THE advice in the parenting books, Internet forums, and from your paediatrician will make it seem that when it comes time to potty train, things will go like clockwork. But parents will quickly tell you that this is not so.
What's even worse, for some parents, is that with the pandemic, and some having pulled their children from nurseries and daycare centres, that extra help from the aunties to guide the little ones through the process is just not there anymore. And so, many parents have had to fight the battle alone, as they help their children make the transition.
As these parents below will tell you, it's not as easy as buying a fancy looking potty and telling the toddler to “go potty”. It has been a long and arduous, and somewhat embarrassing journey, for these moms and dads who have still not got toilet training right.
Michael Ennis, dad to 23-month-old Mya:
She goes to daycare a couple days out of the week, and we had to buy a potty for daycare and one for home. We figured that because the daycare requested the potty, that they were helping her potty train, and it was time to start at home too, so we tried encouraging her on weekends, with no interest. But one day she came home and was grabbing at her diaper, and was saying “duu-duu” in a fancy Peppa Pig accent, so I was like “yeah! No more buying pull-ups”. So I got the potty out and told her to go, and she sat there for a bit while browsing YouTube on her tablet. I became distracted, and didn't even see when she got up. It was when my older daughter yelled my name that I got up, rushed to her room, and found that the baby had left a nice pool of pee on her floor. The potty remained empty, by the way.
Nicole Patterson, mom to two-year-old Adam:
I realised that he was more likely to use the potty if I left him bare down there, so on weekends I will leave the diaper off, and put him on the potty at 30-minute intervals. One day we had some workmen at the house, so I didn't want to leave him bare, so I put on a pair of briefs, hoping that that would work just as well. Well it didn't— he went out back where the workers were, and went potty on the deck they'd just built, and one of the workmen walked in it. It was like cleaning up after a puppy, and I was so embarrassed.
Jodian Phillips, mom to four-year-old Liam:
This was about a year and a half ago, and I was potty training at the same time that we had just got a new dog, who had separation anxiety. In the evenings at bedtime we would bring the dog inside, and tie her to the grille at the back door at the foot of the stairs, because she wouldn't sleep outside, and if we let her loose in the house, she would pee everywhere. On this particular day I had bathed the baby and left him downstairs on his iPad, and had tied the dog to the grille before I let her out to use the bathroom for the night, because it was raining outside, and I wanted to wait till it stopped to let the dog out. I then went for a quick shower, and only a horror movie could prepare me for what I saw when I got back downstairs. One side of the baby's diaper was open, he had done number two, and was using it like play doh. The dog had also peed at the bottom of the stairs, and was sitting there looking on as the baby played in the mess. I cleaned up, after taking pictures of course, and it was probably the grossest thing I've ever had to do.
Ed Carter, dad to three-year-old Kaylah:
We realised that she probably had some phobia, or was embarrassed to do number two at daycare, because every single day, like clockwork, she would do number two as soon as she got home. When I asked the daycare, they said she probably didn't want the other children to see that she had messed her diaper up, and that's why she was holding it until she went home. So anyway, we figured it couldn't hurt to try to toilet train, since she was obviously aware enough to know when to go, and when not to. So we tried for a few days to put her on the potty as soon as she got home, but she would sit there and not do anything, then as soon as we put on a clean diaper, she would go in it. On the last day we tried, we thought she would have to use the potty if we just left the diaper off longer, but she went on the white carpet and just used the bathroom there, so we figured that she's just not quite ready yet.