Wee wonders ... Toilet training is a time ripe for trying – and sometimes amusing – experiences.

Wee wonders ... Toilet training is a time ripe for trying – and sometimes amusing – experiences.

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, lived a small boy and his mother. One day, this small boy – who was recently toilet trained – went shopping with his mum, sans nappy. The mother and son shopped, they snacked, and they visited the toilet in time, every time. Sound familiar? If so, let me know what that’s like.

Our little man reached the important milestone of being toilet-trained at the ripe old age of three. After many successful nappy-free trips in a three-minute radius of our home, I decided to take him to IKEA (I know, what’s wrong with me – this kid will give you the slip in a wide open field, let alone the maze that is our local merchant of all things Swedish). He was ready to go nappy-free … while I still carried the nappies, wipes, 12 pairs of spare pants and a prescription for Valium. 

He was ready to go nappy-free … while I still carried the nappies, wipes, 12 pairs of spare pants and a prescription for Valium 

I was so proud of Sammy when we got to the store and he asked to visit the toilet for a try. Try he did, and he was as pleased as I was when he managed to deliver a steady tinkle. We then strolled about for half an hour or so, with a few stops in the kids’ section to keep him motivated.

But then he suddenly broke loose, running off while cackling with glee. Within 10 seconds I’d lost all visual contact (though there was still some audio – he was laughing pretty loudly). After a fruitless five minutes I got hold of a staff member and had an all-points bulletin scenario going on. This may seem over the top, but it was IKEA; the place is a rabbit warren and this kid has no fear of being alone or of going off with strangers. Or sticking his fingers in a blender to see what would happen, if you get right down to it. 

After 10 sweat-filled minutes, I managed to finally track him down to his hiding place behind a stack of display doors. While I was busy telling him off for running away, he was giving me the smile he only does when he’s done something truly diabolical. I got closer and quietly asked what he’d done.

“I done poos mummy”.

Just between you and me, there’s a dearth of witty comebacks for such an announcement. I had no trouble confirming what he’d said after a quick step towards him, so I took his hand and turned him in the direction of the toilets. At this point I noticed the GIANT POO ON THE PRISTINE WHITE IKEA FLOOR. Yes, you read that right.  

I confess that my first thought was to grab the kid and run. Luckily for the IKEA staff, I’ve been raised with a better sense of responsibility than that. And luckily for me, I had a handy two-page brochure in my hand, which I was able to use to scoop up the thankfully solid offender.

Of course, as I was making a determined beeline for the toilet to deposit my unwelcome friend (the poo, not the child – public pooping is not a flushable offense in this household … yet), one of the floor staff actively looking for Sam rushed over to ask if I’d found him. I’d forgotten that half the shop was on alert.

I tucked the poo parcel behind me, said “Yes, thank you so much for looking” and shuffled off sideways to drop the bundle in the nappy bin. And I wish I could thank that kind lady for not asking why I smelled like a public convenience, because I could tell from her face that she was thinking it. 

After that we went straight home for a calming cup of tea and a sluicing.

The moral of the story? When it comes to taking your toddler’s newly minted toilet-training status on the road, bring your sense of humour along with the spare trousers. Because you’re going to find it the most valuable item in your nappy bag.

Thinking about toilet training your child, or have stories of your own to share? Talk to other parents in the Essential Baby forum.