It was Wednesday and my turn to do the nursery pick up. When I arrived, Mishty’s key worker informed me that he would be moving up to pre-school in six weeks.
“Does he need to be potty trained before he can go there?” I asked, hoping that the answer would be no.
“Yes, most definitely.”
“Oh right, of course” I said brightly, trying to hide the look of terror on my face.
“Do you have any pants for him?”
“Eh? Oh, er… yes” I had actually bought some the other day in an uncharacteristic fit of forward looking parenting.
“Right, bring them tomorrow and we’ll start then” she said firmly.
I blinked and nodded dumbly.
I was not mentally prepared for this. I knew this day was coming but I thought it would be in a few weeks, not less than 24 hours. I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a truck filled with poo hurtling towards it at a million miles an hour- things were gonna get messy.
The next morning, I packed five changes of clothes and cajoled Mishty into his new big boy dinosaur pants, praying for miracles.
When I picked him up, he was in different clothes. Three accidents only, they said positively, handing me a bag stuffed with wee soaked clothes.
At home Mishty was already getting the hang of telling me when he needed to go. The only problem was that once on the potty his pee would shoot out like a water cannon, spraying everywhere except inside it. I was left cleaning the floor, the mats, the potty, his bum and his legs EVERY TIME. Occasionally he’d even get it on his face.
Did I forget to mention that day one of potty training also conveniently coincided with Hubby going away for the weekend with his family? I dropped him off at the in-laws that evening as it was an early morning flight on Friday. I had hoped that Mishty would just fall asleep in the car on the way back. No such luck. He chose the one evening when I was on my own to projectile vomit just as we were five minutes away from home.
It was impressive that one so small could spew so much. Mishty began whining for daddy. I nearly joined in too as I spent the rest of the night cleaning chunks of sick off Mishty, the car seat, his clothes, and the floor of the car.
The next morning, a tired Mishty didn’t want to go to nursery or get out of pull ups. There was a stand-off and almost an hour late, we finally arrived. Another day and another three changes of clothes later, I still had no idea how to get him to pee in the potty.
Over the weekend I stayed with my parents and met up with some friends for moral support. I rocked up at my friend’s house looking like I’d come to stay for a month with potty in tow and weighed down by an overflowing changing bag. There was tea, toys and a few tantrums but the important thing was that we managed to go to the bathroom in time and there was pee almost in the potty.
Afterwards, I dumped all the spare clothes at my parents and went for a quick coffee to another friend’s. Just as we arrived, Mishty told me he needed to go and then promptly gushed forth a tide of wee of such epic proportions that he flooded my friend’s hallway. The best thing about friends with kids is that there’s always an abundance of wipes and understanding. Coffee turned into dinner and with no spare clothes left, we were entering dangerous territory.
So obviously it happened again. He told me just as he started peeing but at least this time we were in the garden. I couldn’t handle any more accidents so he ended up back in nappies and a pair of girls jogging bottoms. The rest of the evening was spent getting intimately acquainted with their bathroom – two showers, several false alarms, three tiny drops and another full gush. Tiring work.
On Sunday Hubby was back and I told him to take over as I was exhausted. He came out of the bathroom irritatingly smug. No mess for him. WHAT?! The secret to success is to push the willy down so wee is directed into the potty. Obvious. I stared at him. It’s only bloody obvious if you have one! How was I supposed to know that?
Things improved after that but then he dropped a clanger. Literally. He pooped his pants. I fought the overwhelming urge to just throw them away (I figured this might be a frequent thing and then I’d not have enough pants left) and ran to the bathroom but in my haste the poo fell out. I gave a blood curdling scream and then yelled dramatically at everyone to stay back. There was now a slug like turd lying in the middle of the bathroom floor. This was truly the stuff of nightmares. With every muscle tensed and my gag reflexes working overtime, I donned some gloves and stoically picked it up but it was too squishy and broke apart. I had to scrape the remains off the floor before flushing it all away. Subsequently, I now suffer from PTSD.*
Aside from that unfortunate mishap and the occasional wet fart, Mishty turned out to be a quick learner and within a couple of weeks was fully toilet trained.
People will tell you that potty training isn’t that bad. They are lying. You will see things that you can’t unsee. You will smell things that will linger in your nose for days. You will go through a month’s supply of toilet roll and wipes in two days. You will be haunted and exhausted, until one day it’s all over. The poo finally goes in the potty and you experience a dizzying euphoria that no one else could ever understand.
The battlefield of the potty – you will survive but not unscathed.
*Potty-training stress disorder