Wees and poos in

Potty training. We’re having another go.

The Boy recently turned three, and I had sort of in my head decided that I would have another attempt at getting him out of nappies soon after his birthday. If you are struggling with potty training, please read about my first attempt, no really, it will make you feel better.

I will write more about his birthday later, but for now the most important thing to note is that he got three cuddly Numberjacks. They go absolutely everywhere with him now and are even rivalling the much loved and abused Teddy. So one evening the Numberjacks were getting ready for bed, just like the Boy, and he presented them to have their nappy changed. I started pretending to change 3’s nappy when I suddenly stopped and said: “Hang on: 3, 4 and 5 don’t wear nappies! They’re big Numberjacks! They wear pants! And do you know what, you’re three now, and you’re big, so tomorrow, you can wear pants too.”

I put him to bed and gave myself a well-deserved pat on the back and a gold star for a) quick thinking and b) model parenting and c) exploiting the Numberjacks.

The next day, I spent all day mopping up floor puddles and changing his clothes.

The second day, I decided there was nothing wrong with bribery. He was awarded a chocolate coin for doing wees and poos in the potty.

The third day, he was good at doing wees in the potty, but I had to change SEVEN soiled pairs of pants, that just did not seem to bother him in the least. I had to ask him to show me the contents of the offending underpants, tipped off by the smell, otherwise he would have happily kept playing. He then took great glee in watching me tip the poo from his pants into the toilet and then he demanded chocolate coins. I had to explain that the deal was that he had to deposit straight from his body into the potty, with no intermediate stop offs in his pants. Not sure he’s got the message yet…

The days after that have been up and down: some accidents, some spontaneous potty/toilet visits, a lot of “Do you need the potty?” “No thank you please”, and a lot of requests for “treasure”.

I still have no wisdom to share, except that this time I am determined to see it through and wave goodbye to size 5 nappies (for now). What I do want to show you, however, is the most fantastic potty training book that we have been using. I can heartily recommend it – and I should add that nobody is paying me to say so. It is called Pirate Pete’s Potty.

DSCF4562It is aimed especially at boys and does an amazing job of taking both the adults and the child through potty training step by step: why it’s happening, what to expect and how to react to the things that might happen on the way. One of the best things about it (aside from the “cheer!” button) is that it starts by setting up Pirate Pete as the instigator of the potty training:

"It's alright for the baby to wear nappies," thinks Pirate Pete, "But I want to be more grown up than that."

“It’s alright for the baby to wear nappies,” thinks Pirate Pete, “But I want to be more grown up than that.”

This starts the whole thing off on the right foot: you’re not wearing underpants to please your parents, who seem to have some mysterious stake in the matter. You’re doing it for yourself, because you’d like to be more grown up.

Your potty is for doing wees and poos in, instead of in your nappy."

Your potty is for doing wees and poos in, instead of in your nappy.”

It also very clearly explains what the potty is for, and that it replaces the nappies. Finally, it suggests some lovely motivational peer teaching:

When the baby is ready, Pirate Pete can show him just what to do with his potty.

When the baby is ready, Pirate Pete can show him just what to do with his potty.

The Boy just loves the book. We’ve been reading it as a bedtime story for the past week, and I frequently get requests to read it throughout the day. He has added his own little details and has snuck in the Numberjacks as well (they each get to choose a potty after Pirate Pete has chosen his). When he presses the ‘Cheer!’ button, he also gives a little extra cheer for himself. All in all, it has been a brilliant tool, and it also helps keep him sitting on the potty for a bit longer in the hope that he might try doing a poo – so far no luck but I’ll keep you posted.

A final useful side effect of Pirate Pete has been that the book has provided the Boy with a subtle way of letting me know that he has had, or is about to have, an accident. While he is playing and narrating his play, suddenly I will hear: “Wees and poos in!” This is my cue to grab the spare underpants, trousers, kitchen towels and anti-bac.


I’m sure he will get there soon, but there is still a way to go before my days will be free of clearing up wee and poo…



15 responses

  1. Oh dear! Great post, but I feel for you, it is a challenging time. My eldest was 3 when we potty trained him and it took about a month (poos came nearly 6 months later!). I felt that he was a bit too old and clever and was deliberately refusing. The other two didn’t need any training – they just did it! So maybe you’ll have an easier ride with The Girl (or does Pirate Pete have a sister?!).

    • That is totally it – he is just too clever. Yesterday he told me he needed to do a poo and i said: right, let’s go to the potty, and he replied: “No, want to do a poo in pants THEN put in potty!” Hm.

      And Pirate Pete does have a sister! I think it’s Princess Polly.

    • I was terrified of starting potty training, but although it’s messy and tiresome it really is just another thing. Just learn from my mistakes and let Peanut decide when is the right time! All the big success stories I have heard from friends involve the initiative coming from the child. I just couldn’t wait any longer…

  2. I haven’t even thought about it for fia yet as she has shown so little interest. After reading this though I plan to leave it as long as possible. Patience really is a virtue and I wish u both jolly good luck. Ps does the book apply to girls as well?

    • There is a girl-version! I should really have mentioned that. I think it’s called Princess Polly’s Potty or something like that. After hearing me read Pirate Pete to my son, a friend of mine instantly went on Amazon and bought the girl version for her daughter. And YES dare to wait and wait until she takes the initiative. I should really have done that but patience is not my chief virtue.

  3. On reflection potty training for me was more stressful than giving birth. At least when I was in labour I had some kind of control and felt I was getting somewhere. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.

  4. oh love I do hope that Pirate Pete sorts it all out. But if he doesn’t don’t feel worried about pressing pause and waiting…my two were nearly 4 before they were ready – I tried my girl at 3 but realised it was me not her, who was ready xxx

    • Not sure whether to call it a success yet – wees going quite well, poos quite badly, although a few successes today. And I think you are right: I am the one who is ready now, he doesn’t care that much about being clean or dry. Thankfully he does care about chocolate.

  5. You’ll get there together, I’m sure! In the meantime I hope it’s not too tiresome and that your days are soon potty-trained bliss, if such a state exists! Great to get the Numberjacks involved too. Pirate Pete sounds great – hopefully I’ll remember the recommendation when the time comes in our household. Is Daddy on board?

    • Yes, Daddy and I are cheering the Boy on together. 🙂 Well, alternately cheering and shuddering in disgust at nuggets of poo on the kitchen floor…

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