It’s driving me potty

laura slinn

Potty training. Two small words. One whole lot of damp, pants-wetting, pee-smelling trouble. M and I have discussed potty training E, and keep coming to the same conclusion: wait until he is ready. We feel justified in this, an attitude that could otherwise be construed as cowardly, lazy and based on enlightened self-interest, as this is what The Experts say. You know. The Experts in The Books.

It is also backed up by friends who have forced their kids into being trained early due to a number of reasons, mainly the impending birth of a sibling, less often due to them really wanting to spend their days mopping up puddles of piss. They all say don’t rush it, as it makes it harder and this, we agree, is practically scientific fact and we are right not to have done it yet.

We have had a potty in the bathroom for a while though, just in case the urge ever takes E. It gathers dust next to the radiator, with only the occasional outing into the middle of the floor when E wants to use it as a receptacle for catching his discarded socks as he undresses for bath time. I ask him every night before he gets in the bath if he wants a wee on the potty, to which the firm and immediate reply comes: “No.” Which is short for: “No. I am about to sit in a nice warm bath where I can be thoroughly entertained by watching myself pee in the water to my bladder’s content. Heck, I can even wiggle my willy so the pee jumps out of the water a bit.”

One evening though, standing there naked, he says yes. Bollocks. That has thrown me. I pull the potty nearer and hold E’s hands as he gingerly lowers himself onto the potty. On contact, he springs to his feet. “Too cold!” he protests. I suddenly get an overwhelming sense that we may have molly-coddled our son a tad too much. I make a half-arsed (excuse the bottom pun) attempt to warm it up by rubbing it, wondering if a Genie may materialise¬†any second. I put it back on the floor and E reluctantly reseats himself. Due to some ridiculous design flaw (in the potty, not in my son), there is a large raised curved part between his legs, causing his willy to stick up in the air. This does not bode well: one of us is about to get it in the eye. I can imagine the scenario eighteen years hence:

“So, E, tell me why you have always had a phobia about urinating?”

“Well, when I was two my mother made me piss in my own eye”.

I try to poke his willy back down, but can’t quite get it to do what I want it to do, which I would like to say is the first time I have encountered this problem with the male appendage but quite frankly, can’t. I poke at it again. E is, quite understandably, getting a bit pissed off with having someone jab ineffectually at his pride and joy and bats me away. Finally, I get him to reposition himself and we finally get tackle positioned correctly.

“Finished!” yells E, and jumps up. The potty is dry. Sod it. Let him piss in the bath.

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