Be patient, it takes time to loose a habit…

Bringing up children is not as difficult as it may sound, despite the many challenges and culture shocks that both you and the nearby environment has to go through.  As parents, you always have the fully devoted support from your own parents, as they went through the exact same things as you – so they think.

My parents have no clue what I’m going through and cannot compare my upbringing with that of my kids.  Denis the Menace was, according to my dad, based entirely on my life and me as a kid.  I might not fully agree with this, because I learned from my mistakes too, but my dad is stronger than me and wins this fight.

I’m trying to bring up a 6 year old girl, with pre-teenage syndrome, causing frictions during dinner and bedtime.  Why should she eat her food at dinner time? Why should she go to bed when she is not tired?  It just makes me wonder what will happen when she is a teenager.

Anyway, one of the biggest challenges parents face, beside becoming parents, is that of toilet training.  In my younger days, I would have suggested simply placing an old newspaper on the floor and educating the kids to do No 1 and No 2 there – but I now understand that this might be awkward when the child gets older, visits friends and goes to school.  Just imagine the child squatting in a corner, using today’s newspaper.

I don’t really like the term “toilet training”, as training is normal something you do in sports or with pets.  But, you are unfortunately doing jsut thatwhat; you train your child to use the toilet instead of their pants (diaper).

Our daughter was very easy, as she decided that she didn’t want the diaper anymore and that peeing in her swimsuit (while on holidays) is absolutely disgusting.  So, in less than a week, on our holidays to the Dominican Republic, she was toilet trained.

Toilet training our son has proven to be somewhat more difficult and time-consuming.  One reason is that we live in Ireland which in recent months have been preparing for the coming of the 2nd flood –  raining every day. So, our son is confined indoors.  But, we have to start sometime and this summer, while staying in Ireland for our holidays, was the best time.
– just one piece of advice, do not go on road trips, by car, for long distances, while toilet training.  This can have some severe impact on the mood and aroma in the car.

The amount of books that people have written about the subject and quick tips, trying to offer parents moral support, while robbing us of hard earned cash, is amazing.  These books have been of very little help to us.

What has helped us?  Patience (mainly on my wife’s behalf, and something I don’t have), and of course detergent for the clothes and floor – and various disinfectant sprays.

The grandparents are trying to help, thanks, but they tend to be somewhat counterproductive.  My wife believes that, and of course I agree, that we need to remove the diaper from day 1.  But, the grandparents think it’s more hygienic for the child to wear the diaper at all times which in my opinion is counterproductive.  In theory it sounds very logical to remove the diaper, but in practice this might have its flaws.  You are immediately removing a safety-net, without knowing how to walk across the line and asking the child to accept this change.  The child still thinks the diaper is there to catch accidents, but this is now the job of undies, pants, socks and shoes – not to mention sofa, floors, chairs and beds.

On the upside, we now live in a very clean house, that is cleaned and disinfected regularly.  Most clothes are washed several times a day. He’s the only boy who gets clean undies 3-4 times a day.  However, this is for a good cause.

For some reason, not fully understood by us parents, our son refuses to inform us when he has to go, for number 1 or 2.  Well, we are starting to understand the early warning signs for number 1, but number 2 eludes us.  The worst bit is, it doesn’t seem to bother him too much, walking with a minor cake in the undies.  One would think it would be uncomfortable, but no.  So, to combat this, we bring him to the toilet twice an hour, to ensure no accidents will happen.

Apple technology freaks as we are, we even decided to rip a couple of movies to the iPod Touch, install the car mount for iPod on the wall and play movies for him while sitting there.  That worked in the beginning, but it soon lost its attraction.

It has emerged that, in recent studies of our son’s toilet behaviour, he might not do number 2 when we are looking at him or when we are in the toilet with him, so we resorted to leaving him alone.  This is bearing “fruit”.  However, if you don’t keep an eye on him, he will swing the “shrimp” fiercely, marking his territory, and then wipe his hands on his pants – ah, those male genes work as intended!!!

My son is growing up and he is learning how to behave (pee) in the urinals in pubs. At least the smell in 99.99% of all pubs I’ve ever visited would indicate that men can’t hit their targets either.

We are now on week 15 in the training program and he starts his playschool in two weeks!  Somehow this doesn’t worry me, as I know my friends (who are parents too) are going through the exact same phase, as well are millions of families across the Globe…we’re in a World of shite   🙂

The fight must go on, be strong my fellow pooh cleaners.  So, so long for now.

Slightly smelly parent

One comment

  1. So glad you mentioned the ultimate tool in potty training… Patience! My wife did so much better at this than I did. I started the potty training journey with my daughter with some bizarre “We’re training champions” kind of model. When we first started I sounded more like a football coach or personal trainer than I did a Dad!

    Thankfully I ditch my ridiculous rush approach (again thanks to my wife) and like magic progress happened with relative ease. While there are different methods that no doubt work for helping little ones figure out all things potty, success seems to really depend on the patience of the parents. All the while keeping it fun!

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