Warning: this post contains scenes of extreme defecation.
In my previous post I mentioned a serious bout of Cabin Fever, brought on by a poorly baby and an unavoidable month indoors. What I didn’t add was that, out of some bizarre stroke of madness, I decided to stick a week of intensive potty training on the end of it.
This did not go well.
After reading several enthusiastic chapters of The Gospel According to Pinterest, I became convinced that Toddler was “showing signs of readiness” (glancing adoringly at a toilet); that this was her short “window of readiness”; and that if I didn’t strike now the iron would be stone cold until she reached secondary school. So, taking the advice of some passionate American Super Moms, I locked us in for yet another week, with a spreadsheet (what else?!), a chart, a potty, some stickers and a lot of ridiculous dancing. All in all, Toddler spent four days in nothing but leg warmers, drinking more sugary juice, eating more E numbers and enjoying more screen time than she’s ever had in her life up until this point. Ever. According to Super Mom, however, this would absolutely ensure she needed to “go pee pee” lots and lots of times, giving me more opportunities to shove a potty under her butt. Peachy!
So, she stared at Peppa Pig; I stared at her. Husband and Tiny played along, but I’m sure they were thinking what I am now; this is ridiculous. On Day 4, Husband went back to college and I ventured out with the kids. Toddler had never “gone pee pee” before 11am the entire week, so I figured we could nip to Starbucks for a little company and get back home before the tide came in.
Wrong! Oh so wrong!
She wet three pairs of knickers and clothes before 9.30am. By 10am she was running around the travel potty, laughing and weeing all over her legs! At 10.30am, I was chasing her around Starbucks as she hid under tables, completely starkers, refusing to put on any new clothes; while Tiny cried in someone else’s arms. That is it! I bundled them both up and headed home, crying all the way. I don’t care how quick and easy American Super Mom says it is; or whether I’d misjudged the “signs of readiness” that all her grandparents had seen too… All I knew was that this “Potty Train in a Weekend” thing sucks and that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone! (I would, however, recommend Pirate Pete’s Potty book… Seriously awesome!)
Anyway, in the end we did it the British way… “meh… just leave it ’til they do it themselves.”
Three months later and three days into nursery, Toddler told me she wanted to use the potty. Naturally, after such an ordeal I told her, “NO CHANCE!” ( Like the good, encouraging Super Mom that I am). Until she begged and I gave in; but told her it’s all on you this time. No chasing! Three weeks later… she’d done it. No coercing, no juice, no sweets, no rewards… Just a smile and a clap and a big old pot of self-satisfaction. Well now, that was easier than THAT!
Fast forward three months, and I realise we’ve gotten a bit complacent. While she’s got wee down to a tee, poo is just not on the agenda. (We’ve been told that it always takes a while longer for them to dump on demand, but, as she begins to poo behind the same curtain at the same time everyday, we finally acknowledge that this calls for some parental intervention.) All in all, it’s the usual case of trial and error. I mean, it takes so long to start with that she gets a doll – an actual awesome prize- for the first potty poo… but this is a bust. The main prize is already won, so she goes back to her Crap Curtain and we go back to square one. Now what?!
Staying with some friends over summer, Toddler becomes obsessed with a certain ice blue dress and shoes (not to mention one of Grandma’s curtains…); and so we see our chance. But this time we are not being played for fools, oh no …. There’ll be TEN POTTY POOS before she gets a sniff of those new shoes!
And so… this Sunday morning, (three weeks hence)… the air is hot with anticipation; the atmosphere is tense. Toddler’s “Let 10 Go to Get it” Chart is covered with 9 well-earned, proud princess stickers; as every day of the last week we have been told to leave the room, while Toddler heads to the potty for a private poo. And each time, it’s sad to say, we have been genuinely impressed, as she presents it to us afterwards, like some star-baked showstopper, worthy of Pinterest!
(Of course, my Dad did point out that she could just be hiding the same one behind the curtain and fetching it out while we’re not looking; but I try not to heed conspiracy theories…)
No. My girl is on a roll; and today should be the day!
But oh… What a day…
It all starts when Toddler fills her potty with wee. After wiping and washing, I put the potty up out of Tiny’s reach while I clean my hands. Then, like so many sleep-deprived, well-meaning mothers before me… I forget about it. Instead of emptying it, I start feeding Tiny… When all of a sudden, Toddler declares she needs a poo!
Standing on her brother’s walker, she grabs the full potty from on top of the bookshelf and, in climbing down, manages to swing it so widely that the entire room is covered in urine! (Yes friends, including and especially, the ‘good sofa’!) I run to the kitchen, (with Tiny attached) to get some towels, only to return to one proud as Punch Toddler with a potty full of prize-winning poo!
Seriously; the entire room and half my clothes are already starting to smell… But we MUST have this moment, and we MUST have it well!
So I stick Tiny in the Jumparoo (‘cause sometimes that’s just what you gotta do!), and run off to get her sticker and her much-coveted Elsa shoes. I present them and we party and smile and jump up and down like there’s not wee under our socks… Then, as she totters off down the hall, I quickly strip all of the cushions and coverings from the sofa, (grimacing at the crumbs and the crayons and the big dead spider lurking underneath); trying to prioritise between the filling of the washing machine, the flushing of the poo, the hoovering of the spider and the scrubbing of the floor; jobs to be done before there are more. However, just as I am about to do all of the above, Toddler throws one shoe in my direction. She then waggles her foot at me and, with the most innocently expectant smile, asks, “fit?!”
She wants to play Cinderella.
It’s a split second decision but, honestly, if you’d have seen the look of pure joy on her little face… It had to be done. So, there I was Sunday morning…knelt down in wee, parked next to a fresh turd, surrounded by naked cushions, ‘squeezing’ an oversized shoe onto the tiny foot of one very happy Toddler, basking in her newfound glory. Suck on that Super Mom!
Later, Sunday afternoon came with the realisation that, (although we three had miraculously made it to church), I’d neglected to change Tiny’s nappy and he was definitely packing a pong . So, to make up for, it I decided to let him roam free for a while to air off, while I pegged out the cushions. Everything seemed calm, until Toddler shouted once again that she needed to go; but the potty was still disinfecting in the sink! Aaaargh! Desperate not to repeat the morning, I legged it to the kitchen; getting back just in time to see a naked Tiny standing over the washing basket, at just the right height to pee all over the clean cushion covers…
How is it only 1 O’clock?!!!
Ah well, you know what…
Who cares about the stickiness and the smells and dead spiders?!
There will come a time when it’s all long behind us…
And it might be a wee win in the world; but today, I’m gonna use it…
Because our two year old is potty trained… And she’s got the shoes to prove it!