I’ll be honest, I’ve been looking forward to potty training Mole since she turned two. The thought of only having to change one bum a day instead of two filled me with excitement, plus the savings on the nappies we would no longer have to buy.
She is now nearly three, and we haven’t progressed very far.
Musing this over recently, I remember an interesting point that a health visitor made. Thirty years ago, when we were kids, the babies got potty trained on average a year earlier than they do today. Thirty years ago, the nappies were of the ‘terry cloth secure it with a safety pin’ variety, not the super absorbent, fool proof, disposable type of today. This gave parents a pretty strong incentive to get them out of nappies as soon as possible, because the nappies were such a pain in the arse (pardon the pun) to use. These days, it’s almost easier to leave them in nappies than go through the whole rigmarole of potty training early on… but back to the Mole.
She’s been telling me “Mummy, I done a pooh” in a matter-a-fact way for the last six months, so I took this as my cue and made a first attempt over the Easter holidays, when there were no playgroups on, and we could stay in the house undisturbed. The method went something like this: put her in pants and sit her on the potty every hour, to see if she goes or not. After the first week, I was going stir-crazy indoors, and every time we broke free to get some fresh air at the swings, she would of course have an accident.
We kept ‘Ben and Holly’ books in the loo for her to read there, and for the first time ever she was quite happy about getting on the toilet. Then she would do a little tinkle, smile the biggest grin across her face and say “I done a wee” in a surprised way. “Well done darling, are you going to do a pooh?”, she would follow with an incredulous “I don’t know!”.
At other times, she would stop and stare into space for a minute, then look at me dismayed and say “Mummy I done a pooh”. “Never mind sweets, we’ll clean you up. You need to tell mummy BEFORE you do a pooh next time”, followed by an inconsolable “Waaaaahhh”. Three pairs of shitty pants went into the bin, rather than face the task of washing them.
Getting to the toilet in time was the hurdle. If Mole was having a good time on her trike outside, she wasn’t going to interrupt it for the toilet. I wasn’t convinced she knew in advance when she was about to go either. The toilet trips were becoming a chore, I didn’t want to upset her or give her a toilet complex, so after ten days I threw in the towel. I put her back in nappies and decided to wait until Summer. ‘I‘ll let her run naked in the garden, with potty sitting next to a tree at the ready’ I told myself. Everyone says it’s easier to potty train in the Summer.
Well, now it is technically the Summer, except it’s a ‘British summer’, which means it’s not Summer at all. So…
Mole is very comfortable in nappies and showing no signs of wanting to get out of them. If I broach the subject of using the toilet it’s a flat ‘No’. So I’m putting it off again until she shows another sign of readiness / I have the will power and energy reserves. All my local friends seem to be advocates of waiting until ‘they are ready’, and then it will make the whole process quicker and easier.
Quick and easy, I like the sound of that.
Maybe once she is three?. We’ll have another three months after that before she starts pre-school, plenty of time to get toilet ready?? Watch this space.