This is about the time last summer when one fine day I decided its high time to start Dhruv’s potty training now that he had completed 26 months.
The umpteen potty training literature, which included the various published materials from the library and the children centres as well as the number of hours i clocked in terms of watching you tube videos, that I went through in preparation gave me the insight that the right age to start potty training starts 18 months onward. This meant that I had already lost a good 8 months. But to my respite the literature also pointed out that summer is the best time to start potty training. The limited summer time that the UK weather bestows meant buckling up the belts for quick and fast paced action.
I admit I became anxious as if there was a challenge ahead of me and I had been preparing for a battlefield. I remember telling one of my friends that excelling in this challenge of potty training will be my life’s biggest achievement till date, my grades in school and university, my achievements in my professional sphere, almost everything notwithstanding. This was my first time of working alone for a milestone for my toddler. Previously, when I was busy working in the professional sphere my father was the one who helped my little baby in all his milestones whether it was his rolling over to his sides, his first attempts at sitting, crawling and taking his first steps at walking. But since I have moved to UK with my husband and my little one, I have been all to myself in getting the first hand experience at motherhood. So as I love to start every new thing on Monday after meticulously planning over the whole weekend, the chucking out diaper event had the curtain raiser on one warm July Monday morning.
The literature said buy a handy potty seat ( 2 in case if you have a double story house for both the floors), buy lots of underwears, buy reward charts, buy a step stool for reaching the basin for washing hands. I was prepared with all these bows in my armour as I had already considered it a battlefield.
The literature also talked about the process.
- Making the child sit on the potty seat trying to pee every 15 minutes ( it would have been genius of that researcher to have figured out this 15 min ritual) and after breakfast and dinners for poop.
- Making sure that the child is able to pull up and down his pyjamas and underwear before going onto the potty seat.
- Staying indoors for atleast a week when starting with the potty training scene and if compelled to go outdoors not switching to diapers and carrying the potty seat along with extra set of changeable clothes.
- Rewarding the child with lots of praises and stickers when he manages to get his pee or poop inside the potty seat.
·It also said there will be accidents for the first 2 or 3 days but following this routine the child will get potty trained in 1 week time.
Wow!! I thought, just 1 week is the time that it takes. Feeling confident over the research and preparations I had done, it was wartime.
How I started
It started with mummy and son going through a colourful book all about the fine nuances of this subject. I showed Dhruv his new underwears of various colours and characters to let him feel inspired to wear them and yes he was instantly. I beamed at my first success. I talked to him that from now on he will not be wearing diapers so we are throwing away them so he said ‘diapers feko’ ( throw the diapers). I beamed again. I showed him the potty seat, which though I had bought alongwith him but had not yet specified its use, and explained what it is meant for he understood that too. So after his theory classes it was time to quiz him about his learning ( like a true academician that I am).
Q: Where do the diapers go now on?
A: Diapers feko ( throw away diapers).
Q: Where will Dhruv do his pee from now on?
A: In the potty seat.
Q:Where will Dhruv do his poop from now on?
A: in the potty seat.
A wow moment surely it was. My little Dhruv passed his first exam with flying colours. I adored him. Filled with aplomb, it was time to move onto the practicals.
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I asked him to pull down his pyjamas and underwear to sit on the potty seat. He chose to sit down but with his pyjamas on because he got attached with the bright yellow underwear and did not want to take it off. Okay, I said to myself this is the first time. He will do it the next time which was not too distant. After staring at the clock for full 15 min, I asked him to sit down on the potty seat again with his pyjamas and underwear down. And this time, Dhruv understood that this is some kind of a conspiracy that mummy is upto in the garb of a game and by all means he had to avoid himself becoming the target and therefore came a quirk reply NO. I tried talking him out of it but my partner in action had become a distrusting foe by now not ready to acquiesce to anything whatsoever I said. I was adamant too for not giving up and with every 15 min that passed the atmosphere in the house intensified. Amidst all this anxiety build up I noticed that it had been 3 hours and all this concentrating on the ritual of my making him sit on the seat and his brutal denials he had not peed which was not normal for him. He had been holding it for too long and eventually I decided to give away and asked him to do it whichever way he wished and not hold it. He did not. And only when I got too tired dealing with all of this and decided to have a time out and leave the room, he felt comfortable doing it in the pyjamas. Later, trying to be positive, I told him it was okay that he did it in pyjamas this time but we shall try the potty seat again the next day. I think he must have picked up on the first part of my statement gladly ignoring the last part because the second day too ended up on the same note.
At the end of second day, there were 2 lessons learnt or enlightenment that happened. One for me and the other one for Dhruv.
I realized that the literature also pointed out that one must take cue from the child’s behaviour that if a child is not ready for potty training then simply abort untill a few weeks or months time before starting again. I accepted. ‘TO ABORT‘ was my decision.
For Dhruv, he discovered that one does not need only diapers to do pee and poop in pyjamas and one can comfortably continue doing it so, sans the diapers too, in the underwears.
Dhruv’s stubbornness won over my anxious persistence resulting in my increased loads of laundry and endless cleaning of the house floors ( thankfully my house does not have an extensive carpet area and for the rest of the area the room fresheners came handy to prevent stinking).
We have started to make some progress in this direction only now in his 33rd month and in the heights of winters but its still a long mile ahead.
The next blog will be about the various phases in our potty training journey.