The chaos of potty training and the mess that comes with it means I have sympathy for the parents who advertised for someone to take on the job for them.
They wanted someone to get the job done in just a few days, and the pay was pretty impressive. A lot of people were quick to judge, but let’s be honest, it is a pretty dirty job – not the highlight of the early years that’s for sure.
Having finally got my toddler potty trained – just about, I think, maybe – after being stuck in the trenches of toddler toilet warfare for a good few weeks there are a few things I have learned.
These are things that no helpful guide told me and that the “how to potty train in three days” strategy failed to mention.
1. Girls can wee on the seat too
As a mum to two girls I told myself I had an advantage over the mamas of boys. I figured at least the wee definitely would go downwards, into the potty or toilet bowl.
But this is not true! If girls sit in a certain awkward position the wee spurts upwards like a tiny fountain, coating their trousers, the toilet seat, the floor and their socks.
Yes, on balance I reckon boys have the whole getting the direction right thing much tougher. But girls can take you by surprise, and I’ve yet to find a position on the loo that guarantees my toddler won’t have the random water fountain wee. If you’ve figured it out, please let me know!
2. You can never relax
Sometimes, just sometimes, you either allow yourself to forget or accidentally forget that you are potty training. It’s these times, when you don’t remember to ask your child if they need a wee, that your child will definitely do it all over their trousers.
In addition, if your child has been holding onto a poo for a few hours, you need to keep on top of that s**t – excuse the pun – because they will release it during the five-minute break you’ve given them to have a walk around away from the potty to get things moving.
3. Dirty nappies are a breeze compared to accidents in pants
With a dirty nappy – the disposable ones, of course, I don’t know how people manage with reusable – you simply wrap it up and bin it. Job done.
But when it’s in the pants there’s a whole scraping off, rinsing and stain remover process you have to go through. Plus it must go into the washing machine immediately or the smell will dominate your home.
The hardest hit of all of course, is actually removing said pooey pair of pants from your child in the first place. How do you get it down the legs without it cover the legs? Do you get them to lie down, what if they suddenly kick out and send everything flying? It’s like Mission Impossible.
4. Never trust your child
My daughter once told me she didn’t need a wee while she was weeing on the loo.
This taught me to never believe her when she said she didn’t need a wee. Always put them on the loo when you’re about to go out, because I can guarantee you will be five minutes down the road and they will utter the immortal words “I need a wee” just as you hit a 30-minute traffic jam.
5. You’ll be thankful for/wish you had leather sofas
My love for our leather sofas has increased exponentially since we had kids. The value of wipe clean cannot be underestimated.
They spill milk on there, I just wipe it off. They wee on there, I dry it and then disinfect it and move on. Fabric sofas are a different ball game altogether when it comes to accidents.
6. Children wee around the clock
There are no real set patterns to a child’s wee schedule. Sure you know they will need to go after necking a carton of juice, but they can also throw curve balls. This can include wetting themselves 10 minutes after producing a gigantic amount of wee on the potty. Where they keep it, I have no idea!
7. You don’t have enough spares
If you think you enough pairs of trousers, tights and socks, you’re wrong. Take what you have, do a count and then double it.
Read more about potty training: Signs your child isn’t ready for potty training
How to prepare for potty training success
Plus check out this potty training post from the lovely Surrey Mama
Was there anything that took you by surprise about potty training? I would love to hear from you.