There is nothing quite like toilet training to dissolve a normally organised household into chaos.  Somehow, in the midst of an Adelaide heat-wave, with temperatures in excess of 40 degrees centigrade, I thought that the time had come to ditch the nappies from my life forever.

In truth, the journey towards nappy freedom started about a month ago.  “Here you go.” I told my twenty-six month old daughter.  “It’s a potty.  You do your wees and poos in it, like a big girl.”  She screwed up her little face and laughed at me with loud abandon.  Perhaps it was just that the potty was clearly secondhand, green, covered in badly applied stickers with a very strong masculine theme; trucks and cars.  Perhaps she really was mocking me. At any rate I gave her a moment,   watching as she turned it over in her hands, tried it on for size (on her head mind), before casting it aside in preference for her yellow duck.  “No sweetheart,” I coaxed whilst proceeding to remove her nappy before sitting her down.  At this point big sister bustled into the room and demanded that she toilet train her little sister.  “Sure, go for it!”  If the kid wants a challenge give her one. I’ve heard a few stories about older siblings doing the training while Mum relaxes with a cup of tea ( although I suspect it was actually a gin and tonic).

To my surprise it worked.  Ten year olds really can work magic; and before I knew it she had our little one wee in the potty each night before her bath.  With Christmas and New Year sorted and the end of summer holidays looming (and my return to work in sight), I decided that it was time to take things to the next level.  Cold turkey.  It’s the only way to go.  No pull ups, no charts, jelly beans or stickers, just a pair of cotton knickers, a broom and a massive bottle of Pine O Clean.  I was ready.

I primed her the night before.  It went something like this.  “Tomorrow we will go to the shops and get you some big girl knickers okay.”


“And you can pick out the ones you like.”

“Peppa Pig! Peppa Pig!”

“Okay. . .” I offered a little doubtfully, “maybe Mickey Mouse or something?”


The next day at the shops she seemed so enthusiastic.  She proceeded to remind me at least ten times about the purpose for our visit.  We left the store forty minutes later both smiling and with enough undies to make Walt Disney grin quietly in his grave.   This was going to be fun.

You can stop laughing at me now because I just realised that I left out an important part of the story.  I started toilet training on Monday, AFTER I had shampooed the carpets Saturday AND laundered every sofa cover and cushion in the house.  I am clearly either stupid or delusional.

In fairness it has been a while since I have toilet trained a child (my middle child is now 8).  I suppose that I should have anticipated what was to come.  In true form she refused to use the potty and I spent a whole day chasing behind her with a bucket.  At one point my son noted, “Its kinda funny Mum how she keeps weeing in the same spot.  I think I have a puppy for a sister.”

“Yeah,” giggled Miss Ten, “It’s like she’s marking her territory.”  The pair of them stopped laughing about the time she smeared the clean sofa with poo.

Later that night, as I divulged the escapades of my day to my attentive husband, he asked with concern.  “Well how did you do it with the other two?”

“I dunno,” came my terse response.  “Perhaps they did it themselves?”

Hubby snorted.

“Nah.” I conceded.  “To be honest, I think my Mum did it.”

“Might be a good idea to leave it a bit then.”

“Yeah.” I agreed.  “Perhaps just until I go back to work.”

***Incidentally, the next day I resorted to the use of stickers and low and behold, she used the potty!

Published by Tanya Welden