Not Even A Sniff Of A Cigar

Today has not gone well. It has been Potty Training Day One. There are twelve pairs of drenched pants and associated trouser-items awaiting my attention (but in an isolated gleam of good news, half a bottle of thin bleach and a 90 degree wash has sorted the washing machine smell) as not a single wee hit the potty, although we did have a turd. Given that Harry is already perfectly potty-trained when his Chap Area is left undressed, I was hoping that he would work out that Underpants Are Not Nappies fairly swiftly. I knew it’d take a good few weeks for the strike rate to rise towards Good – he does have an attention disorder and frequent diarrhoea, after all – but I wasn’t quite mentally inured against the disappointment of 12 consecutive fails.

I had blocked out this entire week on the calendar purposefully for potty training; rather than deal with the stress of lugging porta-potties and clothes changes along everywhere, I thought we’d hunker down, sit tight, and get the sodden part over with at home. My bright and chirpy suggestions of ‘Wee-wee on potty, Harry?’ were met with a brief, impatient shake, and – seconds later – by a puddle. 

By lunchtime today I was on the edge of tears and visibly radiating stress – not necessarily because we were on pair number 6, although that wasn’t helping, but because Harry’s behaviour was just… ludicrous

Harry, for complicated reasons, had an unprecedented 10.45pm bedtime on Saturday, and rose at his usual 6-something-am. He then had a reasonable nap, but bedtime was the sort of 2 hour screamathon I thought we’d put behind us. This evening’s bedtime has been no improvement, and today… well.

I mean, yes, Harry is hyperactive, but we’ve become accustomed to his high energy levels. We’re used to the fact that if we take him anywhere public, there will be no relaxing whatsoever for the nominated parent. We’re used to the fact that if we turn our backs, he has managed to accomplish Spectacularly Serious Trouble & Destruction by the time we turn around again. That’s the Harry we know and love, sure enough, but by lunchtime today, I was actually sweating from the sheer exertion of keeping up with his demented activity, and starting to wonder if he’d somehow got hold of crack cocaine. Or a lot (a lot) of caffeine.

I think his finest moment was the 3 minutes I was on the phone. I could hear him scraping the chair across the kitchen floor, which is always a harbinger of Mess, and when I eventually rounded the corner at speed, I skidded unpleasantly and crunchily in scattered heaps of granulated sugar. Floods surrounded the sink, and a few fluid ounces had evidently found their way into the sugar bowl before he had thrown the whole lot onto the floor. I could hear every ant in Warwickshire strapping on their boots in order to come pay us a visit. Harry gave a guilty start and jumped away from the large cow pat of sugar syrup that he was in the midst of prodding with his toy broom, having quite effectively frosted himself from eyebrow to toes (especially his toes). Of course, I arrived just as his tolerance for icky textures was dissolving and panic was setting in, rendering his clean-up that much more of a goat rodeo.

He scuttled off, and while I was giving the floor a cursory swabbing with the mop – I knew more would be required later – he was, it turned out, busily ripping some of my stock from its cello wrap and adding enthusiastically to the design with biro. This completed to his satisfaction, he evidently beetled into the living room, pulled 20 or so DVDs off the shelf, and proceeded to tear the paper inserts asunder before starting to chew – chew – a picture of Woody and Buzz. When I caught him up and began to replace the DVDs, he hared off outside to commit more chaos.

This was a mere 10 minute sample. All the other 10-minuteses in today were horribly similar, and by 3pm I was obliged to perform my daily ritual of tying him to a chair putting him in his car seat, and going for a drive. Sleep swiftly followed, in which I could cheerfully have joined him. I hadn’t realised just how much my sanity depends on A) him sleeping 10 hours + nap, B) going out somewhere every day and C) not inadvertently sitting in lurking patches of toddler wee.

He blatantly wasn’t taking in a word I was saying to him all day, so in that sense I’m not surprised at the underpants casualties. I’ve decided to try and get his attention a bit more tomorrow, and have just come home loaded up with Hot Wheels, Transformers (Revenge of the Fallen, apparently. I remember when they were Robots In Disguise, but there you go), a nifty selection of emergency vehicles and a large box of wrapped chocolates – all of which are now perched very visibly on top of the 6ft+ fridge, which is the only high place in the house I don’t think – think – he will attempt to make an ascent towards. I make no blasé assumptions, however. The kid is half-spider, half-sherpa, and all devious.

