The potty training day

….or, reasons why I need to blog (part 1)

My children are prolific pooers.

I blame attachment parenting. I carried out a (completely non-scientific) study while in the middle of potty training, drawn from comparisons between my friends. It seemed that the children of the huggers, co-sleepers and baby-led weaners were sloppier in their toilet habits. No regular bowel movements for those empowered youngsters. The offspring of the Gina Ford types, on the other hand, squeezed out a regular, well-formed jobbie at designated times. Once, or twice a day, maximum. Usually in the morning.

We’ve always encouraged Austin and Gwen to express themselves confidently, and present their needs to us unequivocally. They’ve responded physiologically by excreting several times each day, whenever the mood takes them. Sometimes it’s a small, tight nugget; others a sprawling mass of devilish ordure. No pattern; no warnings; just total abandon.

This is to be expected of a tiny baby. But Austin is a pre-schooler now, and is still tripping to the toilet at least three times a day. Sometimes there are as many as six or seven visits. His movements don’t seem to be loose. No, these are normal poos. There are just lots and lots of them.

All this made potty training (last summer) a tad difficult. There was one day, in particular, that had me reaching for the sky and mouthing, ‘Whyyyyyyyy?’.

Most of Austin’s training involved him running round the house, nappyless, messing all over the furniture and floor. Some wise soul told me that going hardcore and avoiding namby-pamby aids like training pants, would make for quicker and better results. And, like a fool, I believed them.

So, several times a day, I was faced with clearing turds up off the carpet. I couldn’t be with Austin all the time, and so occasionally he would sneak one out when I wasn’t looking. If I was unlucky, it would get trampled in before I could rush forward with the bucket of bleach.

On poo day, turd number one was a lucky find. It was neat, non-smeary, and on the tiled kitchen floor. Barely a smudge was left after I’d picked it up with a piece of kitchen towel.

Number two (ho ho) was even jammier. Austin did it outside, in the garden. All I had to do was take a trowel and add the poo to the compost at the base of my rhododendron.

But then things took a downward turn. Austin grabbed a handful of our precious CDs off the shelf, and hurling them to the ground. When I told him off, he expressed his displeasure at this dressing-down by taking some more CDs and running out to the garden.

How he managed it I don’t know, as he didn’t even see me shovel it under the bush. But, like some excrement-seeking homing pigeon, he managed to throw the CDs right into the rhododendron fertilizer.

So I spent the next half hour trying to rescue Pavement, Dinosaur Jr and Vampire Weekend from pooey oblivion.

Things became worse at number three. I’d set a ‘pants on for lunchtime’ rule. I didn’t want to have to scrape filth away from the base of the dining table. A minimal layer of protection was necessary.

Unfortunately, although his pants prevented mess number three from dropping to the floor, they also helped smear it across Austin’s legs and lower back. So ten minutes later, I was still in the bathroom, doing the pre-shower wipe that I’d come to know so well.

‘Mummy’ said my two-year-old. ‘You shouldn’t use so much toilet paper. You’re putting too much into the toilet.’

All the potty training books tell you not to get angry about ‘accidents’. All I can say is, they can’t have been written by the parent of a prolific pooer. Seething, I retorted with fury.

‘Austin, you’re only two. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I need to use a lot of toilet roll. There’s loads of poo everywhere. You don’t know best; Mummy does.’

My inner attachment parent recoiled in horror at these harsh words. I was immediately ashamed. But then, nobody’s perfect…..

Especially me. I went to flush the toilet. The bowl filled with water. And filled, and filled, and filled. Right up to the brim.

Austin had been right. I had used too much toilet paper. The toilet was now blocked.

I laughed. Then cried. It was the end of a perfect poo day.

And so I resolved to start a blog. I needed to tell the world that attachment parenting, and the resulting pooing habits, can drive you potty.

Boom boom.

