Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Potty Training, Mark III

It is fair to say that potty-training is my least favourite part of babydom.  Give me sleepless nights any time, at least there is the charade of it being character-building and Dunkirk-spirit to get you through. 
With potty-training the competitive parenting goes crazy and it is very much about my personal failure as a parent.  Indeed I say potty-training, which gives the impression that some kind of system is in operation here, other than just plain parental begging.

This time around I am steadfastly refusing to read any more potty training books.  Let’s face it there are only so many ways you can reword the obvious. And I am silently noting down in my Book of Grudges all my so-called friends who regale me with tales of how easy their child was to potty train. 

You’d think with the third one I would have accrued some useful wisdom.  And possibly also have relaxed about the whole process.  With Child No.1 I approached the potty training with much the same naive enthusiasm that I approached weaning.  Any blimey, was I a pain in the arse about that.  I want to give myself a good slap now when I think of the anal-retentiveness with which I filled ice-cube trays with purees and food-planned into oblivion.  Two years on she would be eating fruit and veg under pain of death, which certainly showed me.

But back to the potty training, oh yes Child No.1 lulled me into a false sense of security with some freakishly early wees on potties.  But it took another EIGHTEEN SODDING MONTHS before we saw the mythical pants in residence.  Determined to stick with my hey-we’re-totally-relaxed-about-this philosophy, I instigated a ‘fun’ reward system involving cracker-type toys prominently displayed in the bathroom in brightly-coloured wrappings (an idea which - obviously – which had its roots in one of the Manuals of Doom).  My daughter being very far from stupid took no time at all to suss out that this system had amble scope to be spun out.  We are still recovering from the tat overload in her bedroom. 

Child No.2 managed to similarly con me into a diet of approximately three packets of chocolate buttons a day to elongate the process.  Which somehow then transmuted into ever-more substantial Fireman Sam items promised in a desperate attempt to bribe him into compliance.  Nowadays he still refers to his bathroom habits as his ‘toilet’, like a Victorian lady, and makes me wonder about the subliminal process he’s attaching to it all.  Child No.3 is having a bloody sticker chart and that is the end of that. 

Child No.3 nearing the age of 3 when mothers are officially allowed to start tutting very loudly indeed at the visibility of pull-ups, a phenomenon not massively helped by her extraordinary recent growth spurt so she looks more like 4 or 5.  Child No.3 has sub-zero interest in doing wees on potties or toilets, thanks very much, although she is quite happy to humour you by sitting in the bathroom for 3 HOURS and engaging in quite serious conversations about it all.  3 hours which clearly none of us have spare to devote to hanging out in bathrooms, even if we did really love peeling and re-peeling Peppa Pig sticker albums and reading Charlie & Lola books ten times is a row.  With alternating regional accent to try and add interest to proceedings. 

She also thinks that public toilets are the best thing ever, and over the course of the average day trip likes to expose herself to as many health hazards as possible at regular intervals of, say, every half hour.  DESPITE NEVER, EVER HAVING USED ONE OF THESE FOR ITS CORRECT PURPOSE.  This is the child that gets hysterical and insists on an outfit change at the merest hint of water/yoghurt/snot touching her ensemble.  Yet wet pants, no problem, that she can live with. She also thinks, quite rationally, that flushes are epic fun and on Saturday flushed one of the flush buttons down the loo.  Why is this eventuality not in the bloody manuals??  It might even make for a good anecdote if she wasn’t the second of my children to do this.  We are practically keeping online bathroom parts manufacturers afloat.

So, we now have about 2 weeks until preschool, and everyone’s tolerance for any more house-centric days are running low.  Odds of Mission Potty-Trained for September are looking minimal.

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