I may have mentioned that Roo is currently toilet training. It’s been interesting. I’m not awfully good at the staying-at-home bit you’re meant to do while they’re training, so we’ve been dragging a lot of things around the city. I’m comforted by the thought that unless we have another child, this must be the peak of the “stuff” phase. There can’t be a worse time than with a newly-potty-trained child and a small baby that regularly poos out of her nappy, right? As well as the potty changing kit, we have Eva’s spare clothes and changing stuff, Roo’s snack box, Roo’s teddy bag filled with things to entertain him on long bus trips, suncream, raincoats, sunhats and wellies (darn British Summer) and quite often a bucket and spade. Oh, and the children themselves, occasionally. It can only get better. One day, Roo will be able to carry his own stuff. I can but dream.
But this post is specifically about the logistics of taking a trainer out around London. Sounds like madness? It is. But you try spending an entire day indoors with a small child and an even smaller baby, repeating over and over again “I just want you to TRY for a pee-pee. You can have a Gup A. You can have the entire Octonauts fleet. Just sit on the bloody potty”
No, that’s madness.
Incidentally, you might be reading this and thinking “You’re training him at 3?! What’s wrong with you?”. You may even take the guilt-inducing line that I saw on one woman’s blog that training a 3 or 4-year-old is unnatural and undignified. Well, I don’t care. He wasn’t ready at 18 months or 2. He wasn’t ready at 3. He was ready 2 months and 2 weeks after his third birthday. Which was about 2 months after we first started trying to push potty training. Had we waited even longer, we may have saved ourselves some heartache.Had we started when outside parties were pressuring us to (around his second birthday) we would have had many months more of heartache. So we left it until his language skills caught up with some of his peers (there’s a whole other story there), and now he can say “Mummy, I’m going to do a pee-pee”. And he can take his trousers and pants down himself, and wash his own hands. So it was worth waiting. But as you may have discerned, he is still training. We’re not there yet. My internet-friend/stalkee Beth explains it better in this post.
In case you’re wondering what that picture is, it’s a she-wee. More accurately, it’s a fake she-wee on a necklace that I made. So now you know.
I’m digressing again. After a few false starts (kind of like this post), Roo’s first nappy-free expedition was to Vauxhall City Farm. An easy one, I thought. It was local, and any smells he made could be blamed on the animals. I had my potty training kit all packed up, ever since a previous false start but didn’t need to use it. He went to the farm and back without an accident, peed in the toilet at home and then went to Pizza Express without an accident.
It was at this point I thought we were starting to turn a corner. The next day, he went to his childminders for a day and did a massive pee in her bed. Never mind. The day after that, I was ill with a weird virus thing that made the room spin when I bent down to change Eva’s nappy. A planned trip to Crystal Palace was cancelled, and Roo’s Godmother came over to take him to Peddlar’s Park instead. No accidents. The enforced home-day had given him plenty of time to practise his loo-pees.
Over the next few days, I slowly recovered and we went to various places including Oasis Leisure Centre, Coram’s Fields, Kennington Park, St James’ Churchyard and Ruskin Park. I won’t lie to you – there were accidents. Some of these trips went better than others (*cough* Ruskin Park *cough*). But we weren’t indoors screaming at each other. And by the end of those few days, we had broken the back of potty training. 6 days after Vauxhall City Farm. Since then, he’s only had a couple of wee accidents and they were in extenuating circumstances. Poos are a whole different story. That’s still ongoing. But even that is getting better.
I guess what I’m trying to say here if that it can be done out and about. Choosing places like Corams and Kennington Park that have child-sized toilets helps. Going anywhere where you can wash your hands helps. And having a good potty-training kit always packed REALLY helps. Here’s what I think should be in a potty training kit:
Trousers (x several, 3 at least) – I always like dressing Roo in cool little jeans and stuff with belts, but for potty training you can’t beat supermarket joggers.
Pants (x several)
Wet wipes. Don’t ever run out. *cough* Ruskin Park *cough*
A packet of nappy sacks – for disposing of used wet wipes and poos (in the dogpoo bin…desperate times!) and for bagging up..ahem..used clothes to take home. Or throw away. Either way, bag ’em.
Bribes – if you want to. I have reached new depths of parenting when it’s come to potty training. Small, wrapped presents, Gups, Dashis, chocolate buttons…there’s nothing we haven’t bribed this boy with.
A bottle of water – for sluicing down slides, when the boy’s decided to create his own waterslide, for keeping the boy’s fluid levels high when he needs to…perform…
Spare socks – you can never be too sure
Antiseptic hand gel – useful for those Lady MacBeth moments
Potty – some people have those fancy folding ones. I just have a cheapo, bulky one tied to the handles of our buggy in a carrier bag. This is not a time to worry about how classy you look.
And aside from that, a complete lack of shame (“Look Roo, there’s some people eating their lunch. Why don’t you show them how well you can pee in the potty?” Serves ’em right for invading the kids’ playground) and a disposable changing mat on the buggy just in case you get caught short on the bus (they’re both absorbent and plastic-backed). It’s not happened to us yet, but there’s still time….
Good luck to you.