(First published on The Contented Calf website on Monday 18th July 2011.)
It was all planned.
IT WAS ALL PLANNED!!
I wasn’t going to attempt potty/toilet training until BF was nearing three. I’d heard and read so much about leaving it as long as possible and not pushing it, that in my mind, as long as she was out of nappies by the time she went to primary school, I wasn’t going to worry.
One major attraction I could see over potty training a three year old rather than a toddler was that their communication, understanding, co-operation would be so much easier as they would be older. I could see a world with a lot less poo escaping out the potty, on the floor, on BF, on the bathroom mat, on me……
So this was Plan A.
But a couple of months ago, BF started regularly pooing in the bath. So I started to whip her out as soon as I could see her “poo face” (all parents reading this will know exactly what I mean) and sitting her on the potty – it was certainly a successful way of not having to pick a poo out of the bath every night!
And after a week or so, she would happily tell me if she needed a poo before or after her bath and sit on the potty to see if something came out. Most times it did. (The nursery also loved it as it meant they generally didn’t have to sort out any poos there.)
She was also showing signs of nearing being ready at nursery, both by taking the toy sink and sitting on it, saying “wee wee” and also by stripping (fully) naked on more than one occasion!
So there we were – wees in nappies, poos in potty.
Though by now, I have to say I was kind of looking forward to her being able to poo directly into the toilet as ‘slopping out’ a potty into the loo is perhaps one of the most gross things I’ve ever done, and I’ve had my fair share of ‘poo-st traumatic stress’!! And if I admitted it to myself I could see we were approaching toilet training territory, especially when she said “I need wee wee” and sat on her potty and did a wee.
Still, I had a plan (Plan B).
We would start on the Thursday after my brother-in-law’s wedding, giving me a four day run of it - before handing her back to nursery on the Monday. We were getting back on the Saturday, so the plan was that on Sunday we’d all go and buy some knickers, and extra potty for downstairs, extra packets of anit-bacterial wipes and a toddler toilet seat and build some excitement around it ready for Thursday.
But would stay as we were – 99.99% wees in nappy, poos in potty.
So although we took the potty away with us for the wedding weekend, I didn’t have any other plans other than bath time poos.
However, this new hotel environment seemed to inspire BF to ask to sit on the potty and be very pleased with herself when she squeezed some wee out! Plan B out the window!! BF had decided this weekend was the one she was going to start doing wees in the potty too.
In fact, bless her, just minutes before she was due to walk down the aisle with my soon-to-be sister-in-law in her starring role as one of the Flower Girls, she exclaimed “I need a wee”.
She was of course wearing a nappy, but she wasn’t going to settle until she’d been. So I picked her up, took off her pink pretty shoes (couldn’t risk little drops of wee getting on them!), pulled down the nappy (luckily she was in a pull-up one), lifted up all the little ruffles on her gorgeous pink dress, and sat her on the loo.
She did indeed do a little tinkle. Pants up, shoes on, hands washed and we were off downstairs to head down the aisle!
On to Plan C.
On Sunday we did indeed buy a whole array of colourful knickers, complete with many of her favourite characters. Her nappy drawer looks even more colourful now But although she was now at times doing wees in the potty, she wouldn’t make the transition to knickers until Thursday, after her three nursery days, as planned.
Stupidly though, as we were unpacking it all, ready to do a quick wash of the knickers before she wore them, we put out the potty. This immediately provoked a state of undress (in BF not Hubby and I!), and undoing of the nappy.
BF sat on the potty and did a wee – great! But then she would not stay still to get a nappy on her, and we’d run out of pull-up nappies. In fear of our nice new rug acquiring a ‘nice new’ wee stain, I resorted to a pair of toilet training pants that were close to hand, which have a slight plastic lining, and which she happily put on.
But what was I doing.....?!?!
WHAT WAS I DOING?!?!
This wasn’t the plan!
Were we starting now........?
Who knew? I didn’t.
Planless and in the words of Hubby, totally off-piste, we went with it.
She even wore the training pants to bed for her post-lunch nap. Every 20 mins or so we asked if she wanted to sit on the potty, which she generally did and generally weed.
The pants were VERY slightly damp whenever we checked, but I think that could perhaps be a couple of drips, rather than a full-on wee.
When she did have an accident, we certainly knew about it as we did have a couple.
One was when she was really upset/angry and full-on screaming.
And the other was when we were running the bath before bed. (And most mums can certainly relate to one or the other of those! :-))
Overall, it was a pretty successful trial run.
BF was back in a nappy for the night, and yesterday, today and tomorrow she’ll be in nappies at nursery. I have said though that when they change her they can see if she wants to do a wee on the toilet/potty, just to get her more used to the idea.
Then Thursday is “D-Day” (Plan D day as it turns out!)
Seeing as my approach has been far from structured or planned so far, who knows how it’ll turn out?! I’m a bit scared it’ll be a four days with everything totally wee-soaked. (This is where I need encouraging comments from fellow parents telling me not to worry and how easy it all is!)
Safe to say this whole episode of parenthood is just yet another of those great examples of how you can never plan in life, certainly when it comes to children.
You know what they say “The best-laid plans of mice and mummies often go awry!”
Wish me luck!!