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53 thoughts on “The potty training day

  1. Ah the perils of potty training! I shall be starting that with Poppy once the summer comes. Then I shall be housetraining new pup and potty training a toddler. I spell disaster ahead! You seem to be taking it all in your stride – I salute you! Margot x #PoCoLo

    1. Oh my goodness, double poo! You might want to relocate to the great outdoors for the duration….have pity on the soft furnishings!

  2. Hahaha….mine poo irregularly. When they were purely breastfed they went about once every 4 or 5 days and that was fantastic, solids changed all that and like you there’s no rhyme or reason, no bellyache or anything but we never know what we’re going to end up with. Fortunately the youngest is now just 3 and pretty much all I have to deal with is the “Mummy, I’ve had a poo, you need to wipe my bum” – usually just as I’m answering the door…. 🙂

    1. Only every 4 or 5 days! Wow. I’m constantly amazed at how different they all are. I wonder if grown-ups are as different in their toilet habits? Not something we often discuss….

  3. Brilliant! That made me laugh, but very unfortunate to have been ‘blessed’ with a child that pooed that often. Attachement parenting hadn’t beein ‘invented’ when I had my kids – 11, 9 and 7. Seriously, it hadn’t, so I never had this problem. I totally rejected Gina Ford’s brand of parenting terrorism though and let my kids just be. With pants on.

    1. Yes, I think next time round I’ll use pants too! Interesting that attachment parenting wasn’t around till relatively recently.

  4. I’ve never been so gripped reading a post about poo! Brilliant. Have bookmarked your blog and will be returning regularly! x #PoCoLo

    1. Thank you! I’m unfortunate enough to have to think about poo a lot these days, so I tried to make a dirty old subject sound a bit more interesting 🙂

  5. I can so relate. Currently potty training the Little Man (eeeek) but hoping he’s nowhere near as bad as my 7 year old who is still ongoing in the poo training dept.

  6. That made me giggle, haven’t thought about it like that. I have a ‘kind of’ Gina Ford 3 year old who yep, poohs every morning, same time and one of our NCT friends who used more of your method – yep – she’s having fun with poo too 🙂 #PoCoLo

    1. I’m glad it’s not just me who sees these patterns! Pampers or somebody should commission a study.

  7. Mmm what a lovely post LOL The joys of parenting hey! Our son is always very vocal when it comes to needing a poo and has no bother in letting everyone know where he is going and what he is up to!

    1. Brilliant. I love the fact that they proudly tell complete strangers all about their poos.

  8. Oh, that made me laugh. Sorry. I’ve been wiping poo off various surfaces for a week now because of the whole milk fiasco. Such a relief to read about someone else doing it too 🙂

    1. It’s horrendous, isn’t it! A few months (if you’re lucky) of poo taking over your life. I’ve only found the courage to be able to write about it recently….;-)

  9. That’s the wittiest exposition of poo I’ve ever read! And, to be fair the only one… but only because I’m in denial about having to start potty training. Is there a parenting school which says you don’t have to do it, ever? No, I guess not… 🙂

    1. It’s coming, it’s coming….sorry, but there’s no escaping the brown stinkmonster!

  10. We have had some poo problems while potty training and ha several tantrums that have involved into poo clearing chaos! you have my every empathy x

    1. Oh dear – tantrums and poo mess are not a good combination! Thanks for the comment.

  11. Oh this had me rolling on the floor laughing! I am, like the previous poster, still in denial about potty training, but having gone slightly more Gina Fordy my son is, as you describe, a perfectly predictable poo-er. Also I just wanted to compliment you on your excellent taste in music – I don’t often meet another Pavement fan. A band that is too laid back to even sing in tune, what’s not to love?!?

    1. Yay, another Pavement fan! Yes, they’re amazing – I love that sleepy drone. And I’m glad yet another person is proving the Ford/regular poo theory.

  12. I’m afraid – like everyone else – I have been crying with laughter at this post. For some reason I just find poo and the problems it entails absolutely hilarious!! I do think it is so much easier with girls – and this seals my belief!! Thank you so much for kicking off the newbie showcase and for sharing and supporting PoCoLo – so pleased you are getting so much out of it xx

    1. It’s a pleasure – thanks so much for showcasing my blog, and tweeting lots etc. And I’m glad to hear it’s easier with girls. Hopefully there won’t be so much drama when it’s time to do Gwen!

