Saturday, 3 October 2009


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?


Iota said...

Thank heavens for Tom.

Elsie, I have been where you are time after time. I KNEW they were capable, but they just didn't/wouldn't do it. I put it down to laziness (why go to all that effort of taking down clothes and sitting on a hard plastic edge, when I can wee here in my nice warm pants and then Mummy will come and change me into some nice fresh clothes, ok she'll have a bit of a go at me, but what the heck? I'm quite used to that, I can just switch off and say "sorry mummy" and then get on with playing).

Betty doesn't strike me as the lazy type, but you may never fathom what is behind her reluctance (and I'm not convinced laziness was really it with mine - it was just my best guess). All I can say is that it DOES come right, and in the meantime, I think your positive attitude and chocolate-fest is all you can do.

Insomniac Mummy said...

I have an almost 3 year old boy who is fully capable too. I'm just trying to be patient and holding on to the thought that it will happen one day and we'll look back and laugh about it all.

Hang in there.


Metropolitan Mum said...

She is funny and bright and does know where to pull the trigger. I know it's easier said than done, but I'd try to take it as a compliment for raising such a smart little darling with a very strong and own will.

Potty Mummy said...

Sending positive thinking in your direction Elsie. I've so been there - well, I even set up a blog about it. Not sure what to suggest other than trying to ignore it, she'll go for it when she's good and ready. Sorry - would love to be more helpful!

sew hot said...

You know what I think is the coolest thing in your entry? That your husband looked at you and knew you needed a break and gave you one. If you've got that, you can cope with anything.

Maternal Tales said...

Oh honey - I really am so with you. Potty training is hideous - there is no escaping that fact. Some people seem to have an easier time than others (but we don't speak about them). Most people say that it is the single most testing time about being a parent to small children. Don't feel guilty about getting cross with Betty - I got cross with both of mine during potty training because, like you, I just couldn't fathom their accidents when they knew what to do. It is so darn frustrating. But, your husband is amazing (and so are you and your children), so yes, get it all into persepctive, be thankful for all the good things and Betty will get it eventually. Did you check some of the tips at the end of my potty training post I mentioned before? There was a good one that said put pants under a nappy. Then when they wee they can feel that they've wet themselves (because pants are next to their skin), but they still have a nappy on so there's no mess. Worth a try. Keep strong honey. Thinking of you xxxxxx

nappy valley girl said...

Hang in there. Littleboy 2 is also almost 3, an intelligent boy and knows damn well how to use a potty (he can even wee standing up in the loo on occasion). He's fine with no clothes on. But the moment I put pants on him, he wets them through. So we are still very much in nappies.

But I am comforted by the knowledge that his older brother was hopeless until 3 and a half, when he finally got it overnight.

By the way, your husband sounds like a saint.

Unknown said...

Thank you so so much for all your reassurance and tips, it really does help to hear other peoples experiences.

And yes, Tom is an AMAZINGLY supportive husband and must never forget that (he was grinning from ear to ear reading your comments!)

Am just writing a post about what happened yesterday - a new development in the whole saga!

thanks again x

Sparx said...

Hi hon - bit late with this but everyone is right... the spud has only just agreed that full-time pooing in the toilet is the done thing and I shouted at him several times because it was clear he was just being ornery. She will one day startle your own pants right off by going to the loo completely of her own accordd, I promise you.