Failure may not be an option but there’s no shame in quitting

We abandoned our attempts to potty train our toddler halfway through day two.

Had the weather not been so good and our only prospect been a week indoors, we might have persisted. He might have got it. He didn’t seem to be rushing to get it, at least not that morning as he happily sprayed every corner of our living room like he was marking his territory. He certainly seemed quite content to be peeing every fifteen to twenty minutes or so, often as soon as he’d manouvered himself out of view or sat down.

Excited paternal cries of “wee wee” when the deed had been spotted served only to stop his pee mid flow after which he happily toddled off to the potty, sat down and waited for nothing to happen.

Only to get up a few moments later and carry on peeing again the moment I blinked or lost my focus for just that second.

I mopped up a lot of pee on Monday morning.

So what we had was a toddler who knew wee wee happened on the potty but wasn’t quite up for associating wee wee with his own peeing. I’m not sure where we stood with the poo. Thankfully we never made it that far but I’ve heard some sicky stories of trying to get the poo in the potty and not trapped in the pants.

It’s entirely possible we may have done him a disservice. As he happily emptied another one over the rug and the sun shone through the window bathing us all in it’s late autumnal warmth, we decided we’d be better off spending the week outdoors with him, making the most of a rare week together as a family.

A day away from returning to work, we’re both agreed we made the right decision. It’ll cost us in the price of another three months worth of nappies before we try again but the time we spent was priceless for us all. One way and another it’s been a pretty tough year and this week off has turned out to have been the most relaxing so far. Will it be that much harder to do next time? I have no idea. We’re going to keep the potty out and keep the associations going. We’ll keep giving him a chance to sit on the potty and keep letting him watch us both pee so he can see and make the associations himself. Potty training is not a job for the reserved. Plonking your arse on the pan and encouraging your toddler to “look, wee wee” whilst your wife stands guard at the door so he doesn’t head off down the stairs unguarded is all part of the parenting guide to fun.

You pay a price for the convenience of nappies. Baby loses the ability to associate gthe action of oing for a poo or a pee with what it is. Nappies strip them of the experience and understanding. You have to train them back up, reacquaint them with the feelings of going through their motions. And whether you sheet your home up like a gangster’s hit pad or let them run free to fertilise your furniture, one way or the other you’re getting your hands dirty once again!


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