Friday, 1 February 2013

Down the drain

Oh, the shame of it all! Three weeks into toilet training MM and she is - I can hardly bear to admit it - back in nappies.

I tried. I really tried. I read the "3 day potty training" e-book. I bought a cute little potty with turtles on it. I took MM to buy some underpants and got all excited about her being a "big girl", ignoring the fact that she was alternating between staring blankly and completely ignoring me.

And I did my research! I read books! I searched online! I came up with what I thought was the best of the best - the gems from each of the things I'd read, trimmed of all the nonsense. Sticker charts? Bah! I don't need that! And the "potty dance" that one expert suggested? Well, that was just ludicrous. Those poor mothers, I thought, lowering themselves to the level of silly dances and bribery. MM is a clever little one - I figured I'd just explain what she needed to do and she'd get it. Besides, my friends in mothers group had tried it and their kids were all trained now - no worries! How hard can it be?

It's clear now that potty training falls squarely in the category of "judge not lest ye be judged"...or "don't judge until you've walked a mile in another's shoes"... or another one of those preachy sayings. Five days in and I was doing the fricking potty dance. And covering MM with stickers. And trying not to show my desperation as I pleaded with her to come to the loo instead of wetting herself...AGAIN!

Here is the main thing that I didn't know about toilet training: just because the kid knows how to use the toilet, doesn't mean they will. Teaching her what to do was the easy part. Convincing her to keep doing it now that the novelty has worn off? Impossible!

Let's face it - nappies are pretty handy. You're hanging out, playing with your teddy, the urge strikes and - bam - off you go. A few seconds later and you're back to putting teddy to bed in his cardboard box and life carries on as before. But hang on - now here's mum dancing around waving stickers saying that I have to leave my game and go off with her for that whole toilet palaver? Joke's on you mum - it's not happening!

And the experts say that any force, anger, frustration, or punishment will just set the whole process back even further. So you simply smile, say "oopsie!", and calmly clean up the sixth wee of the day - which she did in the lounge room just after assuring you that she absolutely did not have to go. Then off you go to the toilet to go through the whole routine anyway just to drive the message home about where wee belongs. Nappies were starting to look pretty good from my angle too.

On one such trip to the toilet, around day 16, I let the forbidden word pass my lips. "Sweetie, would you like to put on...a nappy?" "Nappy, nappy, nappy!!!" she said, and immediately ran off to get one.

But we will try again. When I'm ready. It's not like she'll be going to uni in one. I assume she'll be taking her bottle though. But that's another story.

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