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  • Gareth Ellis

Potty Training is Pants

Potty training is shit. Literally.

OK, it’s not that bad, but it’s still pretty frustrating at times. For the record, Rupert is only about two or three weeks into ‘proper training’ but so far he’s doing really well with the concept and seems to be embracing it as part of being a ‘big boy.’

We’ve had some successes, but we’ve also had some accidents along the way – but that’s totally to be expected.

Before Christmas, we took a bit of a half-hearted approach to potty training. We’d often say to him ‘Rupert, do you want to use the potty?’ and he’d just say ‘no’ and because we didn’t want to get into forcing him, we just accepted it. The key, of course, is not to force children so they then don’t resent the act of using the potty/toilet and then take even longer to learn.

At first, in an effort to speed things up we bought him some pants. They had cars and tractors on, his favourite things, so we thought he’d enjoy being a grown up. They lasted a day before he had an accident and came into me from the garden and said ‘Daddy, I did a wee wee in my pants.’ Of course, I didn’t scold him, but told him that accidents are normal.

Part of potty training is the journey. It’s a new feeling for kids, moving from just going whenever you feel like it, to having to control when you use the toilet.

One great discovery for us was that we realised that he was actually great at going to the potty before and after his bath. Not recommended for going round the shops, but recently, since he was ill (yet again) and wasn’t going anywhere, we let him stroll around the house with nothing on his bottom half. This was, for the most part, very successful. I can’t remember any bad accidents but for the ones we experienced we took them in our stride and shrugged them off to make sure he was comfortable.

From there we moved onto trousers, but without the pants. I guess this makes sense, as he may have been confusing his pants with his nappy. Again, this seemed to be a success (aside from a horrendous moment which involved peeling trousers off of him and hosing him down in the shower, but we won’t dwell on that!)

We devised a plan that he would get a little treat (a small chocolate etc) for when he did a wee, complete with a little song ‘Rupert can have a treat, Rupert can have a treat.’ The only problem with that was as we progressed to encouraging him to poo on the potty he still wanted a treat for the wees. Eventually, he won’t get a treat for either – hey, if I don’t then he doesn’t either!

He then started going to preschool commando, which felt a bit weird to say the least, but the staff were so understanding- I’m guessing they’ve seen these kind of tactics a thousand times over. But hey, it worked!! After a few commando days we moved onto pants and now here we are – a handful of accidents and a very proud Daddy!

Jess and I have now tried to speed up the process even further by buying a new toilet seat with a built in child sized seat, snazzy right? And recently he did his first poo in the big toilet. (Again, cue parents being weirdly proud.)

Like I always say with so many developmental things though, he WILL get it. There aren’t many adults who don’t know how to use a toilet – although the state of some public toilets will tell you otherwise – so I’m confident he’ll pick it up properly in the next six months or so.

Then all we need to do is train Emi. Hopefully, she’s watching all the bad habits so she knows what NOT to do. That’s a thing, right?

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