It’s Saturday morning as I write this and Chez Proclaims we are embarking on what is arguably the toughest challenge we have ever faced as a family. Little Proclaims is learning to use the potty. Given that she turned 3 a few weeks ago, we are actually rather late to this particular party. We did start thinking about this rite of passage over a year ago, but, being first-time parents, Mrs Proclaims and I were rather in the dark as to how you persuade a two-year old to stop wearing nappies. At that point in her development, we were still very much trying to work out how to get her to eat vegetables. A year on and Little Proclaims appears to have solved that problem for us by seemingly enjoying (some) vegetables (in which regard she’s developmentally some way ahead of her father), but she’s been less inclined to solve the potty issue for us.
In some ways I blame the health visitor. I’m not sure how it works in other countries, but in the UK, if you decide to procreate, you get the benefit of additional support for the first two years of your child’s life. This comes in the guise of increasingly irregular visits from someone called a health visitor. They seem to be perfectly nice people, but unless you’re displaying the kind of parenting skills which suggest you might actually be a danger to your child, they really don’t offer much support and essentially the visits appear to be a box-ticking exercise to ensure that you aren’t a complete idiot. It’s very much a pass/fail system – you don’t get awarded extra points for outstanding parenting, so as long as you display an adequate level of competency then you eventually get signed off and left to your own devices. On our last visit, approximately a year ago, we expressed concerns about potty training and were quite clearly told that “there’s no rush”. So we promptly forgot all about it, making a vague agreement that we’d definitely get on the case this summer if we hadn’t already succeeded.
Roll on a year, and although the potty was purchased some time ago, (to Little Proclaims’ delight it has to be said) it has never really been used. Well it has, but not for any of the right reasons. Indeed, in preparation for today, we have been watching some potty training clips on You Tube with Little Proclaims and one charming cartoon about Princess Polly explains all the things a potty is not. And it is not any of the following:
- A funny hat
- A toy boat
- A very useful storage box
Sadly Little Proclaims has used her potty for all of the above over the last few months. And not at all as a receptacle for…ahem…wees and poos.
The aforementioned cartoon also explains that occassionally there will be accidents but that’s ok as long as Princess Polly is trying her best. I’m not sure Little Proclaims took all she could out of the cartoon, because she told me shortly after watching it that Princess Polly had a funny hat and made a funny mess on the floor.
Another cartoon we’ve been watching involves various clips of an anthropomorphic tiger using the potty and singing about it. It’s all fairly insipid stuff but Little Proclaims loves it and has labelled the video The Tiger Who Came to Wee, which is a rather inspired pun on the much beloved children’s story by Judith Kerr, The Tiger Who Came To Tea. I am actually jealous of Little Proclaims – I feel I should have come up with that pun myself and it is very much to my chagrin that the cleverest thing in this post was written by my three-year-old daughter.
Anyway, having utterly failed to ever get around to properly teaching Little Proclaims to use the potty gradually and over time, and conscious that at the age of 3 she really should be making some sort of progress in this area, we’ve decided to adopt the ‘3-day intensive’ method, for which instructional videos are freely available on the interweb. From what I can tell, this is a 3-day process, whereby you use a combination of bullying and bribery to get your offspring to comply in as short a time a possible. Given that, thanks to my profession as an educator of children (who don’t, for the most part, require toilet training) I am currently still off work for a few more days, now seems like an opportune time to fully invest in the process.
We’re only a few hours into day 1 and it’s been an emotionally draining experience for all concerned.
Currently the score is:
- Wees in the potty – 1
- Wees on the carpet – 2
It’s going to be a long 3 days.
Little Proclaims has come up with some winning lines along the way though – one of which is the title of this post.
My favourite, as of five minute ago though is – “Daddy, can you do it for me?”
Would that I could, but alas I fear that skill is beyond me.