In my short years of parenting, I’ve found the hardest thing so far, the thing I detest the most, the task I dread above all else, is toilet training.
I dream of a camp where you send your toddlers wearing nappies and they exit in undies. Completely toilet trained. I’d pay good money for that kind of service.
Plenty of parents have managed toilet training without drama. And to them I say, lucky you! It’s luck. And persistence. It’s timing and tolerance. It’s whether you have a kid who gets it, is compliant and interested. It’s how many Freddo frogs you’re willing to barter and how many “special” undies you’re ready to sacrifice.
If it were simply about a parent’s determination then my children would have been trained at birth. Some proud parents attribute their own skills of instruction and persuasion, which I find amusing given they have little control over their child’s bowel and bladder activity. You can coax and direct until the cows come home but if you have a child who is disinterested, recalcitrant or apprehensive then those approaches are futile.
For my first child, I heeded recommendations to wait for signs of readiness. I thought the longer I waited, the easier it would be. Stories of “trained in one day” and “no accidents” rang in my ears so I waited until he was almost three. They were right. He got the wee concept in a day. Poo? Four months. Poo.In.Undies. For FOUR MONTHS. I was beside myself. My mum assured me he would not go to school in nappies and she was right. He actually day and night trained all in one, over a period of about four months, so was sorted by a little over three. Well within “normal” range. Just a painful experience. Mostly for me.
I dreaded when the second child approached toilet training age but he was happy to trot off to the loo and seemed to understand the concept quicker – perhaps the older brother’s influence can be credited.
So, toddler number three is at the age where poo is just so disgusting (“human poo” my husband calls it) that the only place for it is the toilet. He showed so many signs of readiness but just when we thought a corner was turned, he chuckled to himself and pooped in undies. Again. No promises of “big boy undies” or “bush wees” would lure him. No star chart, no lollies, no stickers or toys. He couldn’t care less. It took MONTHS and we still have accidents and I’m really hoping I haven’t jinxed it by writing it here, but I think we may have achieved golden undies status.
When I was in the stinky sewers of toilet training my first, thinking I was such a failure at this parenting game because he just wasn’t co-operating, I came onto EB for some advice. A lovely member, (I’m sorry I can’t remember who but please put your hand up if it was you), mentioned the concept of the “Poo Party”.
It involved telling your child that if you poo in the toilet, it goes to a party under the house. Kinda gross. Kinda funny. And we all know kids love gross and funny. And parties, even if they involve poo.
So, with the inspiration from that idea, I wrote a little poem..
You are a big kid now
Learning to poo
On the potty, the big toilet
Or some call it a Loo
I have a special secret to share
It’s about a great party
Everyone’s poo will be there.
You see, when you do poo on the loo
It goes down a slide, yelling “woohoo!”
And under the house is where the poo meets
Mum’s poo, Dad’s poo and even brother, Pete’s!
They all get together, play games and sing songs
There’s hats and balloons and before long
Another poo comes sliding down the S-bend
To join in the fun with all of its friends.
But this tale has another side
Some poo will miss out on the ride.
If you do poo in your pants
That poo won’t get a chance
To dance at the poo party under the house
There’ll be no fun with all the other poos
It will be sad and lost and won’t know what to do.
So next time you feel the need
When there’s poos coming
Or maybe just wees,
Think of your poo and where it should go
In your pants? Or down the loo and below?
How has your & your child’s toilet training experience been? Any nuggets of knowledge (sorry, couldn't resist) you’d like to share? Comment on Kylie's blog.