I’m not sure if there is such a thing, such a thing as baby-led potty training that is? I am familiar with baby-led weaning and apparently there is such a thing as baby-led sleeping (i.e. you let them dictate when they want to sleep and when they don’t… err, no thank you) – both of which no doubt have their merits – but being somewhat the bossy controlling type (I know my faults), I prefer the mummy-led approach in these matters. But baby-led potty training, well that’s one that’s taken me by surprise.
Allegra turned 2 years old the week before last. I’d vaguely been pondering starting the potty training thing, I’d even bought a book on it a few months back, a book that told me in the first chapter that if the child was under two and there was a new baby about to come into the family, then it was best to wait a few months until after the new arrival and things were a bit more settled. Apparently they can regress. So, after reading that I thought right-you-are then and promptly put the book on a shelf, left it to gather dust, and filed potty training in my mind as “something to think about again come the Spring, or maybe even the Summer” (in other words I fully intended to put it off a bit longer).
So, I’ve been in no rush. I’m quite happy changing nappies for now – beats having to wipe poo off a plastic seat in my book – but it seems Allegra has other ideas. A couple of weeks ago she started asking for a potty: “Allegra have potty mummy?” she would question, a hopeful tone in her voice as she looked at me pleading with her big brown eyes – I largely tried to ignore this request and just smiled and attempted to distract her with the promise of a chocolate biscuit and opportunity to watch an episode of Peppa. My mum on the other hand, unable to refuse her angel-faced grandaughter, said “I think she really wants a potty, why don’t you let me buy her one and we can see how she goes, just for a bit of fun to begin with?” – Okay I thought, sure, why not. I didn’t want to be the mean mummy denying her desire for a potty and holding her back in the process. She won’t actually want to wee on it I thought, she’ll just sit on it and make a “sssshhhh” wee noise, like she’s done a couple of times before when she’s demanded I put her on “mummy’s toilet” and then she’ll do nothing, before hopping off and declaring herself “all done”.
Oh, how wrong I was. Since the potty’s arrival in the Richmond household three days ago, Allegra has wee-d on it approximately 6 or 7 times, and she LOVES it! It’s like the best new toy EVER in her mind, like EVER! The first time she sat on it she wee-d pretty much instantly, then promptly put her hand in it when “checking” whether or not there was anything there: we’ve since pointed out that putting your hand into your own urine to check if it is indeed there or not is unnecessary and generally not considered an essential part of overall “grown-up” toilet behaviour.
She’s since demanded to go on the potty pre and post her bath and before going to bed; she’s enjoyed sitting on the potty while drinking her nighttime bottle of milk; and she especially enjoys reading a good book while sat on her new throne, I fear it won’t belong before I find her up there flicking through a copy of The Times while going about her ummm “business”.
In short, she LOVES wee-ing on the potty. She loves pulling off copious amounts of toilet paper to “wipe the bottom” (what she calls her front and her back). She loves putting the toilet paper into the toilet and then removing the bowl bit of her potty and chucking the contents down the toilet. She loves pressing the button to flush the toilet. She loves the whole darn thing!
Of course all of this, I recognise, is good, it is very good, and it seems she is more than ready to embark on the whole potty training journey. Well done Allegra. But, here’s my problem, I AM NOT READY!! I have not read my book, I do not know what I am doing, I do not know what she should be doing. I DO NOT KNOW! I feel I have been thrown in at the deep-end, trousers and pants around my ankles, a roll of super-soft Andrex in one hand, and I do not know how this is all meant to happen. Allegra on the other hand seems relaxed and excited about the whole thing, so maybe I should just follow her lead?! Mind you, she hasn’t poo-d on there yet, she may seem less enamoured with the whole thing when she gets up from the potty one day to see a rather unattractive number two staring back at her, after all, when she offered to help me change baby Claudia’s nappy the other day then saw the contents of it (it wasn’t wee), she declared in disgust “no like it mummy” and turning her nose up in disgust she took herself off to her room to read her Cinderella book. So we’ll see how that pans out all in good time I guess…
In the meantime, it seems that like it or not, our potty-training journey has begun.