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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Going Completely Potty

Guilt levels having attained a new high I decided to take a week off to tackle at least one of my guilty secrets: the now desperate requirement to teach my wayward son the joys of self-sufficiency, a dry bottom and his very own Thomas The Tank Engine Pants.

Yes, it was time to tackle the dreaded potty training and it took new levels of self-awareness to recognise how long I had been procrastinating over this relatively simple task. How is it that I can face a boardroom of executives to present a new publishing strategy with relative equanimity, but find the potential resistance of a three year old boy to the concept of pulling down his own pants and aiming his willy in the right direction absolutely terrifying?

I'll venture the following four reasons for starters:

1. Absence of control.
2. Fear of failure.
3. Prospect of horrifying, pooey mess.
4. Familiarity with even grown men's inability to aim their willies in the right direction (naming no names).

Of course the reality is nowhere near as bad as the prospect, proving that it is almost always best to confront one's fears. And in the spirit of sharing I offer you my top ten rules of engagement for managing potty training:

1. Stock up on sweets and lollies. Rewards for potty success go a long way. By the end of this week Nathan will definitely be potty-trained even if this does require the complete sacrifice of his milk teeth.

2. Ensure that everything in range has washable covers and wipe-clean surfaces. Poo stains on the sofa covers is not a good look. And what did people do before carpets went out of fashion? Thank goodness for my wooden floors.

3. Learn to breathe deeply, count to ten silently and smile (falsely) whilst refraining from screaming, "The potty is RIGHT NEXT TO YOU so WHY ARE YOU PEEING ON THE FLOOR?!!!!" and instead saying sweetly, "Oh dear darling, have we had a little accident? Never mind! Better luck next time!"

4. Dress your child in easy-to-pull-down elasticated waisted trousers and carry copious pairs of said items as well as probably an entire bag-full of spare pants around with you at all times.

5. Try not to bend over in public places spilling the contents of your handbag on to the floor, especially if you have forgotten to remove the sodden pair from the previous 'accident' from your bag.

6. Exercise extreme levels of patience, saintliness and inner strength. Imagine Super Nanny and Mother Theresa combined.

7. Try not to compare potty training to a work project. Levels of likely success will not be comparable. Satisfaction on successful completion of the Potty Project will be astronomically higher and the rewards far greater.

8. Remember that Potty Training counts as 'Extreme Circumstances', as in, 'In extreme circumstances only it is permissible to start drinking at 4pm."

9. Related to 8, it is wise to have extra supplies of gin bought in in advance. In particularly extreme cases valium should be prescribed.

10. Did I mention the breathing?


Sali Mali said...

Good Luck!

Dina said...

Oh I wish your son luck ;). I know mine had a hard time at first. Well peeing was fine he managed after a couple of days, however the situation with the other end was far from being what he wanted , he never managed to tell me before he needed to go and I always caught him a teeny weeny bitzi late, when he's already under the table!!!! He is now four and during the night he's still with a diaper!! :(

rebecca said...

I had to share this one with you - my son is 2 and 4 months and last weekend I decided to start taking his nappy off when we were at home. This was fine on Friday evening (although he made a mess in 3 rooms) but when I took it off on Saturday morning he shouted 'nappy ON!' and then 'NO potty!' and threw the potty across the room.

Hmm, do you think maybe he's not quite ready yet?!

that girl? said...

Oh the not so fond memories! We too have wooden floors.... for which I was so grateful.. particularly during the three wee's and one poo in five minutes episode!
Found you via the mummy blogger carnival and will be back for more! Good luck!

Thames said...

Hi, just added you to the best of the British Mummy Bloggers on

The Christmas edition of the British mummy blogger carnival is Tuesday, please send me a link to amodernmother (at_ gmail (dot) com if you'd like to participate.

many thanks!

texasholly said...

Ugh! I feel your pain after completing this task on 3 times. Three horrendous times.