The Potty Training Debacle.

By Alison January 12, 2006 4 Comments 4 Min Read


My new Laura Ashley rug + one potty training son



So here’s the thing: nursery would like Finley to be out of nappies.  I would like Finley to be out  of nappies. But at two and four months, Finley isn’t interested.

Up until now I’ve been a pretty confident Mother. Finley has followed my routines so successfully that (Watch out: Mummy boast coming up!)  we have never, ever had a sleepless night. Not since he was six weeks old.  I was a  Gina  Ford devotee and proud of it. Not for me the whole "feed on demand" thing, or the keeping baby up till they drop with exhaustion thing. Finley was fed every three hours on the dot. Then winded, wrapped tightly in a blanket and put down in his cot, wide awake, in the dark. He slept through the night because I woke him, at 11.00pm every night, to feed him, and thereafter, he slept through.  Yes readers, I was that Mommy you dread running into at Mums and Tots,  the one  silent while everybody else moaned, for fear of evangelising about  her success as a  Mommy. The one who wasn’t dropping with exhaustion because life after 7.00pm  was pretty much as it had always been…

I was her. Feel free to spit at me in the street.

Until now.  Now free will has entered the arena, I am  falling apart. To my horror, Finley doesn’t want to be a Big Boy. He isn’t interested in Batman Big Boy Pants. Sitting on the toilet, or perching on the potty.  He is perfectly happy "to rain on his toes" as he likes to boast.

So I turned to Gina again. I bought "Potty Training In One Week". Took his nappies off. Resolved to stay in the house and lo and behold it was a pointless episode that resulted in nothing more than the gruesome site of something too ugly to talk about on Finley’s bedroom wall.  In short we got nowhere and my lovely rug is worse for my efforts. So I have gritted my teeth, smiled a "aren’t you a wonderful boy" smile and gone back to nappies.

Now to be fair, I am always one to stupidly go against medical advice. Don’t try to potty train him until the Coeliacs/Celiacs has settled down they said. He may have unhappy associations he needs to forget (ie the stench from hell) they said. He may not be ready yet, they said. Yes he ticks all the boxes: can he follow simple instructions- well he can pick the Power Ranger with the white stripes out of a  whole box of the damned things. He regularly takes his pyjamas off in bed so I know he can do that. He know’s the diffence between "raining" and a "bumbum" (his dreadful descriptions, not mine!!)…

But he may not be ready yet. I am not a failure- he may not be ready yet.

I know this. I know it. I’ve read the books. I know some kids aren’t ready till they are three. I know the Coeliacs may have compromised his efforts. I know this.

So what is all this about?

Well  I will tell you. Vanity. He is my perfect little boy. He talks fluently. Better than all the kids his age and like the small genius that he is, he can do a 45 piece jigsaw all by himself. 45 pieces!! He is bright and there is a part of me that revels in that.  But I want  him to  do what I want him to do. I am a perfectionist and a  control freak. And until now I have never known what it is to be vain about another human being.

How truly terrible is that?

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  1. Mimi says:

    Not at ALL terrible. How much better to be vain for him than not care less if he is in nappies or pants or not even notice?! I hope when the time comes I shall be a good Brocante Mum too, and have somewhere I can go where you will understand because you have been there already! I do love how I can come here to Brocante Home and feel I am in such good company- I feel 'normal' and special and validated all at the same time!

  2. dixie says:

    I am laughing, because my little girl slept through the night after three weeks, and like Finley never has had a sleepless night. She was a breeze, she crawled, walked, and talked early. But….. she did not want to get potty trained either. Finally, on a long holiday weekend at 2 years and 6 months, we got rid of the diapers and spent a nasty nasty three day weekend in a miserable battle of wills (with mop, soap and disenfectant in hand). Never fear, it will happen. And, if you could choose, you would pick an articulate, puzzle working, good sleeper of a son over a perfectly potty trained bore.

  3. Meredith says:

    Alison, you go with the "flow"! Finley will let you know when he is ready. I felt the same way; I am a child development graduate who helped potty-train dozens of kids when I taught toddlers for years at the university here. It's different at home, in reality! My kids were never interested until after 3, and I tried (sometimes failed) to not make a big deal out of it. When they were ready, they did it fast. I read it takes 9 months on average to go through the entire potty training process. ENJOY some more time in diapers. He'll not go to college in diapers, so do NOT worry!!
    Hang in there. You're doing great! He's brilliant and adorable!!

  4. Nancy says:

    Finley is a dear. You are a great mom. It will happen when it happens. I always heard little boys were harder to train than girls. My daughter was trained by her babysitter in one short week at age 1 1/2 while I was toiling away in hospital surgery every day. I was thankful but a bit sad it was not me who shared that big step with her. My sister had a girl and two boys. The girl was easy as pie…the boys were terrors! My sister got the deed done by insisting they accompany Dad on every potty trip, theirs and his. Having an agreeable dad is essential. The little guys copied daddy and he praised and encouraged and "instructed" and soon the males of the house all stood to "rain" as big little men should. Good luck to you and hang in there. He is still a precious little one and once he is totally independent, there will be a small space of longing on your part. I know……

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