“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” Jack Kerouac
A motivating guide to toilet training. Except not really.
Use cloth nappies, not because they’re good for the environment or cheaper or because fluffy bums are adorable; but because they’re irritating and therefore you will want to be rid of them earlier. If you require more motivation to toilet train, don’t use liners for bowel movements. Scrubbing poo is highly authentic. Have I mentioned the hose you can attach to your toilet? Sometimes, when you’re washing the poo off, bits of it splatter. Yes, they do.
Take nappy-free child to garden. Wait. Point out the stream of urine running down oblivious child’s leg, try to avoid getting stream of urine in face as child whips himself around wildly trying to see. Flail around ineffectually when child jumps up and down in wee-wee. Because they will.
Be oh-so-slightly disturbed when child discovers he can purposefully wee on things in the garden. Watch him perfect this skill and text husband ‘Is this normal?!’ Yes, apparently it is. Close eyes for a second. Open eyes abruptly when you realise child is standing directly above your head, naked, hand in action position. “Shhh, go back to sleep” says child. DO NOT CLOSE EYES. Be unequivocally disturbed when child announces before bedtime ‘I promise not to poo on you while you sleep Mummy.’ Vow to never sleep again.
Attempt to redirect garden urination to potty. Be mildly freaked out by potties and the fact they are essentially a toilet in the middle of your living room.
Read colourful books about potty training over and over to child who pisses on floor and jumps in it. Drink wine.
High five child when they announce ‘I’ve done a poo!’ Check potty. No poo. Check toilet. No poo. Thus begins the most terrifying game of hide-and-seek you’ve ever played.
Realise that your floor has never been cleaner due to constant mopping. Smell hands and decide it’s not worth it. Remember how you wanted to do elimination communication when child was born and berate self for lack of staying power. Remember meconium. Mentally salute anyone who has staying power for elimination communication.
With intense bravery and trepidation – put knickers on child to leave the house. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Do not picture urine soaked car seats. Be prepared to dump poo knickers if required. Do not use favourite knickers, if dumped, everyone will cry.
Develop interesting back pain from holding child on adult sized toilets as child requires at least four minutes to feel comfortable enough to go.
Take child in knickers to laid-back outdoor restaurant. Forget that child requires regular toilet breaks. Give child plenty of water. Drink just enough cider to be only mildly appalled when child wees standing up on seat next to you. Think that no-one will notice if you just empty a bottle of water over urine puddled on floor and discreetly whip off child’s knickers. Offer to buy round of drinks. Later, when buzz has worn off, realise that of course everyone noticed child pissing on chair and the fact that there was URINE under the TABLE. Die inside, just a little. Swear to never drink again.
Take child shopping (I could just leave it there really) with grandparents. Tell grandparents that the time between child grabbing crotch and child urinating is approximately 3 seconds. Offer to buy coffee and wander away to do so. Scream at Grandpa ‘His CROTCH! He’s GRABBING it!’ Immensely enjoy the look of horror on your father’s face as he runs into the toilet, carrying child in his outstretched arms. Give him a high five when they emerge, victorious, ten minutes later. Child’s pants are backwards. Ignore. Prepare to do this five more times.
Take child to market. Watch child pause in front of prominent tree and pull down pants. Get there too late. Have lowering moment of awareness that there is nothing you can do but watch your child finish their highly public urination and try not to make eye contact with people. Particularly the people child is waving enthusiastically at.
Have intense emotional breakdown regarding the use of night nappies. Mainly because child ends up co-sleeping most nights. Ponder how one would feel waking up in wet bed not of one’s own making at 2am. Decide that it would suck. Realise that it DOES suck when you wake up at 2am in puddle not of your own making. Child sleeps through the entire fraught experience.
Realise that child has not weed or pooped on anything in a long time. Congratulate self and book appointment for physiotherapist. Back still hurts.