It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I was wrong

Ha! Not very often you see me say that. At least, not about toddlers. You might even want to write it on your calendars. In other areas of my life, I’m much more self-deprecating… but you guys don’t see those bits. Here on the blog, I am a bastion of self-confidence. (Bet you just want to smack me some days, huh?)

But when it came to Noah and the potty, I was wrong. I was dubious that he was ready to train. His parents were ready, no doubt, cute little over-achievers that they are.

(They ARE! The cutest damned pair you’d ever want to see. She’s slim as a willow twig and has these enormous gray eyes, and a confident yet soft-spoken demeanor. He matches her body type in a masculine way, and he’s got the greatest grin, which generally accompanies the most engagiing laugh. And together? They’re adorable. I love this couple to bits. Every time I see them I fight the urge to squeeze their cheeks and coo “You’re just so cuuuute!” Much as I do to their son, except with him I don’t fight it. Seems I am now of an age now where I’m beginning to get maternal about the parents, at least the younger ones…)

But anyway. They said Noah was ready. I was dubious. He may have been ready physically, but I didn’t think he was there mentally at all. I’d seen no signs of that whatsoever. No talking about his functions, nor even any particular awareness of it happening, no complaining when he was wet or soiled — though if you asked him if he had a poo in the diaper, he generally knew — no response when I brought out the potty. Oddly enough, there’d been a glimmer of readiness some months prior, but since then, nothing. Nothing. So me, I thought the impetus was entirely theirs. This was mom and dad’s idea, mom and dad’s energy was driving this thing.

And when that’s the case? It can go bad in a big way. Power struggles that go on for months. Constant accidents. Children who hide in closets to have their poo. Crying, screaming, tantrums, stomping of feet and tearing of hair. Sometimes the child does that, too.

But not with Noah.

Now, I still may have been right that the energy for this project originated with mom and dad, not Noah, but they lucked out. Not only is Noah a smart little guy, but he’s also gentle and cooperative. He was a bit bemused at first, but he never got contrary, never dug in his wee heels. And he TOTALLY bought into the whole Smarties schtick!

So, no Big Bad Ugly.

He just… learned to use the potty. In two weeks. (Which is how long it takes, if they’re ready. Maybe three.)

He still needs a diaper for sleeping, but during the day he’s clean and dry, with very few accidents (two in a month) — and no more Smarties, even.

So, there you have it. Once in a while, Mary calls it wrong.

But not very damned often.


November 30, 2009 - Posted by | Noah, parents, potty tales | , ,


  1. Mary Poppins is “practically perfect in every way”.

    ‘Practically’, but not totally. In truth, having read a couple of book in the series, I cordially loathe Mary Poppins. She is not much like the stern-but-loving Disney version, but rather a nasty sort who seems to enjoy nothing more than sneering at and belittling the children in her care. One of the many reasons I’m NOT MaryP. 🙂

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | December 1, 2009 | Reply

    • She’s also rather vain, if I remember correctly.

      HA! Touche!

      Comment by ifbyyes | December 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. I’ll take this as motivation to actually get serious about potty training after ignoring all ready signs for months. May need to resort to smarties because while she may be ready, she sure doesn’t fancy it (a bit like her mum really).

    If she’s ready but initially reluctant, Smarties might well do the trick. If the reluctance blossoms into full-blown refusal, however, I’d suggest you back off entirely and try again in another six weeks or so. Unlike the food struggle, this is a power struggle the child can win, and it can drag on for mooooonths.

    Comment by cartside | December 1, 2009 | Reply

  3. Very big of you. 😉 I thought so! 😛

    Just when I gave up with mine, the people at the creche decided she was ready. Whatever. Now I’m not any more. They can sort it and then I’ll reap the benefits. (Unlikely as she only goes there two days a week.) Maybe after the holidays.

    You’re sure having trouble getting things coordinated there! It’s odd to start now, so close to a major disruption in the schedule, especially as she’s there so intermittently. I think your attitude is appropriate, given the circs: “Whatever.”

    Comment by Mwa | December 1, 2009 | Reply

  4. Good going Noah!

    I feel the draw of trying to toilet train Henry as it comes closer to christmas (which is warm here in Australia) and I know that I have three weeks at home…but I am torn between not wanting to push and not wanting to waste an opportunity to try and thirdly, not wanting to be cleaning up after “accidents” all day long!

    If he’s ready, there will be very few accidents. I kid you not. You’ll instruct him to sit every 20 minutes, reward him with lavish praise (and perhaps Smarties) at first for just sitting, and then — oh, the miracle! — for producing, and within a day or three you’ll just be fine-turning a process he understands. It can be that easy, if he’s ready.

    Comment by Tammy | December 2, 2009 | Reply

  5. I have a situation that I’d like advice on. I potty-trained Owen (age – 32 months)a month ago and he caught on right away and was doing great for about two weeks. We went to my parents for a weekend and he completely regressed. Now he will pee in the potty if I remind him but he has yet to poop in the potty since we’ve been home – and it’s been two weeks. I really, really, really, don’t want to go back to diapers. But I’m also tired of washing out underwear and worrying about what will happen when we’re away from home. He’s proud when he pees in the potty and he’s rewarded with candy – but doesn’t seem to want to poop in the potty. I don’t understand because he did with no problems before and no reminders.

    Comment by Angie | December 10, 2009 | Reply

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