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