It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Potty Time, or, Good thing I have hardwood…

Timmy is being potty-trained. Nigel is not. Timmy turned two about three months ago. Nigel will be three next month.

Timmy? Timmy is interested! Timmy is motivated! Timmy does the potty dance whenever he pees successfully!!! Now, it is not my habit to train children this young. They have to show interest, and, frankly, most of the time the “interest” their parents assure me the child is showing is the parent’s interest, not the tot’s. But Timmy? Timmy is INTO this. Totally.

Nigel? Potty-training just makes him nervous. He cries to have pants on, then forgets he’s not in a diaper and soaks them. Then he cries when you take the wet pants off. He doesn’t do the potty dance, because he never gets it in the potty. He does dance when he pees, though — except when it’s in his pants– he dances when he pees on the tiles in the front hall, he cheers when he pees on the hardwood in the living room, he declares “I PEED!” in tones rich with pride when he floods the vinyl floor in the kitchen.

In short, the boy is a walking flood zone. Which is why Nigel is back in diapers until the New Year, and Timmy is still doing the potty dance.

Timmy, however, does not drink enough. Not nearly enough. I always knew the boy was a bit of a cactus, having to be coaxed to drink at every snack and meal break, but I thought he would be making up for it at home, where he’s still breast-feeding.

Nuh-uh. Now that I’m seeing that pee? Even first thing in the morning, when you’d expect him to arrive tanked up and ready to pour, the pee is dark yellow and strong-smelling. Nothing like Nigel’s healthfully barely-yellow product.

So, once an hour he sits up at the table and has a couple of ounces, and over the day his pee gets lighter and paler. (Mental note: I need to talk to his mother about this.)

But the peeing? Now that he’s getting all that fluid, he’s peeing a lot more. And he takes HIMSELF to the potty. And then he pees. And hollers and cheers and screeches his pride.

“I PEED, Mary, I PEED!!!”

Now, his success rate is only about 50%. Distract the boy in the slightest, with a game, a craft, a snack, any kind of a happening at all, and he forgets. Pee squirts, puddles grow, the other children holler. “Timmy peein’, Mary! Timmy peed onna floor!” And Mary’s house? Is one happening place. So the ratio of potty vs floor piddling? Not so great.

But when he is sitting on the potty? Oh, the Festivities! I clap and cheer. “Yay, Timmy! You PEED.” And we have a little celebratory love-in, me and Timmy. And the love-in grows as the other children, drawn by the joyful noises, gather round. “You knew it was coming, and you went right to the potty! What a smart boy!” And all the little children dance and sing. And there is Great Rejoicing. And Timmy puffs his wee chest and proudly declares,

“I Peed innuh POTTY, Mary!”

And the dancing and singing stops, the rejoicing ceases, a pall drops over the festivities. Because this, my friends, Is A Lie. A falsehood. We would like it to be true, but, sadly, it is not.

Not once in these two days of happy potty times has the boy gotten the pee INTO the potty. He feels it coming, he races for the potty, he sits down, and … he squirts that stuff in a glistening arc ten cm up and thirty out. Well, I assume this trajectory based on the liquid evidence on the hardwood floor. I have yet to actually see it happen.

Why do I not accompany him, you might reasonably ask? Timing. It’s all in the timing. I take the boy, he sits, nothing happens. Performance anxiety? Could be! We’re very relaxed about it all, of course, but it still could be the freezing effect of having someone watching. I understand it happens to the adult version, too. As I would be with the adult version, I am kind, relaxed and reassuring. “That’s okay, Timmy. You can play some more. It will come later.”

And it does. It comes when Mary is up to her armpits in a craft, or preparing lunch, or sweeping under the dining table, or reading to the tots. It comes when Mary is busy, occupied, her attention distracted, until such time as she hears those fateful words,

“I PEED, Mary!!!”

I have tried trailing the boy. Keeping a deceptively casual eye on his comings and goings. Perking up when he heads to the living room, where the potty sits in a cosy nook between music cabinet and wall. I don’t know how he’s managed to avoid my experienced eagle eye for two solid days, but he has. Lightning-fast, that boy. Could be because he’s so slim? Stand the boy sideways, he disappears… But I do watch him, coming and going. I listen for the thud-thud-thud of his constantly pounding feet. And I hear…

“I PEED, Mary!”

With a 50% potty-sitting success rate and a 0% aim, I’m not sure if I’ll continue past this week. I’ll give it to the end of the week to try to train the boy to aim the apparatus south, but if we haven’t managed it by then, I’m quitting till after the Christmas break. He’s enthused and willing, but, invaluable as it is, I need a little more than Good Attitude.

And besides, I’m running out of paper towels.

December 4, 2007 Posted by | Nigel, potty tales, Timmy | 15 Comments