For anyone that has a toddler, they will, or are about to know that shit stained, hair pulling adventure that is toilet training. My partner and myself have a now 3/1/2 year old boy, who i am very proud to say is now totally potty trained…. Good bye nappies!!! If only that were the case, i have been talked into having another one of these things, but that is a story for another time.
The Early Days
We began our journey nearly a year ago to the day. My partners love for everything pirate had driven her to purchase a pirate themed potty training book, complete with sticker chart and hat! Arrrrrr!!
Excellent, we had a theme, we had time, we had toddler interest. We had a everything set for a smooth transition from nappies to the porcelain hole of dreams. What we didn’t expect was just how long and arduous a road we had ahead of us, not even Jack Sparrow himself could have prepared us for the murky waters ahead.
So, we set sail one unassuming evening, i would be the captain of the ship. We decided it would be better to make this a boys thing to begin with. Off we went after dinner, up to the bathroom, our toddler, pirate hat adorned, perched atop his new shiny green potty. Everything was going great, and i began to read the book. (without pissing myself with laughter) I had my surly pirate accent down pat, “Prepare to be boarded!” we yelled. He didnt go that first time, but did not protest either. We thought this showed promise…
For the next few weeks we sat, every night, waiting in anticipation. Then finally, he pee’ed!! Straight down into Davey Jones’ locker, take that. With joy and excitement we congratulated him. He was particularly impressed with the jolly rodger sticker now pinned to his hat. What a good job.
At this point, you are probably thinking, great stuff, we are almost there. Well, the 2ft tall first mate had other ideas.
We are still not sure to this day what had happened. But, for some unknown reason he had just stopped going. Lost total interest. We trolled over countless pages online searching for an answer. The general message of the majority was to let it go, he will become interested again. Ok, we went with that, it required no additional effort, see how it goes.
Months past, every now and then one of us would mention the potty, only to fall on deaf ears. That was it, his 3rd birthday now closing in, we had to take some action..
Potty Training v2.0
We started again, just mentioning the potty a little bit more every day. We were soon to receive a response from our first mate. However, not the response we had wanted, or came prepared for. Now, even the quietest mention of the potty was met with ferocious opposition. Not the standard toddler protest, more a Game of Thrones esk Trial by Combat. What had gone wrong…
At first, we thought he must be scared of the potty, or perhaps scared of that little bit of independence he could now see over the toy clad horizon. Either way, the situation was hopeless. We rolled back our approach, went to the shops and got him to pick out some underwear, Disney’s Cars was the pick of the bunch in his eyes. Ok awesome, if he likes these he might just wear them, he picked them right?
Oh so wrong we were. Being the clever little bugger that he is, he soon connected the dots. “They are onto me, these underwear things mean they are trying that potty business again”.
Now the underwear were met with the same ear piercing protests.
I even spent an entire day, at the advice of some online resource, sitting him down on the potty every 1/2 hour for a day. So i did, all day on a Saturday. Nothing, not even a drop of liquid yellow gold. I gave up after he sat for 10 minutes, got off, then disappeared to his room. Not more than 2 minutes later, “im pooey”….. ARRRRR, OF COURSE YOU ARE!!!!!!!
Ok, abandon ship.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Many more months went past. My partner, reading potty training blogs, parenting websites, books, asking for advice anywhere she could find it. Me, sitting at work, wondering what we can do to win this battle. Then, it struck me, a battle is just what it was. Which is why we could never win, Hannibal knew that he didnt have the numbers to win, so he developed a strategy to even up the odds. Why couldn’t we do the same to the toddler potty army.
I started Googling again. But this time using words like ‘regression’, ‘protest’, ‘resistance’. Then i’d struck gold, i’d found treasure island!!!
The answer was not The Pirate Potty, it was toddler inception, and it made total sense.
We would make it appear like it was his idea to use the potty the whole time. Mr Cobb would have been so proud. It was genius.
So we began. Step one was to get our fortnightly fix of nappies from the shop. When we got home, we made him take them to the bathroom. We explained that wee and poo have to go to the toilet, and it was his job to make sure that happens. So, nappies, required for said wee and poo, also belonged in the bathroom. After some tears, he could not argue with our logic and moved his items into the bathroom.
Step two, we reinforced the “it is your job to make sure wee and poo goes where it needs to, and it is your job to tell us if you need a bum change”. We then let him be in dirty nappies until he told us, it was his responsibility, after all. We told him that we dont care if he does not use the potty, that is up to him.
Then, one morning while i was changing him, BOOM. “I should wear underwear and use the toilet”. I thought, noooo, it’s a trap. So i paid no attention, and continued with the nappie change. Later that evening i mentioned the conversation to my partner. It was time, we could feel it.
The next day, HE decided to use the TOILET, not the potty. That’s right, no cleaning that fucking plastic bowl every few hours, he was straight up there… Yeh buddy.
Just like that, it was done. We have never looked back.
– I write this for anyone who is having similar troubles. Good luck.