If there is one thing I can’t stand as a mother it’s P.T.P – Potty Training Pressure. Actually, I can’t stand the potty training part either, but I find the well-meaning (and not-so well meaning) comments of others and constant comparisons to other children’s progress particularly irritating.
“You and your sister were both toilet trained by eighteen months,” my mother commented eyeing Master Two and-a-half’s nappy poking out of the top of his boardies with a mixture of horror and concern.
“I was going to buy some underwear for him for Christmas, but we aren’t doing that yet are we?” asked my mother-in-law, using the royal ‘we’ when what she really meant was, ‘you aren’t doing that yet are you?
No, ‘we’ aren’t!
Don’t get me wrong – I’d love one less bottom to change and nappy to sniff to find the culprit of a sudden unpleasant whiff. And let’s not forget the financial implications of moving from nappies to underwear. I’d save a small fortune if I was to cut my nappy-needs in half. But am I prepared to revolve my day around watching Master Two’s face for every little grimace or strain so that I can whip him to the nearest toilet? Um…no! Cooking, cleaning, and playing with my three children, etc makes it pretty impossible to devote so much time and energy to this single cause.
Okay! I’ll admit it! Toilet training is one of my absolute pet hates and I am quite happy to put it off for as long as possible. Does that make me a bad mum? Most certainly not. (I can’t be the only woman who loathes this stage of motherhood, surely?) Training Master Four was an uphill struggle – but I learned that for all the blood, sweat and tears, he got there in the end (at three and a half) – when he was good and ready and not a minute before. And in my opinion, that is the key ingredient for happy toilet training- a willing and relaxed child.
So, imagine my surprise and delight when Master Two announced before bed that he wanted to go for a ‘poo.’ Stripping off his pyjamas and unfastening the tabs on his nappy he toddled happily into the toilet. Shunning the musical potty as ‘yukky’ and ‘baby,’ Master Two insisted on being lifted onto the big toilet. He looked so little perched on the toilet, gripping the seat tightly, with his little legs swinging. Then pointing a chubby finger at the door he told me in no-uncertain term to “Get out Mummy! Out!”
Hiding a giggle at his request for privacy I removed myself to the other side of the door and left him to his secret man’s business.
Less than a minute or two later a little splashing sound heralded the mission complete, followed by excited calls of “Mum, Mum. I done poo! I done poo.”
I clapped and whooped and cheered my son on for reaching this momentous milestone completely unprompted. Soon Dad and big brother had come to see what all the commotion was about. Master Two puffed up his little chest, grinned proudly and directed them to the toilet bowl.
It suddenly dawned on me, as I flushed the toilet, that I was also flushing my last excuse away with it. Apparently Master Two is ready to move on to the next level of independence. So it would seem it’s time to jump aboard the toilet-train again and ride its unpredictable, rocky rails for the second time. Wish me luck! Choo-choo! (Or rather – Poo-poo!)