Monday, 8 July 2013

Potty training: a learning experience for both of us.

That time has crept up on me again. Some how CJ is now two and the signs are were there that she is ready give knickers a go. Over the last few weeks I’ve come up with a few reasons to delay it, holidays, day trips, parties but mostly it was just that I wasn’t ready. You see I’m not very good with mess in general and potty training is the ultimate in mess management. But I didn’t want to miss the window of opportunity, so I decided that when they came home from their last visit with their Dad we would get straight on with it. So on Friday we were in through the door, the nappy was off and the knickers were on.

There is a plethora of advice / theories / strategies on potty training. Pull up nappies, books, reward charts, stickers, fancy singing potties and who knows what else. All designed to make the process easier, or if you’re a bit cynical, to make you part with a bit more money. And with IK, we went for it in a big way! In fact I got myself into a right kerfuffle with the whole business ‘Was she ready?’ ‘What if she poo’d whilst we were in Morrisons?’ ‘How would I possibly manage the torrent of wee and poo that was about to surge from this small child’

So I turned to a good friend with two slightly older children for advice. She told me the best thing she had done with her second was to wait till he was really ready and could recognise the feeling of need to go, without her having to constantly remind him. It had made the whole process quicker, less messy and less stressful all round. Her words were wise and meant I decided to leave in IK in nappies for a while longer. So when 4 months later she asked me if she could wear knickers instead of nappies because the other girls at nursery did, she went dry straight away and has only ever had a handful of accidents.

However I promptly forgot all this on Friday and by the time bedtime arrived I was a frazzeled mess and so grateful to put a nappy on CJ. We had wee and poo in the knickers, on the chair, the sofa and the carpet.  Aaarrrrhhhh!!! I had found myself saying ‘Do you need a wee?’ or ‘Remind mummy when you need a wee’ about every 5 minuets which just upset CJ and she still wee’d everywhere but the potty!

So on Saturday morning I wondered if she just wasn’t ready and thought about keeping her in nappies. But I decided to persevere; I pointed out where the potty was, with more hope than expectation and then went for a shower. Much to my surprise, 5 minuets later, CJ walked in, sat on the potty and had a poo. No fuss, no bother and no reminding. A big kiss and cuddle for her and a light bulb moment for me. I had forgotten the wise words and I had been going about it all wrong. I didn’t want to ‘train’ her to use the potty when I told her to, I wanted her to learn to go when she needed to. I realised I quite literally had to let her do it in her own time.

So I gave my controlling side a stern word to give the poor little thing some space and a reminder of what my role was in the process; To show CJ were the potty was, gently reminder her if it been a while since went (and I mean an hour Emma, not 5 minuets), clean up any mess and most importantly congratulate her when she does well.

And she has done well, she had only one accident yesterday and today #veryproudmummy. Yes there will still be accidents and the inevitable ‘I need a wee’ usually at the most inconvenient moment, like when you’ve just put your shopping on the checkout or your stuck in town in traffic. But I know I will just deal with any mess, and maybe have to find a new supermarket to shop in!  

So I feel I can say that potty training has been a success, not just because CJ is now clean and dry in the day but also because she reminded me that as a mum sometimes it is important for me to relax and run with it and that positivity is always better than stress. Well done CJ, you clever thing.

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