So I’ve blogged about our (failed) attempts to get Liam to “go potty.” I used to use all the excuses in the book.. he isn’t ready, he’s still too young, I work hard all day and don’t have the time or energy to help him through this process, etc. But when your kid starts hiding behind palm trees in shopping centres and behind couches while visiting other people, in order to relieve himself, then you know he is very conscious of the whole process and it’s time to take the proverbial bull by the horns, or in this case, the kid by the scruff of his neck and go potty.
In Liam’s defence, he is quite happy to use the toilet, he thinks it’s the funniest thing ever, he makes quite a ceremony of the whole time consuming process, hence my delay in getting it off the ground. His school teacher tells me he wears underpants all day, and even naps without his diaper on and by the look in her eyes, I can tell she thinks I am a bad mother for not nurturing the process at home. She says I should let him wear his underpants at home, and ask him every 5 – 10 minutes if he wants to make a wee. And even if he says no, I should take him to the throne every half an hour. WHEN? While I am cooking? While I am unpacking school bags and trying to feed them their dinner, and trying to keep Hannah from reaching up to the stove? While I am trying to sound remotely interested in my husband’s dialogue about how he can’t wait for soccer season to start? While I am trying to listen to Zoleka giving me an account of Hannah’s day, while writing down the list of grocery items she needs me to buy for the house? WHEN DO I HAVE TIME TO TAKE HIM TO THE POTTY EVERY HALF AN HOUR!
Anyway, the point is, we mothers have to find the supernatural time to do all these things, so this weekend I decided to let him “hang loose.” He was pretty good, I didn’t even have to ask him, he came to ask me every time he needed to go. I was so nervous that he’d wee and I’d have to clean it up; the last thing you want on your weekend when your helper is off having a well deserved rest, is to be cleaning urine off the floor, and washing pee stained clothes. Anyway, he was so enjoying the freedom of a diaper free bum, and more so, all the praise he was getting for using the toilet, that he decided he was ready for the next level… we were having lunch by family that afternoon and Liam refused to put his diaper on. I told his father that he was on wet-patch-watch and I packed extra clothes into his bag. I was so proud of him, he even stayed dry through his nap in the car. This was actually a piece of cake, I could do this!
We got to our destination and I took him straight to the toilet, it was a bit of a mission because we didn’t have his stool which put him at the right height for the perfect aim, and he refuses to sit for a wee, so there was a bit of spillage, but nothing major. Of course, the whole family were thrilled and he basked in the glow of all the compliments.
However, it was all too good to be true.. Liam hit a wobbly, and his little unnecessary tantrum earned him a time-out in the toilet. When I give Liam a time-out, I usually say that once he has stopped crying and performing like a circus freak, he is more than welcome to come out and join the rest of the family once again. So he usually cries and screams until he is quite sure that no one is listening or interested, then he’ll come out and apologise for his bad behaviour and that’s it. Because we were not in our own environment, I hung around outside the toilet waiting for him to calm down and it was at this point that I heard the CLICK of a key turning.. He had locked the door and there was complete silence on his end. I didn’t want to alarm him, so I tried the door gently and I called out to him, he told me to leave him alone, and I almost did – cheeky bugger. Well after trying the door a few times, and messing with the key, he realised that he couldn’t unlock the door. I could hear the rising hysteria in his voice as he called out to me, asking me to open the door. By this time, a small crowd had gathered. I tried to explain to him that he needed to turn the key back, but his little fingers couldn’t get it right. He was in a flat panic, so I rushed outside to the window so he could see me and I could talk to him. As he turned around at the sound of my voice, I saw the wet patch.. of course one of the first things to “collapse” when you’re in a panic, is your bladder! Eventually, after about 10 minutes, we managed to push the key out, and he passed it to me through the window and we opened the door from the other side. He cried loud tears of relief and he was upset that his pants was wet – what an ordeal!
He let me put his diaper back on.. that was enough potty training for one day! At school the next day, he ran to tell Teacher the whole story, emphasising the part about how I locked him in the toilet.. what? Under Teacher’s glare, I tried to mumble that that’s not how it happened, but she and Liam are a formidable team and they frightened me with their cross faces, so I just left with my head bowed. That’s the last time I try this potty training thing, it always gets me into trouble.
So no, we are not finished with this education.. Potty Training 103 to follow!