Toilet training! Those two little words still send chills up and down my spine.
At seven, my daughter is well and truly past that stage. But me? I may very well be scarred for life.
Every now and then a fellow parent reveals they’re about to embark on the beast that is ensuring your child can use a toilet at the appropriate time and I squirm in my seat.
But if you’re about to go through it, I don’t want to bring you down. You can do this.
The toilet training toddlers challenge
As with every hurdle in parenthood, it’s always good to know you’re not alone. Things definitely got a little intense at our house during toilet training.
Three days in and I was calling SOS. There were more than a few unexpected expletives along the way, mostly as I was swimming in puddles of, ahem, urine.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t keen on giving up the good old nappy in the first place. It had worked pretty well for the best part of two years. The tipping point – she just didn’t fit on the change table anymore. Trying to pull a nappy off with any sort of decorum was at best difficult and it looked pretty ridiculous.
It was clear she was ready – even if I wasn’t – for bigger things. So despite a flurry of mixed messages, I decided to take the plunge. Little did I know I’d be diving into a world that revolved around constant loo reminders, more washing than is surely legal in one day and many moments hot-footing it to the nearest cubicle like a woman possessed!
So armed with Gina Ford and a bucket of Napisan, there was no turning back.
Princess underwear not optional!
Where to begin when toilet training toddlers? Without a nappy is a good start, I suppose. Ferreting through her drawers I found those ‘Princess’ undies I’d purchased on a whim last year.
But as excited as she was to be wearing ‘big girl’ underwear, by midday I was inhaling disinfectant. ‘Poopy,’ as we affectionately call it, had been flung from one end of the bathroom to the other and smeared up her legs. Puddles littered the house and me – I was on the brink!
This went on for seven long days. Wake up, sit on the toilet, read countless stories on said toilet, do interesting things like paint child’s toe-nails on the toilet, anything to keep focused on the task at hand.
Eventually she’d convince me nothing was happening, so I’d escape to the kitchen for a swig of gin – I mean, coffee – returning to find something was happening, just not in the right places.
I convinced myself potty training was the most painstaking, soul destroying exercise I’d encountered in my short child-rearing life. (I mean Gina said don’t even take phone calls, what was this, a covert operation?)
Be patient, it will happen
I decided we weren’t ready! I had the star chart, but I was ready to down tools. What I needed was patience. I decided to persevere for one more week and on day eight, we had a breakthrough.
Suddenly, my girl was telling me she needed to go to the toilet before it was coming! Sometimes I’d find her sitting on the potty going about her business. I could have cried! In fact, I did.
Venturing out in public was still hazardous, but we were on the road to success! Gold stars all ’round, sister!
So to this day, as I continue to navigate the minefield that is motherhood, the biggest thing to remember when toilet training toddlers is, ‘don’t sweat it, it will happen, eventually… all in good time.’
Need some toilet training tips to help your toddler on their way? Check our article crammed with 20 tips to help your toddler nail toilet training. And if you’re not quite there yet, here’s how to keep your tot’s mattress wee-free!