Thursday, 24 May 2012

Potty mouth

G&T - almost 2-and-a-half   M - 7-and-a-half months

I am obsessed with poo. And pee. And everything bottom-related really. Yes, we're potty training. Well, that's the idea anyway. Mostly, it's just me mopping up puddles and maintaining a falsely cheery face while scooping up crap. Quite simply, it's hell. I have no objection to the mess really. I have three kids under 3. Mess is the default position around here. It's just that I can see no hope of it changing. They're just not getting it.
I don't like to boast, but my girls are pretty clever. Well, OK, I do mean to boast a bit. They're little chatterboxes, often surprising people with just how much they can say. I've long since stopped counting how many words they have. They have language. I'd just read in a mag about how, by the age of 3, children should 'have about 300 words, and put them into three- or four-word sentences' when T wandered up to me. 'Mummy,' she informed me. 'Yesterday, you went in a car. I went on a choo-choo train with Daddy and Morris. This is Morris here,' she added helpfully, holding up her monkey. 'We saw elephants and rhinoceros and meerkats,' G piped up. Not words. Language. It's not just that they repeat things. They understand.
I assumed I'd start training the girls by about 2, but when they were 22 months, along came M. And two months later, we upped sticks and moved across the country. Life kept getting in the way, and all my efforts were a bit half-hearted. The potties have been around, and G even managed a couple of deposits a month or so back. But then she went through a bout of constipation, and the potty progress stopped. So I decided to take matters into my own hands, and ditch the nappies. They proudly carried their 'big girl pants' home from the shop, and went to bed delighted at the prospect of the day ahead. Come D Day, on went Peppa Pig and Princess, and... nothing. The whole day, not a thing in the potty. Puddles in the living room, the playroom, the garden (thank God for the hot weather and the ability to just let them run bare-bottomed outside), soiled undies and even one ill-timed present on our bedroom floor... They just couldn't be persuaded to use the potties. They sat on them frequently, but they remained stubbornly empty. At one point, I changed T, telling her, 'Never mind. Next time you need a pee pee, you can take your own pants off like a big girl and go on the potty.' She showed up five minutes later pants-free. I couldn't find them, there was nothing in the potty, and I have no idea if and where she'd peed. It was exhausting. Oh, and I also had a grumpy baby to deal with. Of course, she'd chosen D Day eve to wake up countless times and end up in our bed, shoving me off the edge and preventing any meaningful sleep. And of course, she refused to do anything but stand up holding my hands. By the time they were all in their cots, I was totally wiped out, despairing to their dad and seriously considering giving up. But I couldn't. Not after one day. They'd have never been sleep-trained or learned to feed themselves if I just gave up. So on to day two.
M helpfully slept like an angel, and I woke up full of positive thoughts and potty dreams. Twelve hours on? Nothing. Not a tinkle. It's not like I expected them to just wake up and calmy ask for the potty every time they felt the urge. I was fully prepared for accidents. I just expected something. Anything. Some progress. Some hope. I know they know what's expected. Where am I going wrong? Are they simply not ready, despite being so advanced in everything else? Or am I the problem? Perhaps trying to train two toddlers and look after a 7-month-old is too much. Maybe I just can't watch them as closely as I need to. Just one tiny little wee in my plastic nemesis, and it'll all be worth it. So tomorrow, I'm abandoning all my principles. Chocolate stars bought and ready. Let's see if bribery does the trick...