Everything about potty training is a ‘for fuck’s sake’ swearing opportunity.
Mother Nature truly messed this one up….
The tedious remembering to plonk her on the potty ever so often, the over enthusiasm one needs to put in his voice when they finally pee in it and not around it, all the accidents, all the change of clothes, the paraphernalia that goes with it, the freaking reward, the nervous outings when you spend half the time reading her facial expression for signs of inappropriate and untimely messy releases…
Only now, in hindsight, I can admit to have started potty training Camila a few moths too early. I was mildly excited to have approached the stage in which baby becomes child, and learns to use the toilet like a grown up. Read and ticked all the ” your toddler is ready for potty” signs found on the internet and prematurely estimated her ready.
There came the day when I found a turd in the play area I was totally unaware of, the day when I just about spotted the concentrated about to poo look and carried her to the toilet, naked as a worm, and she dropped the excrement mid-air which fell on my running foot and got kicked onto the Persian rug, the day when she filled her pants as soon as my pizza was served at the restaurant, the day she pooed directly into the wellies she was wearing. (Ugh! what a messy business that was…).
And I had to contain the FFS and looked relaxed, ignore the shit on my forearms whilst handling her wearing poo like a mimetic leotard, reassuring her it’s ok, we’ll get there on time next time, biting my tongue and try not to have her sense my disappointment, stress and for fuck’s sakes.
We even introduced some sort of reward system at one point. We introduced coins as a way of encouraging her to use the potty. She always helped me putting change in the family money-bank and knew she loved it.
The very first time she had a number two in her potty, I gave her $4.
“Four dollars for a poo???” Fintan shouted at me ” Biba this is unsustainable!”
Contrary to what Fintan thought though, I hadn’t set any particular values for pee or poo. Money doesn’t have any meaning to her yet, the excitement is just putting coins into her money bank and hear the clink-clink sound for each one.
She’s a bit like the local homeless Arturo in that way. He’s a funny old mental man who wonders about in a fidgety way, barefoot and holding a stick. He barely talks. He kindly harasses people in town asking for pesetas, the only thing I have ever heard him utter, in his unique fretting whisper. He means change. I heard he was once given a 10 dollar bill and refused it. Like Camila would. They both only like coins, whatever their value.
That didn’t quite work either though and I refused to do the conga for each of her excrement appropriately released in her blue frog shaped potty or sing songs about pipi’ and cacca.
Poo and Pee have already become the center of our lives in the past months. We seem to talk about it a lot. We waive the cacca down the toilet, we say ciao ciao to it, we tell papi she had done a poo in the potty as soon as he comes home, we read a ‘mouse using the potty’ book, she changes the nappies full of poo poo of her teddy bears and dolls…and even makes me smell their butts first for reassurance…
It became exhausting. I was tired of reading signs and sick of hearing my bad Colombian soap opera actress voice when saying out loud “wow! well done Camila, you peed in the potty, good job, we must tell daddy!”
Camila’s own warning of poopoo and peepee seemed to came after or during the fact.
So then, I was told perhaps she wasn’t ready yet. “Take a break and try again in a few months” said my sister. And I did. And when I tried again three months later, in a handful of days she seemed to have gotten the hang of it. It was indeed too early. No prizes, no overly passionate praises. Just high fives and the acknowledgment of having done the right thing like a big girl.
So perhaps this is not a Mother Nature shortcoming after all. There is a lesson in all this excrement-learning procedure: the golden zen lesson of patience.
Patience before you start, and patience through it.