying, other times (the toilet brush incident) I’ve not been able to remain so calm.
As well as showing us what he’s done when we are in the house; he’s also very keen to show Mammy and Daddy his efforts when we aren’t there. One particular day he’d finished his business, we’d emptied, cleaned the potty and washed our hands. Only then did he go into melt down mode because he wanted to leave it there to show Daddy. Trying to explain that it was 10am and Daddy was at work until 6pm (oh and we’d already emptied it away) was completely fruitless. Trying to reason with him that we can show Daddy the next one was even more pointless. So it was just a waiting game until he calmed how and the necessary intervention of Thomas and Friends on TV before he forgot the whole debacle.
As with everything to do with Motherhood, speaking to friends on the matter has been so reassuring. My business partner Laura has a little girl who is only 3 weeks younger than Freddie and she started the process a few months before me. Chatting about it on the train a few days ago reassured me that she has certainly had some of the same woes. Resistance to the potty and amusing come backs featured highly in her journey as well!
We’ve come a long way in only a couple of weeks; we’re now tackling removal of the pants before sitting to do his business. Just this weekend he was running around in his pants, proceeded to sit on the potty and do a wee. Brilliant. But he forgot to pull his pants down beforehand! Not wanting to rain on his parade I was full of praise with the follow up of ‘But next time….’
So the saga continues, he’s doing great and in true toddler fashion has given us a laugh while simultaneously frustrated us to the point of distraction!
T-minus 4 and a half weeks until the new baby arrives, let’s get this shit done (no pun intended).