    1. Ha ha yes – poo is a subject that keeps coming back again….and again….and again…one day, I’ll be able to stop thinking about it!

      Really pleased to hear you like Pavement too 🙂

    2. Definitely – maybe we could all wear Slanted&Enchanted t-shirts to Britmums Live or something 🙂

  13. What a great post and hello! We have a 2 year old who is insisting on stripping at every available opportunity. So far no action in the potty although she did pee on my lap next to the potty last night 🙂

    1. Thanks and hello back! Look out – I suspect you may have many lap-wees to come!

  14. I’m not looking forward to this at all! Our little one has started to show an interest though so I fear our safe nappy days may be limited!! I found your blog through #PoCoLo xxxx

    1. Grit your teeth….it’s tough, but once you’re through the other side, being free of nappies is a liberation!

  15. Ah kids and poo! Once you become a parent poo becomes a big talking point doesn’t it!!! I too found your blog through #pocolo

    1. Yes, unfortunately it becomes an unavoidable subject! Thanks for commenting.

  16. Oh, Nell… [dabs eyes] I shall run out of tissues… You have me either bubbling because of sentiment, or crying with laughter! And RHODODENDRON FERTILISER will never have the same meaning again…!

    1. Thank you! And yes…I will never look at that bush in the same way again!

  17. Love this Nell! Poo is one of our biggest talking points for sure. Sometimes I am so engrossed in toilet habits I ask Daddy Pig if he needs to go. To make you feel better though I am a Gina mum and whilst we have never struggled with poos we do struggle with wees. ‘It’s ok, Mummy, it’s just a little bit in my pants. Don’t worry,’ says Beaver. But I do worry. She starts school in September and I don’t want her to be the girl who smells of wee. But I guess they all get there in the end eh?!

    1. Yes….either that, or they all smell of wee! I think primary school teachers must be immune. And we even had 14 year-olds in our school who still wet themselves occasionally, so it sounds as though your daughter’s ahead of the game already!

  18. This post was making me laugh so much that my husband asked me to read it out loud (which I could barely do as I was laughing so much). Shouldn’t laugh really as am due to start the potty training asap with Toddler. He usually runs around then hides in a corner to do a poo in his nappy, so am not looking forward to him going sans-nappy!!

    1. Oh dear, sounds as though you’ll be in for a game of hide-and-poo-seek once you get the nappy off! Good luck!

  19. Ha ha, very amusing! We are a Gina family and have the opposite problem from you – Elizabeth saves her poo up for once every 4-5 days… I’ve tried to get her into a daily routine but it just doesn’t work… so instead we spend around 45 mins on average sitting on the toilet every 4-5 days… never thought I’d be discussing poo so much as I do now I’m a mum!

    1. I know, it’s something they don’t tell you about in NCT classes…how much space poo takes up in your head! Probably crowding out lots of other previously useful information (like how to talk like a normal grown-up, in my case!)

  20. I absolutely love your way with words. You have just made my evening with your excrement exploit tales! Absolutely brilliant! So glad I discovered you! #PoCoLo

  21. Oh, this made me giggle. Makes me realise that we’ve been pretty lucky… So far! Maybe the wee girl will be my downfall 🙂 #PoCoLo

    1. I’m glad to hear it’s not all this bad. I’ll be potty training Gwen in a year or so, and I’m starting to dread it already!

  22. I am a mother of 4 and honest diapers always worked for my kids. You just go with what works for your child. I also have noticed that they work differently for different ages as well. Good idea to try a few out before you buy the jumbo packs.

  23. Hi Nell ! It´s Marina from the morning yoga class. Just had a look at your blog and it is good to read 🙂 I enjoyed reading your potty training experience as I will soon start that journey with my toddler girl…! Have a lovely weekend and see you next Saturday!

  24. Pingback: the poo day

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