Potty training has started again in earnest

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Getty Images

You might think you’ve heard all this before, but we are potty training again. Sadly for us, and happily for my word count, our earlier attempt wasn’t much of an attempt at all. After a few days of trying to nail it down, it became clear he wasn’t ready, or had simply surmised that his current situation, in which he did the weeing and pooing in nappies and we cleaned them up afterwards, was perfectly sufficient.

The only wrinkle – note: perhaps not the only one – is that he does seem ready for it this time. He has started being more self-conscious of his bodily functions, particularly poos. He now prefers to hide while he does them, which is alarming when you look up from a book and realise you haven’t seen him for a few minutes, only to find him crouched behind the sofa, gurning as he strains through a particularly stirring movement.

He has started being more self-conscious of his bodily functions, particularly poos…

When approached, he sticks his hand out and says, ‘Don’t take it!’ which suggests he is perhaps ready for the privacy and consideration of discreet defecation, and also that he thinks we desire his turds for some undisclosed purpose, of which he disapproves. Maybe, I think, it’s like how you’re not supposed to make eye contact with a dog when they’re eating. I consider clarifying that his mother and I do not want to eat his poos, but worry it might seem like we’re protesting too much.

I never thought I’d miss the days when he would happily squirt and squeeze without breaking stride, or enliven a pleasant cuddle with an unthinking, full-bodied squelch, halving his body weight in one smooth torrent, produced with all the effort of an idle yawn. But I do miss it, watching him like a hawk as he struts around the living room in a pair of tiny little pants, like a poolside lothario.

He toddles from place to place as I strain every fibre of my being to pay attention. I have to do this because, whether this marks me as a fusspot or not, there are simply not many surfaces in our flat that I’d like to be drenched in waste, and I have so far had a dismal success rate in intercepting his movements. The aim is to catch him at the moment he begins and then reposition him on his Paw Patrol potty to see out the flow in its desired place, along with exuberant clapping and praise to hammer the point home.

We have a system that allocates him stars for every successful bullseye, and in which he takes great pleasure. We’re also careful not to scold him when he doesn’t get it right, because whether he is trying or not, we have to keep telling him we know that he’s trying, until he believes it himself.

For now, I’ll be heaving the potty behind him everywhere he goes. He may still mess up here and there, but I’m content to carry the can.

Follow Séamas on Twitter @shockproofbeats

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