So here I am laying on the floor feeling my back starting to soak up the liquid mess I just slipped on. I'm thinking it could be one of three spills. 1. The drink bottle, because my kids have an obsession with taking the lid off. Isn't that the point of a drink bottle? 2. One of twenty water spills around my house from the tea party that I'm sure I said out loud to not use real water today. Yes boring mum I know but that type of play is for preschool in this house. 3. Or it's pee! The I'm having way too much fun to go to the toilet even though I have been dancing around holding onto my pants for dear life and saying "no I don't need to go to the toilet". Otherwise known as the lazy leak.
I can sympathise with the, I didn't make it in time accident but the lazy leak I have zero time for. My mop hates cleaning up the pee as much as I do and unless I have a shower, I smell it on me all day.
So I'm going with pee because it's toilet training season and this isn't the first time this has happened to me and I won't risk it being anything else. It's like when you notice a small smear of Vegemite on your hand or arm and go to lick it off but think twice because in your type of life there's a slight possibility that's it's poo..... Anyway, it's time to change again and clean up a puddle of pee... again! God I hate toilet training.
Everyone has a story, a method and a barrel of tricks when it comes to toilet training. You have probably heard them all and not one is the same but are all the only way to do it right?
There's the wait to summer method. It's smart because your toddlers are pretty much naked during the warmer weather so less clothes to wash etc etc. The problem is what if it's May and your child is ticking off every box that they are ready? Do you really wait six months and potentially risk missing your chance? That's also six months of nappies you may not have to buy anymore!
There's the three day method. Who wouldn't try this! Three days and your done... hell yes! But wait just a second. If this worked for every toddler on the planet, we wouldn't be stressing about toilet training or have a thousand different ways of doing it would we? It's like the five hundred books on getting your kids to sleep through the night. If they all claim their method works then why are there so many to choose from?
You see, every single child, including in your own tribe is different. I am sure you have worked that out by now whether comparing to your other kids or your friend's ones. There are children who fly through milestones, some that tick them off exactly when they are expected to and those who take their sweet precious time. I have all three of those so if I told you I didn't use the same toilet training method for all three of my kids would you believe me? It's true.
So you are listening to your friend tell you their son took three days to toilet train and it was so easy. Your other friend pipes up and says that her son was able to get all his wees in the toilet but literally pooped his pants every time. Another friend shares her daughter's toilet training drama of taking six months because she outright refused to get out of nappies. You get told to read this, try that and do a, b and c. It can be enough to put you off before you even start! Information overload is dangerous to any mum especially when we all like to display our wins and make ourselves look like the champions of parenting.
I can tell you my three experiences and you will see that there is not one way or the highway. No one mum can do it better than another and the big all important one. YOUR CHILD WILL NOT GET IT UNTIL THEY ARE READY! And I mean absolutely, 100%, no doubt in your mind ready.
Pay no attention to ages, abilities, genders and parenting skills. It's all crap!
Children develop their milestones over a huge range of ages. Some crawl when they are six months old and some when they are fourteen months. That's eight months difference, so why would you assume a toilet training age would be any different. Talking and walking are the same and all the other fun tricks they learn like discovering their penis for the first time!
So Jack was my first and pretty much the text book child. He was the golden baby and my first time at motherhood was quite cruisy. Makes some want to puke but don't worry, I got my turn later! Just before he was two, he would constantly take his nappy off and want to wee on the toilet. Having no idea what I was supposed to do with this new demand, I did what any smart mother would do .... I called everyone who had done this! I got told, try this and try that and boys were different to girls and so on and kill me now! I had just lost my dad, had given birth to a wild screamer and in the process of moving house. You know how we like to do stuff like this to ourselves all at once. We were weeks away from driving from Sydney to Adelaide for Christmas and back again, and there was no way on earth I was going to be pulling over every ten minutes for a 'maybe' wee. Plus for me, I just didn't want to do that before he was two and while he was still learning to communicate.
In January we arrived home and explained to Jack he was going to wear jocks and not nappies and that was the end of that. No three day training or being stuck at home for weeks. He was so excited to wear jocks and we made sure he went to the toilet at least every hour until we stopped asking. So yeah this round was easy and he was done day and night from that very first moment.
Then it was Eva's turn and I made the stupid mistake of assuming I had this parenting part in the bag and with Franklin my third about to arrive, I thought let's just get this done now. She was two and being a girl was apparently easier than boys. I couldn't imagine how easier it could be than training Jack but I was excited and ready to start.
