The advice about potty training is always along the lines of: ‘Be patient. Do not show concern. Never tell your child off.’
Betty is fully capable of using a potty. A couple of days ago she effortlessly breezed through with a 100 per cent success rate. Yesterday she had four ‘accidents’, all of which happened seconds after I had asked her to sit on the potty, which she refused to do saying ‘there’s no wee coming’.
After the fourth time, bearing in mind I have stayed calm about all this for the last six months, I completely lost my patience. I felt I had been pushed to the absolute limit and I told her off, big time. I then put her back in a nappy, and went into another room and took some deep breaths.
Betty followed me into the other room and cheerfully said: ‘I want to put my shoes on and go outside’. ‘They have wee in them’ I snapped. ‘I want my pink Crocs then’ she said. I began hastily searching the house from top to bottom looking for her Crocs, which I had not seen for days. I barged into Tom’s office and almost in tears I said: ‘Have you seen Betty’s Crocs? Tom took one look at me and told me that he would take the afternoon off work so that I could have a break and go off on my own for a couple of hours. ‘Go and treat yourself, you deserve it - spend some money’ he said. I thanked him profusely, fed Dolly, and then he didn’t see me for dust.
As I drove into town I was feeling exasperated. Betty is an intelligent girl and she is nearly three years old (and apart from her big baggy bottom, is often mistaken for a four year old). She has proven that she can use a potty, so why oh why doesn’t she? People tell me: ‘She’s just not ready, leave it a few weeks and then go back to it’. I have done this time and time again, and am now seriously beginning to think that it we will never reach a point when she will be ready. I then began questioning my ability as a mother, and thought that I must have done something profoundly wrong to make Betty reject the whole thing so much.
As I wandered round the streets, speedily eating a Chocolate Orange, and feeling like a truly awful mum for being so horrible to Betty, I began to get things in perspective. OK, so Betty is not up for using a potty, and nothing will persuade her otherwise at the moment, but she is healthy and beautiful and funny and happy and bright and amazing with her little sister… so does the fact that Dolly will probably be out of nappies well before Betty really matter that much?