Having had a busy morning, waking up late and rushing to get the boys ready for school and get them there on time, cleaning the cereal covered carpet which I didn’t have time to do before we left for school.
Jaiden and Tyler had chosen to have a shreddies-flinging-fight with each other, and then waiting 20 minutes for the kettle to boil, only to realise I’d forgotten to boil it in the first place (sleep deprivation for you!).
I finally sit down with a cup of tea on the sofa in front of the telly for 5, maybe even 10 minutes peace while Theo plays with his toy cars, crashing them into each other on the windowsill.
As I take a sip of my now lukewarm tea, I get hit in the face with a squishy feeling something. I glance down beside me, and there it is, Theo’s nappy.
I look up to see him dancing in the window, in full view of everyone walking down our busy London street, with his bare bum exposed. This is the third time this morning hes ripped off his nappy and thrown it elsewhere.
He seems to find it funny to rip it off without notifying me, and run around the house starkers, peeing anywhere he deems is appropriate.
I only notice when I see a flash of bare bottom buzzing past me, or when I step into a puddle in my carpet with bare feet and have to crouch down and sniff to check whether it is definitely wee or just juice. (I really can’t be the only one who does that, can I?)
For the past week or so, Theo has pulled his nappy off at any given moment. I’ve tried sellotaping the nappy on, putting a pair of his brothers pants over the top, even putting the nappy on backwards!
But so far the crafty little monster has managed to get it off!
There Is only one thing I can think of, and that is that he must be ready for the dreaded potty training.
With Theo being the youngest of three children, I have been through this process before, but never this young.
Jaiden, being the first born, was a challenge to potty train. It wasnt something I had even thought about when the time came, and I didnt have the first clue what to do!
It was only when he decided to pull his nappy off in the middle of the park on a hot summers day, trousers round his ankles, and pee on the small bit of green in between the see-saw and the pirate ship climbing frame, which just so happened to be the busiest area of the park at that moment, full of children watching Jaiden in awe, and parents gazing in disgust, probably thinking how that poor little boy must not be looked after properly, with parents who let him wee wherever he feels to, even if it is in the middle of a public space.
It wasn’t even nearly as easy as all the parenting books suggested. We ended up having to use the old bribing technique to get him to go on his potty, which worked as he was older than Theo is now and understood the bribes we offered him.
Some would say that its strange to forget what to do, especially having been through it twice before. But its amazing just how much you forget, even with just over a year between them, and especially when their personalities are so different.
Tyler was pretty easy. He learned a lot just by watching Jaiden, and took to it like a duck to water. But he was also older than Theo at the time, and also understood more.
Theo understands alot. And he is capable of saying when he needs to be changed, and whether its a wet one or, in his words, a ‘stinky’. But I’m not too sure he understands the process of needing to go, then going on the potty.
Thats where I, the parent, come in.
There are many moments while parenting a child, where you wish someone had given you a fully detailed manual, with pictures and diagrams, once you had given birth to your precious little bundle of joy.
This, for me, is one of them moments.
So after another day of having to search under beds, in wardrobes, kitchen cupboards, and even the fridge, for nappies which had left Theos bare cheeks, I decided to go shopping for big-boy pants, a potty chair, (which I had found with Tyler to be much easier to use than the original potty), and plenty of cloths and carpet shampoo.
I skipped the pull-up training nappies, as I found with Jaiden that they just gave him the security of a nappy, and I ended up spending loads on them for nothing!
We settled on some Madagascar pants, and a Fireman Sam potty chair, and headed home to start our new routine.
The first day of potty training was tiresome for me, and lots of fun for Theo.
Constant asking of ‘do you need a wee-wee?’ every 5 minutes, rushing around after Theo when he decided to wee and run at the same time. Leaving a trail for me to scrub, and long sitting on the floor next to the potty moments, trying to coax him to sit down while I read him a book.
Hoping he would go on the potty and produce something for me to praise.
But at the end of the first day, all we had was a potty filled with mini-racing cars and the odd crayon, and patches of shampoo on the carpet throughout the house. Along with a small pile of wet pants waiting to go into the washing machine.
For bedtime, I put Theo in a nappy and a vest which pops shut at the crotch, hoping he wont pull it off.
I wake in the morning to Theos usual full of beans self, running around my bedroom waving a nappy around in the air like a madman. I climb out of bed, stepping into a lovely slushy patch of carpet full of wee. How nice.
So after we’ve dropped the boys to school, we start again. But today, I leave the pants off. Theo is more than happy to run around showing off his bare flesh to anyone who cares to notice. And after a repeat of yesterdays events, Theo finally sits on the potty and does the tiniest, smallest bit of wee.
Its not even enough to be called a ‘wee’, but its a wee none the less. I’m so proud, and praise him like there’s no tomorrow.
Once he sees how stupidly excited I get over it, he seems to want to please me more, and send me into this crazy woman who just wants to run up and down the street telling anyone who’ll listen that my baby boy has finally done a wee on his potty!
He fills his potty a few more times throughout the day, resulting in me dancing and jumping around, clapping and telling him what a good boy he is, along with a few accidents which are quickly cleaned up and not mentioned. Despite these accidents, I feel we are finally getting somewhere.
Over the next week, Theo continues to use his potty, and also continues to have the odd accident, but as time goes on, the accidents occur less often. Then comes the test. Can Theo stay dry during a trip out the house?
Armed with a changing bag full of three spare pairs of trousers, socks, and pants, and having taken him to use the potty three times before we even leave the house, we head to the park to feed the ducks. He does brilliantly! We’re only there for about an hour, but thats an hour of him staying dry. I’m so proud of him.
I decide to test a little more, and make a stop at Tesco express on the way home. Once in there, with a half filled basket, I notice him tugging on his trousers.
Oh please no.
He was doing so well!
I picture an embarrassing scene of mother and son in the busy queue for the till, with son proceeding to wet himself in the middle of floor while every pair of eyes within sight of us watches. I quickly make my way to the till, praying in my head that hes just fiddling and doesn’t need to go.
I pay for my items, ready to make a swift exit, when I notice a dark patch on his trousers.
At least there’s no huge puddle like the image I had in my head.
We’re only a few minutes from home, so as soon as we’re inside I clean him up and change his clothes. Accidents happen, its not a big deal.
Since that day, we have ventured out a good few times, with only a few accidents. I always arm myself with a change of clothes just incase. Its not over yet.
Theres still much more to this potty training malarky- having longer trips out of the house, being dry at night, tackling public toilets, using the big toilet but every milestone is a massive achievement, and I am so proud to say that right now, we are in a no-nappy-during-the-day zone.
It wasnt nearly as hard as I thought it would be, having to train a younger child, and I begin to wonder what the hell i was worrying about in the first place. I feel a big sense of acheivement within myself, that I must be doing something right!
Who really needs that longed for parenting manual anyway?
Its what being a mother is all about, learning along with your child through experiences. And enjoying, and laughing at every moment you can. Even if your child wees right in the middle of a busy park, or in the busiest aisle of the supermarket.
This post is an anonymous post written by an inspiring mum who wishes to share her own experience in the hope of helping others. I have full permission to share this story. Why not share your own story?