What I am not looking forward to is his wail of indignation when he sees them and I explain to him that they must be earnt with Potty Wee Stickers, although I have also bought a handful of distinctly inferior tiny cars to hand out and head off the worst of the protests.

Tomorrow, I am hoping, will be easier on the nerves. He’s at School Fabulous in the afternoon, so my sanity is unlikely to hover as disconcertingly close to Overturn & Flip Out as it did today.

I think I may be hormonal. This was probably a bad week to pick.

Too late now.

12 Responses

  1. UGH! The space where my uterus used to be shriveled up just a wee bit further as I read this, and I may have got up half-way through to go and pay bottoms and assure myself that we were all, at long last, in underpants.

    You could not PAY me to potty-train another child, you just couldn’t. My middle one (the one Harry reminds me of so thoroughly) was four and a half before he completely got the potty thing down, and we’ve just finished the last of the potty horror with his younger brother, who is five in September.

    I thought I’d be completely gray by the time it was over and done with. Jaysus. You poor thing!

  2. Pat, that is. PAT bottoms.

  3. Oh, I am sorry. We just did that a couple … has it been months already? … ago. Our first day we went through a mere six pairs of pants, but it was so utterly frustrating to see him refuse to use the potty and then soak all his clothing a minute later. Fortunately the next few days did show a marked improvement and I hope that’s true for you, too. You certainly have a strong advantage since he’s essentially already trained (envy!) and just has to transfer that knowledge, so to speak, to another field…

    (Then a week or two of potty excellence was followed by total potty refusal, holding in of poop, etc. Fortunately it turned out that he just wanted to dictate the potty times himself as he’d learned when to do it. Ah, the potty, a chimera of an experience, ever-changing, ever-challenging. It brings out the lyricism in me, as you can tell.)

    These days the accidents can be measured on a weekly, not daily basis, and life is so much nicer and less stinky.

  4. Poor poor you. I would be running screaming for the hills to avoid inflicting bodily harm. You are of way stronger stuff. Hope the desire for material goods persuades him that dry clothes are the way to go.

  5. Hugs and prayers.

    Potty training was NOT FUN with either of my girls. I’m so glad we are past it. I think the fecal smearing was the worst ::shudder::

  6. Goat rodeo… Outraged butting and kicking with hard hard horns and hooves? Oh dear…

    You poor thing. And the sugar-fest. And the cards. And the wee….

    You poor thing.


  7. I never ever want children after reading that! Give me a nice teenager any day.

  8. Sending nothing but tea and sympathy. Potty training is a massive commitment from the parent and zero motivation from the child. Hoping for rapid penny dropping and drier floors at Hairy Farm.

    PS. Did you get my email re a visit in your general vicinity?

  9. We’re a bit more militant at our house…it’s not “Do you have to go?”, it’s “Time to go potty! Move out!” Seriously, though, if we would go every hour, we had fewer accidents. Also, bribery is key – stickers and M&Ms were our main weapons. But mostly…I let the daycare handle it, and it took about 2 days. We still have accidents, but not major ones – just the “I couldn’t quite hold it ALL the way to the toilet, so I dribbled a bit but still require an underwear change” type of accidents.

    Good luck. I feel your pain on the no nap thing, but worse times are coming as he gets older and decides that sleep is for the weak.

  10. My very evil thought the other day: I cannot wait until my daughter is a teenager who wants to sleep late. I will go into her room every morning at 6 am and say “It’s 6! Time to get up! Play with me!”

  11. Have you thought about standing him over a potty and just squeezing his bladder so it comes out? (Is it obvious I’m not a mother?)

  12. We are still waiting for our four-year-old to finish training, so to speak – we have a fair number of accidents still. So, don’t take my advice too seriously. We have three boys, and at least the older two are no longer incontinent.

    But, whilst in early training, I would (literally) set a timer and have him “try” every half hour. All the better if we were outside and he could “try” on a rock or bush.

    In our boys, it took them awhile to recognize the feeling of needing to go. They would insist they didn’t need to, then be incredulous when their stream was vigorous enough to blow the bark off of a small tree. Eventually, they learnt to recognize the feeling that came with needing to go.

    By the way, the youngest usually only pees himself while sleeping now. So, we’ve made some progress.

    Good luck, it certainly is frustrating.

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