“Ouch.” I have been stubbing my toe on this bloody potty for months. I watch with a frown as it skitters across the bathroom floor and comes to rest by the shower. I wouldn’t mind, but the only thing that potty has had in it is dust. Oh, and a Play Mobil cowboy. He got lost on the way to the Sherriff’s office, apparently.
I have many strengths as a parent. There’s… well, nothing comes to mind right now, but I’m sure there’s something. However, I am confident in saying that potty training is not one of them. Just the thought of it makes me grit my teeth, stick my fingers in my ears and sing ‘LA LA LA LA’ very loudly. Oh, there you go, there’s one of my strengths: the ability to pretend stuff isn’t happening. Is that the sound of a huge boxful of Lego being tipped onto the lounge floor? Yes. So I will just ignore it. Is that the frenzied yelps of one son terrorising the other with a light sabre? Yes. What yelps?
You see, I have already been on the potty training roller coaster once. You know the one. It looks scary from a distance, looks even worse when you get close, it is full of ups and downs, you can’t seem to bloody well get off of it once you’re on and everyone’s socks end up getting wet. Or maybe that last one is just me?
I would like to claim full credit for potty training my eldest son, but really, I feel it only fair to give E’s nursery the majority of the credit as they did all the hard work, mostly as they got fed up waiting for me to do it. I am not a complete shirker: I did try. I remember one particularly enjoyable time when I sat on the edge of the bath whilst E was on the toilet, reading him book after book, waiting for him to wee. Just one drop of the yellow stuff needed to exit his willy and splash into the bowl, and that would have technically qualified as a success. I waited and read. Waited and read. Just one drop. Is that too much to ask? Slowly, my bum turned numb but I pushed through the discomfort barrier as the pile of books by my feet grew ever taller. I could have read him the entire Harry Potter series in the time we were in that sodding bathroom. Finally, I could stand it no more and lifted E off the toilet. The moment his feet touched the floor a huge stream of wee erupted. My will to live dribbled out of me and joined the puddle of piss on the floor.
So, I am heeding the advice of waiting until my youngest is ready before we attempt to get him out of nappies. The trouble is, I am not sure he will ever be ready. When asked about whether he wants to wear big boy pants and wee in the toilet, his reply is: “Yes. Tomorrow.” And so we have gently introduced him to the world of potty training paraphernalia. We have tempted him with pants on which Superman is emblazoned. We have shown him the Thomas the Tank Engine training seat. We have left the potty in the bathroom for me to repeatedly stub my toe on. But nothing. Not an inkling of interest.
We did get close, once. I asked B at bath time if he would like to try on the Superman pants and he readily agreed. I casually reached for a pair as I fist-bumped myself on the inside (not easy to do without looking slightly demented and injuring a major organ). He stepped into the pants and I started to pull them up. As they reached his knees, he started to scream. Just in case the scream was unrelated to the whole trying-on-the-pants situation, I edged them up a bit further. The screaming escalated and I reluctantly removed the pants. Bugger. He obviously isn’t ready to have a superhero wrapped over his genitals. Honestly, he doesn’t know what he’s missing.
I patiently explained what the potty was for, once I had removed the cowboy and most of the dust. B looked at the potty, then at me, and let out a rip-roaring laugh. I probably found this a little less amusing than him. When he had calmed down sufficiently that he was not bent double with mirth, I asked him if he wanted to try and sit on the potty.
“Yes,” he replied with a solemn nod. “Tomorrow.”
So, not the potty then. Let’s move right on to the training seat. Look, it’s got Thomas on it. And a track that you put your bottom on. B looks suspicious. I smile at him. Look, I can just pop it on the toilet seat… and you sit on it. Easy. B narrows his eyes slightly. I persevere. And then you just poke your willy down, and you can have a wee!
“Poke my willy!” he shouts and laughs excitedly. Again, I am a tad less hysterically amused about this than he appears to be.
I remove the training seat from the toilet and return it to its resting place behind the door with a sigh.
“Maybe we can try again later?” I ask.
B wanders off, disinterested. I watch him go. I will try again later, I promise myself. Well, when I say later, I mean at some point soon. And when I say soon, I mean probably not today. I then decide to take a leaf out of my son’s book. I will definitely try again. Tomorrow.