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Potty Woes

Sally Wilson

We’ve started on the journey to Pottydom. We bought a potty a few months ago for toddler Eliza which, since it established itself in the upstairs bathroom has become amongst other things, a toothbrush holder, shampoo receptacle, hat and sometimes, rather impressively, all three simultaneously.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not planning to have a fully flushing, underwear-wearing little girl before the baby arrives in seven weeks or so – that would be madness and as I grow ever more portly and cumbersome, the lifting, heaving, wiping, cleaning and most importantly sense of humour required seems akin to Olympic sporting feat status.

Also, friends with children of similar age gaps have advised that if progress is made with potty training just before a new baby arrives, all that hard work can begin to unfurl once toddler sees the new arrival getting diapered and they simply decide to regress.

So, rather, my intention at the moment is merely to set the potty up as friend of the family, sharer of good things and of course, the best seat in the house.

I read somewhere that in the early days the potty just needs to be an exciting place for little ones where they can sit and do nothing other than read books or play, while mum or dad sits on their umm, bigger potty.

With that in mind, I set about creating a potty haven last week. Dispensing with the shampoo, toothbrushes and squirty bath toys happily home-making in the potty, I collected some of her favourite books and invited Eliza to join me for some quality toilet time in our teeny-tiny downstairs loo.

She didn’t need asked twice. She scuttled in after me and I showed her how to sit down, fully-clothed and get comfortable. This took a few attempts as she seemed intent at first on climbing into the potty to sit down. Meanwhile I struggled, maternity jeans band boing-ing around my ankles, baby bump bouncing off the sink, to correct her.

Finally we were both seated. I’d also read that potty training can be that much harder for parents if they’re a little awkward about toilet-related matters. Thankfully, this has never been a problem for me. I can delightedly (and inappropriately) talk about bodily functions for hours and still guffaw like a pimply 14-year-old school boy over farting jokes.

So while Eliza sat queen-like on her throne, sifting through her books, I explained about the common currency of potty and toilet families or the birds and bees of the U-bend if you will. She seemed enthralled and now takes great delight when we flush the big toilet, in bidding farewell to the various occupants of the bowl.

The trouble is that our downstairs is open-plan and this activity has so enraptured Eliza that at the merest squeak of the toilet door opening, she’ll drop whatever important block-building or tractor-towing business she’s engaged in and sprint to join me in the loo.

I’m of course thrilled that she has such keen affection for the potty but my bladder, being in third trimester turmoil, means that trips to the bathroom are required very often at the moment. It also means that said trips are usually short and sweet. By the time Eliza has got her books and playthings and finally, a bum on the seat, my work is inevitably done. But afraid of discouraging her, I feel I need to sit with her, maternity jeans once again at ankles in a show of maternal solidarity and support.

So I’ve started sneaking on slippered tip-toes into the bathroom, in a proper comedy-thief style, delicately shutting the door and hoping her little ears don’t prick up. They of course do and I can hear the scuffling for books, the trit-trot of running, little feet and then the banging on the door accompanied by chants of ‘Potty, potty, potty.’  I would, it seems, make a terrible thief.

Alas, looks like I’ll be spending the rest of my last trimester on the toilet, whether I need to be there or not.....