When you get pregnant your life starts to be measured in days – how many days ’til your due date; how many days you were in labour; how many days you survived without sleep but nothing can prepare you for the ultimate countdown – how long until your little one is potty trained!
Potty training is by far the most demanding and demoralising part of bringing up your little darling – it’s a like a lottery but instead of hoping for a cash prize you are praying for a day when you don’t have to put the washing machine on or try to change your little one’s wet clothes in a car park.
Firstly you have to decide when to start trying – the internet is full of suggestions as to when your child will be ready ranging from when they can climb the stairs in an upright position to when they start hiding behind the sofa to fill their nappy. But at the end of the day it’s guess work – I am pretty convinced my son would have stayed in nappies until he was starting school so at two-and-a-half I decided we would give it a go! I have to admit my decision was partly motivated by the fact my son is very tall and I had started to feel awkward changing his nappy – he looks more like a four year old so surely he should be behaving like one?? Well, three months in and we are still battling to get one dry day. I have friends telling me to give up and try again in the spring (but we’ve come so far I think, surely D day (dry day) is just round the corner!) and others willing me not to give up (but they don’t have to deal with the endless wet and dirty clothes) and to cap it all my dear mother is firmly of the 1970s “you were all dry by 2” brigade which only makes me feel even more inadequate!
We have sat on the potty in the middle of the supermarket, up some very dodgy alleyways, which to be fair smelt like public toilets, and even in Santa’s grotto! I have become a bag lady carting the potty and Henry’s entire wardrobe around with me in a plastic bag ‘just in case’. I am on edge all the time and if he has a drink I can’t settle until it’s worked it’s way through his system. As I find myself washing out dirty pants in friend’s sinks I do wonder what has become of me. I even pleaded with Henry to forget the fact he can count to 10 and knows all his colours – “just learn to use the potty” I implored. If I could carry out some Men in Black-style mind erasing so he knew nothing but how to use the loo I would!
So as we battle on I can offer no words of wisdom or advice – our fridge is covered in sticker charts but I am still putting the washer on more than is good for me (or the environment!) The best thing I read on the net was something a GP said to one mum “I don’t know of any healthy 18 year olds who have gone to college in nappies” – watch this space we may be first!!