I actually get anxious still thinking back to those months of sheer horror. So yeah, the pool of wee I was laying in earlier, that was my daughter's and not the only time that happened either.
Eva, who was way more advanced in her milestones than Jack was and spoke like she was in her twenties was a complete nightmare to toilet train. It was so bad, she would almost skip to me and with the happiest grin tell me she pissed all over herself and the couch and then turn around walking off with what you can only describe as a tail wagging from her sagging, wet knickers. Thank God that hadn't made its way out to say hi as well.
Day after day, month after month, GP visits and a UTI test later, I was done and put her back in nappies. I was sleep deprived from my new born and was yelling my frustration to a two year old girl who didn't care and was clearly not ready for toilet training. It didn't matter that she would wee or poo in her nappy and come straight up to tell me after she finished. While that should be a major sign to start toilet training, this girl was not going to go near knickers until she told me herself she wanted to. Three months later she asked to wear knickers and we never looked back. That was three months of getting back some sanity, not being angry, not having to clean wee and poo stains off the carpet and not hating my daughter. If I kept going and didn't put her back in nappies, who knows how long it would have taken and the state I would be in!
Now this is where our toilet training experience gets even funnier and more interesting. Franklin is my number three and the kid that takes every milestone at his own snail pace. You know the story of the tortoise and the hare? He was the tortoise and Eva the hare, and guess what? In their toilet training race, the tortoise beat the hare because we just waited until he was ready.
It was summer and he was almost three. Toilet training was in the back of my mind because all of his little friends were either done or close, but I was happy enough for that thought to stay right where it was. I could not be bothered and was still very much traumatised from Eva's turn. The timing was great being warm, him getting older and having no more kids in nappies made me think of all the things I could buy with the money I saved. Like a Thermomix! (that is a hint for you Cam, unless you want to go a fourth) ;)
We were holidaying with our closest friends who both have kids the same age as Franklin and were in the process of toilet training. I don't know if watching my friends run their kids to the toilet every five minutes or clean puddles put me off or made me question if me waiting around for the definite I am ready and want to do this talk was ever going to come with this kid. He wasn't like Jack and Eva and he wasn't talking yet either.
However a month before his third birthday and the day we arrive back from our holiday, he finds Eva's old potty as we are busy unpacking the car and putting everything away, and brings it to us with a fresh wee and poo that he has claimed he just did in it.
Cam and I look at each other and no joke are literally jumping up and down on the driveway with excitement. Is this it? Do we role with this and keep going? Does he understand what he did? Will he be able to tell us when he needs to go? We stood there for ages talking through what our plan should be and while we were in the midst of our debating, Franklin walks back out, the potty under his arm and another wee in it. This was happening!
A race to the shops for a new pack of undies, a few reminders every now and then and our chilled third child, that could say less than ten words was toilet trained.
So there's my three toilet training experiences. Not one the same and each completely different.
If I was to guess at the beginning who be the easiest to train out of a text book boy, an advanced in a hurry girl and a slow to the table Franklin, I would have absolutely chosen my daughter Eva. So it just goes to show that the stereotypes you read and hear don't have much merit.
Is it worth getting your knickers in a knot about? Oh my gosh absolutely not! Does it matter if your friend supposedly toilet trained their kid at eight months old and your kid is about to turn three? No way! Is it better to start because everyone is telling you to and then you spend the next six months in toilet training hell. Or is it better to wait six months and it take a few days? That's an easy answer for me but one only you as a parent can make for your own child. In fact I think this is one instance where your child can decide when its best for them.
If you have any questions about toilet training or want to share your wins, then feel free to email me at email@example.com or comment on my Face Book or Instagram post for others to support you. The links are below and will take you straight to my pages and you are also welcome to repost and share this blog with anyone that may be starting toilet training with their kids or going through a rough time with it.
Relax and take it as it comes. That's the best way to be a mumma anyway xx
©The Realistic Mum
If you have social media. Follow my Instagram or Twitter @therealisticmum or like my Facebook Page. So you don’t miss out on any new blogs, recipes and more, subscribe to The Realistic Mum in the menu above.
If you love children’s books then I have written a lovely little book on clouds changing into different shapes that you can find on Amazon and iTunes. Look for the title Look At The Clouds, What Can You See?