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How you can still have a dry Jan this lockdown...

This gives a whole new meaning to 'Dry January'

Do you need a wee……or a poo?!? Yes, I’ve become one of them - constantly asking that dreaded question! I had tried to potty train my son when he was 2 years, 2 months, we lasted a day and after multiple accidents, my husband and I took the easy way out and branded him “not ready”. I can see now that he definitely wasn’t ready but when we started training him this time (at 3 years, 1 month) he had absolutely no interest in it and it had to be driven by us. (We, of course, would have not carried on and forced it on him if he really didn’t want to do it and it was going to have the adverse effect!) It had been nearly a year of seeing his friends using the potty and toilet, he regularly accompanied his friends on their toilet trips and even sat in his friends “deposit” once which resulted in him having to borrow some of her pink frilly shorts….but despite seeing all this he still had no interest.

With the majority of my friends having a potty trained their children I was inundated with recommendations of the best potty, reward charts, conversations to have etc. It’s very easy to get caught up in what your friends have done but I had to take a step back and think about my child who I know best and what would work for him. The answer was a potty which had a steering wheel attached with a horn that beeped, perfect for my car-obsessed boy! Partner that with packs of pants (a lot) each featuring different types of vehicles and a hell of a lot of smarties.

On our first free weekend, the pants went on, he immediately enjoyed being nappy free. We set the timer every 10 mins to go and sit on the potty in the hope we would catch one, and we did catch a few, which he was overjoyed at, but was that him knowing, or just luck? We had a lot of false alarms and many misses! He definitely was not one of those who got it in one day!! I wish I could tell you that I have the secret formula to training, other than constantly asking and getting to know the signs (holding himself and the smells), that’s it. When he went we heavily celebrated, not just rewarded, but talked a lot about how that makes him a big boy and he’s getting ready to go to school. After a couple of days, he had become accustomed to the potty (very transferable for TV watching and playing) but we felt we needed to get him to the toilet. We also were confused as to the position he should wee? Sit down or stand up?

My mum was telling me he should sit down so if he did a poo he was in the right position but then there wasn’t that distinction between the wees and poos! Everyone I spoke to was doing one way or the other. Because your child has been in nappies and you never see them go to the toilet you presume they wee all the time, therefore you keep asking them, but in actual fact, you quickly learn they only go every few hours. Poos, on the other hand, are totally unpredictable, for my child anyway! Fast forward a month and he’s nailed wees….but poos are safely in the pants… every time… WTF do I do! He doesn’t even seem to care, too lazy to sit on the toilet and wait. I’m not sure I believe that it “came too quickly” anymore. I sought quite a bit of advice from different people... the general consensus was that if he has nailed wees I shouldn’t put him back in nappies... just persevere...he will get it.

This had been followed by people telling me it took their child 7 months to nail the poos, I even had one quoting me a year. It seemed that there was a common theme with boys with the reluctance to go on the toilet. One mum even told me her son insists on doing it in his nappy so when he wants to go they have to take off his pants and put a nappy on. Someone explained to me, following advice they had received, that they struggle more with poos as they see it as a part of them. Whilst sitting on the toilet my son would watch “Poo goes to Pooland’ (Apple app store and google play store), a good explanation of what happens.

At that point, I wasn’t sure how much he was taking in, more enjoying the luxury of being left alone with the phone on the toilet (something I am sure we all appreciate). I regularly quoted to friends he was 100% there on wees and 0% there on poos, resided to the fact this was my life...then..38 days in it finally happened... he said he needed a poo.. and he ran to the toilet and sat on it... nothing came, this action was repeated 10 times then finally it happened. I can’t tell you the joy I felt! It almost, almost, cancelled out the fact that day he had been diagnosed with mumps and couldn’t go back to nursery having been off for 8 weeks!! (Again almost) He was as happy as I was, he enjoyed flushing the toilet and waved bye as Poo went home to Pooland. He received a reward, a car... which we had spoken about and he knew was waiting for him. 7 days later he is still doing well and receiving the rewards, it seems to be working for now. I’m sure I’ll find a way of weaning him off them as I did with the 6 am smarties for wees, and likewise, I am sure there are still going to be many more accidents.

I am no expert in potty training, it took me nearly 2 months to get to this point. I hated every minute of it. I found myself getting angry with my son which I hated myself for and resented the fact my friends’ kids had got it so much quicker. It took us 6 months to get a full week of poos in the toilet – and that’s reaching the toilet in good time! 6 months! it made me realise there is no set time our kids are going to nail this. I’ve got friends whose kids got it all perfectly in a week and I have other friends whose kids have been trained for years and are now regressing – yes the dreaded ‘r’ word we thought we were clear of! It honestly does just ‘click’! (appreciate you may feel like punching me, I had the exact same feeling when someone said that to me after three poos in pants in the space of two hours). If I had one piece of advice to give it would be that if you aren't seeing progress in the first few days, stop and try again a few months later! Don't panic there is light at the end of a very messy and smelly tunnel!

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