The best-laid schemes o' mice an men

Potty Time

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The ease and convenience of disposable nappies have been a guilty indulgence for me as a parent. Every time I put that nappy in the bin, so conveniently out of sight and out of mind, a little piece of me  (the ethical part) shrivels up. I’ve tried to pacify the nagging conscience with excuses and justifications, we are after-all part vegan, and that counts more than anything else environmentally speaking. But. So many nappies.

Any trip to visit my Oma inevitably began with an inquiry as to Curly’s toilet habits. It’s a bit hard to live up to this 99 year old’s expectations, she was of a hardier breed to my generation. Living in the Netherlands during WWII raising two children 18 months apart, one being very premature, then getting them toilet trained early as possible, because why would you want to be washing and cleaning cloth nappies by hand in a European Winter under the stress of a Nazi invasion.

Then there was my own mum. Much softer, but still hard-working and industrious. According to her, I just needed to put my mind to it with consistency and Curly would learn, just like she did with her sleeping.

The more alternative media suggested a rather complicated sounding approach, “elimination communication”. It seemed we’d missed the boat on that one and should have started it two years ago. Two years of catching poos and wees…I’m sure it’s great for those who’ve attempted this, but no thanks.

Mainstream media i.e. Google, told me to wait until she was ready, even with a list of “ready signs”.  There were even promises of three day potty training, complete with books, charts and DVD’s you could buy. Friends moaned about their children’s poo dramas, or remarked casually how their child just decided to wear knickers one day and that was that. Then somehow we ended up with three pottys and a toilet seat.

Well now I can tell you our toddler’s story from nappies to toilet because it’s finally happened. Curly is potty “trained”, how? Read ahead you who are tired of cleaning those epic, squished poos.

I made many mistakes. We had a potty in the house by 18months. Curly would scream and cry if I tried to put her on it. Even if she did sit down, it lasted about 5 seconds. ‘We’ll wait.’ I thought. At 22 months we attempted the three day experience, you can read how well that went here. Suffice to say, it was decided we would wait longer.  And wait we did. There were a few stern words to my mum, who kept harping on about Curly sitting on the potty whenever we came to visit.

A few months past two,  with little Immy no longer taking up residence in my uterus, I would let Curly sit on the potty occasionally, and she would practice the motions. She was starting to talk more and I saw this as a good sign,  and those poos were just too much! But still she couldn’t seem to match sitting on the potty with actually doing her business there. Cue frustrated mum every time I had to deal with the mega-poo’s. Again I pulled back, Curly seemed to be getting quieter and quieter about filling her nappy the more I pushed for her to tell me.

Then one day I decided to try again, we borrowed a bunch of kids books from the library, “princess of the potty” etc. I put a row of “potty toys” on a shelf for incentive and we waited. In one day I managed to catch a couple of wees, the next day a poo. After a visit to Grandma (with more encouragement from her) Curly was telling me she needed to do a wee! Suddenly I was running out of toys. The system changed to stickers and lollies, soon we couldn’t keep up with that either (and we kept eating all the lollies), but Curly soon forgot about stickers and incentives anyway, it just kind of faded away.

It’s been about three weeks now and Curly is in knickers all day, only wearing a nappy at night, she even wakes us up sometimes at night for wees. She takes herself to the big toilet and has a stool so she can wash her hands ‘all by myself’. I’m very proud of her, potty training had seemed so daunting to me, but it turned out so much better and easier than expected. Not sure I can pass any advice on though, it actually took me by surprise….perhaps just relax? Do the book thing? Use toys and lollies? If none of it’s working, then wait!

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