In my own experience, I’ve found the term “toilet-training” to be a bit of a misnomer (see “The NDM Guide To Toilet Training“). Training a child to use the toilet is like trying to train a cat to sit: the cat will sit when and where it damn well pleases. Same with kids and their piss and shit. To put it politely.
So far, my toilet “training” with Tiddles goes something like this: I cheerfully suggest that Tiddles wear underpants only to have him start wailing as if the mere mention of the word “underpants” is a deep personal affront. I’ll then try to bribe him with the promise of treats but will be extremely lucky if he wears those damn pants for more than ten minutes before appearing before me, naked from the waist down and sobbing “WHERE ARE MY UNDERPANTS?” as if he himself had nothing to do with their removal. Of course, while I’m searching high and low for said underpants, he’ll suddenly cheer up and follow me around saying “Willy-WILLY!” in a sing-song voice and shaking his penis ’round and ’round like it had a tassle on it, until finally, he’ll slip over in a puddle of his own creation right next to the potty, inside which I’ll finally find the underpants stowed safely away.
It’s not going well.
You might be wondering, as many of my friends have, why I would even embark upon such a perilous journey with Christmas looming so ominously ahead. After all, many a PhD has been written about the lasting psychological scars inflicted upon older siblings who made a rush for the “mars bar” Santa had left under the tree, just next to where he’d spilt his “brandy”.
But listen, this is not so much a journey that I’m undertaking here with Mr McGee: it’s more an occasional day-trip. I take us on one of these day trips when the pressure to have him “trained” gets too much. Like when I realise there are less than seven weeks to go until he starts kindergarten. Or when there have been one too many children in the neighbourhood younger than Tiddles making their debut appearance in underpants. Or I’ve heard one too many remarks along the lines of “Oh, he’s still in nappies, is he?” – to which I usually reply something like “Oh, we all are! Who’s got time to go to the toilet?” and laugh ha-ha-ha-ha-ha but cry on the inside because nobody’s ever going to give me a plastic trophy with a sticker saying WORLD’S BEST TOILET TRAINER on it.
Of course, the seasoned mum-of-three in me knows that it’s not a competition. That if it’s not going well, it’s because he’s not ready. That today might not be an Underpants Day but maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be… Possibly not for my husband, however. But that, my friends, is a whole other story.