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Our house is in training – toilet training

1 Oct
I now know why ‘toilet training’ is referred to as training; it’s because learning to control weeing and pooing is gruelling, challenging and tedious – and that’s just for the parents. It’s no picnic for the kids either. We’re at day 5 of the regime and just starting to see signs of a light at the end of the tunnel. Just. But geez it has not been fun. We did it the hard core way. On Monday our near three year old daughter was in nappies. On Tuesday, she went nappy free (except at sleep time) and hasn’t been back in them since. We put ourselves into self-imposed exile for the week to give it our full attention. That was probably the hardest part, knowing that we could not leave the house. Now, I often spend days at home and it doesn’t bother me at all. When it’s by choice. When it’s imposed on me, the house starts to feel like a prison, and in this case, a psychiatric prison.

This week, I’ve been on the verge of OCD, or should I call it, OTD (obsessive toilet disorder). Every five minutes, I say to my daughter ‘Do you need to use the potty?’ I’ve said the word ‘potty’ more times in the last 5 days than I have in my whole entire 35 years of life. Even my daughter found it annoying. She just says ‘No thanks Mama’ (bless her for the manners). There have been accidents. Of course, that goes with the territory. But most frustratingly, the accidents have come literally two seconds after I’ve asked her if she needs the potty. I confess I have lost my sh*t a little bit, which is totally against the rules of toilet training. Yesterday, in desperation, I turned to the internet for advice and read a comment that has stayed with me ‘There is no room for punishment in toilet training’. I now understand why. The more disappointment I displayed, the more freaked out my daughter became about the whole deal. Mainly, we’ve tried to stick with positive reinforcement, lots of praise, stickers, promises of a bit of kid TV and M & Ms for each successful effort. However, after four days, the incentives were wearing a bit thin. I have now resorted to the ‘wee dance’ which involves me doing a kicking-style dance, stolen from the New Kids On The Block hit ‘Right Stuff’. I’ve also bribed her with the ‘Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book’. She adores it. So, I offer to let her have a look as long as she sits on the potty. That’s worked a couple of times. I’ve got one more ace up my sleeve. Photos. My sister told me of a friend who took a photo of her child’s first poo on the potty to send to Grandma. We haven’t got to that stage yet. But I’m not ruling it out. I’ll try anything to get this baby happening. But, as I said at the start of this post, I think we’re starting to make progress. In my mind, I’ll know she’s ‘got it’ when she’s the one telling us that she needs to use the potty. For the first four days, it’s been the reverse. We’ve been telling her when we think she needs to go. But today, there’s been a change. She’s gone to the potty twice, unprompted, and produced the goods, with over-the-top dancing and cheering and high-fives from us. I know she won’t be perfect for months yet. But I really think we may be on the verge of a poo breakthrough and not a “poo through” for once.