Apologies for the radio silence! We have been doing life for the last three weeks, and boy has it been intense!! Spring has well and truly sprung and we’ve started a new season of our own.
Days after arriving back from our break in Austria we all came down with a nasty stomach bug! It’s pretty difficult to maintain tranquility when you’re regularly discarding the contents of your gut! And as parenting goes it’s all for one and one for all! When ones sick it’s usually just a matter of time before the whole clan have got it.
As soon as we had the all clear I decided that if I didn’t take the lead on toilet training and just get on with it, my son will be the first teenage boy still asking for a nappy change! It’s been one delay after the other, well meaning advice to put it off as apparently too many changes cause disruption and confusion….and renditions of constipated toddlers in therapy sent me into a cold sweat…. sigh… so because our lives are full of change…. there’s never been a ‘good’ time!! I just needed to get on and do it!! And after months of agonising over the whole process….figuring out if he was ready…asking friends for advice, reading a few articles and even getting one of those scary exploitative parenting books that should be burnt not published….I just got on with it….and dived head first, thankfully not literally into the sh*t that awaited me…
Now I’m totally like a girl scout…I like to be prepared, and know what I’m getting into. For some reason toilet training just scared the sh*t out of me, excuse the pun, but the thought of a toddler throwing tantrums and relieving himself on my cashmere blanket in protest just brought me out in a rash. And while toilet training can be tough, depending on your child it’s not as bad as you might invision!
Firstly I’d like to address this concept of waiting until they’re ready!…Ready??! Ready to do what exactly? Get a mortgage, get an inappropriate piercing, what exactly do they need to be ready for?
Now some kids notice their parents and family members using the toilet, they’re curious, some find nappies uncomfortable or are simply fed up with the feeling of being wet, I get it, these are possible signs….but and I may be a little controversial here… when you reach a certain age and the child’s level of comprehension is at a point of clearly deciphering and identifying poos and wees, it’s more about if the parents are ready rather than the child!! That week we returned from holiday…I was ready. I was not going back. No matter what!
Toilet training can be exhausting, time consuming and frustrating. No one likes change, and ditching nappies is life altering, and if your kid is as strong willed as mine, the transition isn’t necessarily going to be seamless. If I could have paid someone to do it for me, I would have….no Fear Of Missing Out here….but alas I haven’t quite got it like that, and as I’ve told you before, my husband is from a region in Nigeria that prides itself on being prudent, so I’ve spent the last two weeks, tiptoeing around our apartment dodging glistening puddles in obscure places. Last week he decided to secretly relieve himself on my duvet… yep that was a pleasant surprise.
We’ve had full on cataclysmic tantrums, he fully articulated on a daily basis that he did not want to use the toilet and that was that. I was slowly losing hope and my sanity, picturing myself being found by my husband when he got home from work rocking in a corner clutching disinfectant.
Now we all have that straight talking friend that doesn’t mince their words and just tells it as it is. Everyone needs at least one! Mine gratefully gave me a brief list of essentials. Portable potty, spare clothes and some kind of reward to positively reinforce the wins! She said it could take a while, some kids a few days, some a few months….manage your expectations. Night times are hormonal and one day something will just switch and his nappy will be dry in the mornings. Well it’s true….it’s taken us the best part of 2 weeks and we are now, dry, day and night!!! We had “poos go to pooland” on loop, yes there is an app for this… and my son thinks it’s brilliant. Essentially you send poos to pooland…toddlers love it, go figure… So I can smugly say that I have run out of dettol, my home doesn’t smell like a zoo and I have a toilet trained toddler in my midst!
So what have I learnt from poo gate… know your child, adapt your strategy to suit your child’s personality and temperament. You won’t get a magic epiphany of flashing lights and deep voices announcing your child is ready… you’ll just know when the time is right for both you and your child, and whatever you do don’t look back! We stopped and started at least twice because we thought he wasn’t quite ready, probably doing more harm than good and creating unnecessary confusion.
Start the process with healthy optimism with a large dose of realism. It’s not easy, but it’s also not as tough as you imagine! You will be putting multiple loads of laundry on daily…deal with it, you will be cleaning up poo and wee multiple times a day…but there is light at the end of the toilet! They get it or give in eventually! Just go for it!
Toilet training like so many milestones in life, can appear daunting and insurmountable. But once you take the step and start you’ll be surprised at the outcome. Hindsight is 20:20 do something you’ve been procrastinating over, you’ll be glad you just got on with it!
I’d love to hear your comments and stories! Thanks for reading! Please like, share and follow me.