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Toilet training my toddler almost sent me potty!


By Nicole Webb

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For the record, I consider myself to be a pretty calm, level-headed, take it all in your stride kind of Mama.

So when I tell you that potty training is not for the faint hearted I don’t say it lightly.

Three days in I was calling SOS.

It’s fair to say things got a little intense. There were more than a few unexpected expletives along the way, mostly as I was swimming in puddles of, ahem…urine.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t keen on giving up the good old nappy. It had worked pretty well for the best part of two years.

(We’ve just got bug-a-lugs to self-settle, surely I deserve a break from tackling any more baby-battles I reassured my apprehensive self – ‘but that’s almost six months ago!’ a little voice whispered back – so I figured there was only so long I could use that as my excuse, right?)

The tipping point – Ava just didn’t fit on the average baby change table anymore. My tall-for-her-age, two year old resembled Bambi, all legs, dangling precariously over the edge. Trying to pull a nappy off with any sort of decorum was at best difficult and it looked pretty ridiculous.

It was clear she was ready – even if I wasn’t, for bigger things.So despite a flurry of mixed messages, I decided to take the plunge. Little did I know I’d be diving into a world that revolved around constant loo reminders, more washing than is surely legal in one day and many moments hot-footing it to the nearest cubicle like a woman possessed!

No one tells you it’s like working in combat mode, on edge, ready for action at any moment. A simple squawk and you’re racing to your child’s side, did somebody say “wee wee?”

So armed with Gina Ford and a bucket of napisan, there was no turning back.

Where to begin? Without a nappy is a good start I suppose. Ferreting through her drawers I found those ‘Princess’ undies I’d purchased on a whim last year.

But as excited as she was to be wearing ‘big girl’ underwear, by midday I was inhaling disinfectant. ‘Poopy,’ as we affectionately call it, had been flung from one end of the bathroom to the other, squished between my fingers and smeared up her legs. Puddles littered the house and me? I was on the brink!

This went on for seven – long – days. Wake up, sit on the toilet, read countless stories on said toilet, do interesting things like paint child’s toe-nails on the toilet, anything to keep focused on the task at hand.

Eventually she’d convince me nothing was happening, so I’d escape to the kitchen for a swig of gin coffee, returning to find something was happening, just not in the most appropriate places.

I convinced myself potty training was the most painstaking, soul destroying exercise I’d encountered in my short child-rearing life. (I mean Gina said don’t even take phone calls, what was this, a covert operation?)

You’re probably thinking, I’m not cut out for this. I was too. Gina said a week.

I decided we weren’t ready! I had the star chart, I had the rewards, but I was ready to down tools.

But what I needed was patience. I decided to persevere – one more week…..and… on day eight, we had a breakthrough.

Suddenly, my girl was telling me she needed to go to the toilet before it was coming! Sometimes I’d find her sitting on the potty going about her business.

Hellelujah! I could’ve cried, in fact I did. I took a breath for the first time in over a week.

We’re still learning (venturing out in public is hazardous) but as far as I’m concerned, we’re on the road to success! Gold stars all ’round sister!

So as I continue to navigate the minefield that is motherhood, I’m learning the biggest lessons along the way and mostly about myself.

Don’t sweat it, it will happen, eventually….all in good time.

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Nicole Webb - to view all of Nicole's blog post click here

Nicole was a newsreader and journalist with Sky News Australia for a decade, before taking a leap of faith and a whole lot of deep breaths to up stumps and relocate to Hong Kong with her hotelier husband! A life changing experience, Nicole who was barefoot and pregnant at the time swapped the news desk and microphone for a change table and nappy bag to become mum to spirited toddler Ava. Two years on, Nicole enjoys freelance work as a writer, journalist, presenter, copywriter, master of ceremonies and media trainer. She recently started a blog about her often intriguing and humorous expat experiences.