I’ve been meaning to do a little life update. Honestly it doesn’t seem like there’s that much news but actually it feels like I’ve been busy because we have been… (cue atmospheric music) potty training!
Warning: if you aren’t interested in our potty training achievements that this post is mainly about that so you may want to skip it!
Spoiler alert: It really wasn’t half as bad as I had anticipated. We waited until the early May bank holiday (an extra day of the weekend) so we could have 3 straight days of doing it. I’d heard so many horror stories from friends so I was thinking it would be awful. Also I read two books, both of which were fairly pessimistic about the process. (Lots of strict instructions about what you can and can’t do.)
Also for context B is 3 and a bit, and a lot of people we know (like his cousin 7 months younger) had already potty trained at 2. So I was worried he was somehow behind. Note we had bought a potty months previously and also a toilet seat so it’s not like he didn’t know what he was supposed to do, he just didn’t want to! He is not developmentally delayed as far as I can tell, but he’s definitely stubborn just like mama!
Day 1 was not that optimistic about our chances of success. B wore pants (little trunks like Papa’s) for the first time – we told him that there were no more nappies. It was so cute but the poor kid had absolutely no idea what he was doing. He was upset about not having nappies and we went through about 8 pairs of pants that got wet before he finally – at around 8pm – did a wee in the potty!
At which point the reward system kicked in. We had told him but that is when it became tangible for him. We had a big pot of m&ms that have his name and face on. We got them ages ago at m&m world and forgot about them but during lockdown we’ve been clearing out (well, T has, I’m useless) so we decided they’d be ideal for the potty training rewards.
Note that previous attempts with reward charts have not worked at all as he’s not at all motivated by intangible future rewards and just wants them now! (Just like me as a child.) Also he has chocolate daily as we don’t restrict it so it had to be something new he hadn’t had before. So he really liked the m&ms.
The little sod managed to negotiate the price upwards so instead of 1 m&m per “go” he gets 3 for a wee… although very sweetly it’s because he wants to “share with mama and papa” so that means we each get a m&m when he manages to do a wee on the potty.
Toilet wise he has eschewed the toilet seat and uses a mini toilet/potty (looks like a loo with a flush and everything – borrowed from one of his nursery friends who’s now trained) downstairs (as our downstairs loo is not in the main room and would take a while to get to) and that’s where he mainly goes. And upstairs he uses his original potty.
Well really once he’d cracked it on day 1 he just pretty much had it. On subsequent days (we are now day 4) he only had 1-2 accidents a day and they were mainly because we couldn’t get him there quick enough. It took him a couple of days to understand he might need the toilet before he started doing it, and today and yesterday he even went there by himself a few times, so it was a really quick learning curve. I’m honestly amazed.
For poos he wasn’t keen at all and still cried and wanted a nappy but he managed to do a few. And was motivated as you get 5 m&ms for a poo! But think he’s still not too keen. I’m sure that’s because it’s a totally new sensation but I really want to be done with the poo nappies as I can’t stand them!
We put a nappy back on him overnight as we bedshare and didn’t want to wake up covered in wee! But as far as I can tell he’s generally dry when he wakes up and he has been happy to get his nappy off and go on the potty straight away, so that’s been really good.
So really I’m just amazed it’s been so much easier than I anticipated. I think the anticipation was worse than what the experience actually was. A bit like most things! Like returning to work…
Also. All this has brought home to me how our situation has largely benefited from lockdown. And I’m aware it’s something that makes us really lucky and privileged, and I’m very grateful. We are so lucky that we are able to work from home, that my work isn’t too busy so I can do the bulk of childcare, that we both still get paid, that we have only one child who’s happy to stay in (and a dog – likewise), and we are all healthy.
For us it’s really been mostly great to have this family time. (Frayed tempers aside!) And it definitely would have been more stressful to try and do potty training outside of lockdown when we weren’t together 24/7.
In particular I’m so grateful we have some outside space as I think that makes a huge amount of difference mentally under lockdown. B hasn’t even left our flat for weeks. In the beginning he wanted to and we took him out a few times a week but now he’s happy just to be on our terrace. (It’s a quite large one that’s about the size of a small garden. Big for London!) We’ve had some nice weather lately so we got a little paddling pool (it’s actually a dog pool! But Dog isn’t so into it!) and we also take his climbing frame out there so he gets to spend time outside.
Really I’m wondering what it will be like to go back to normal life. I miss friends and family but apart from that I think lockdown life suits us. I love being able to spend uninterrupted time with my child for the first time since he was 4 months old. It is such a joy to be able to do that.
There is speculation it will start up again at the beginning of June and I wonder how it will work. Because we are quite settled for the moment in our little bubble.