Walking, talking and turds in the toilet. We tackled the latter of these three parenting milestones recently. That’s been fun…
In November last year, about a month before his second birthday, Arlo announced at the crack of dawn one morning he needed a ‘doo doo’. We thought ‘what the hell, no point in ignoring him since we’re gonna have to tackle toilet training soon so…’ and plopped him on the toilet. And he ‘did did’. The next day I bought pants and a loo seat.
We had a super relaxed attitude to toilet training. The general consensus from the wider audience was that ‘he’s too young’ but we live in the tropics, running around butt naked is comfier than a nappy and crapping in the garden is good for the plants so why not, have at it son. My mother in law was staying with us at the time and she toilet trained her kids in Indonesia when they were really young and if I’m honest, I went along with it at first because it seemed like the thing to do here but I honestly didn’t think it would come to anything and very quickly I felt it was a mistake to try since he seemed to develop an aversion to the toilet almost immediately. I imagine hanging your tiny ass over a gaping hole is a bit scary to a toddler. I was ready to shelve the whole thing, trying to save face by agreeing with folk ‘yeh he probably is too young’ but then I thought lets just try a potty and see what happens. Hardin wasn’t game. It’s not really a thing here (unless you’re western) and he wasn’t raised that way. If I remember correctly, his exact words were “hell no, ewww“. I bought one anyway. Bless him, he still thinks he lives in a democracy. Home alone five days a week and with a baby to boot, the potty gave us convenience which gave us success. I let him run around naked like a poor mans Mowgli and when he had to go, he could pop himself on it. It couldn’t handle his adult size jobbies though so the potty became obsolete pretty quickly and we moved back to the toilet seat. That too got old quickly mostly because mummy kept forgetting to put it on before sitting him on the throne but also they don’t have kiddie seats in public loos so he was gonna have to learn sooner or later. The loo seat has been relegated to a colourful bathroom decoration now. Yet more money well spent. TMI – we’re a family off bum washers and have been washing Arlo’s little tooshie since he was 6 months old so pooping was never much of an issue. He hates being dirty and he’d been telling us for a while he needed a ‘doo doo’ because he wanted washed asap so he took number 2’s on the toilet in his stride. At the beginning, wee wee’s were an issue though. He was really good at telling us after the fact, thanks son. He didn’t want to take a break from playing to empty his bladder so we had a few accidents but we got there. No, my real issue with potty training was and still is (because lets face it even if you bang it out in two weeks, you’re still on high alert for some time after!) the ‘footnotes‘. Those ancillary pieces of information, ticks specific to your child and their potty training journey that no one can warn you about.
Ok, TMI again but if you’ve had kids, and I’m specifically looking at you here mummies, you checked your shame at the door as soon as they said ‘ok, lets see how dilated you are‘ so don’t go all prudish on me now. When I go to the bathroom, I go. I need and I go. In and out in 5 minutes, tops. Wiped, washed, dried, done. My hubby on the other hand, and he’ll kill me for saying this (its the gins fault honey, I’m under the influence), decides he’ll need to go for a poo on Friday and goes to the loo on Wednesday. I’ve never known someone to spend so long on the crapper! God love him. Its the only place he gets peace, I’m clearly missing a trick. Anyway, I digress. Our son has inherited this trait from his father. Arlo can go to the bathroom, do his business and then sit and wait for more. Like. Fifteen. Minutes. More. And thats a long time when theres a screaming baby in the other room that was interrupted mid feed for her elder siblings bowel evacuation. Even if he’s clearly finished or maybe doesn’t need a doo-doo at all, he’s decided he wants to go and we’re not moving until he’s done do-ing. I must say though, when asked repeatedly if he’s finished, his response of ‘no mummy, I wait for more doo-doo to come out‘ is the sweetest thing, I could squeeze the life outta him, its sooooo cute. Hmm…maybe squeezing him would help, I’ll keep that in mind. I’m still trying to make him understand that going to the toilet is a calling and not a choice but hey ho, in the meantime I can expect to spend a lot more time staring down the barrel of the crapper.
Leading on from this, my sweet boy likes to hold hands on the toilet. I haven’t yet decided if its for moral support or something to brace against but he forces me to be at head height for this ritual and mummy isn’t getting any younger and after 15 minutes, I can no longer feel my legs. At home, I can sit on the floor but in public loos….? Eh, no! Which brings me on to my next point.
Bali is hot. Bali is humid. Toilets are small and squatting in one for 15 minutes with a toddler that insists he still has more doo doo to do is sweaty work. Its gotten so unbearable in the heat that as soon as Arlo even hints at the subject when we’re out, hubs and I call shotgun on who’s gonna take him. He likes daddy better than me nowadays, the ungrateful little monkey, so I’m currently winning this one, boo ya! Oh yeh, and this is Indonesia so squat toilets are still a thing. Helicoptering a squirming two year old who insists he can only go on the potty (since thats what you’ve taught him, ffs!) over a small hole in the ground doesn’t end well. For his shorts. Or your sandalled feet. Enough said.
I mentioned earlier we’re a family of bum washers? Well, Indonesia is a country of bum washers and every toilet is fitted with what I affectionately refer to as a bum hose. A little shower head situated next to the loo that serves to wash your bum after a number 2. But fancy toilets have a built in bidet – a little pipe that is ejected from the back end of the seat upon turning a little handle. Designed I’m sure, but failing, to be discreet, anyone that has ever been in a toilet cubicle with a toddler will know they insist on touching and turning every little Tom, knob and Harry they come into contact with (as well as licking the sanitary bin given half the chance!) so of course my son found it on his first encounter in a fancy public loo and turned it on just as I turned around after locking the stall door. The jet is angled upward to make contact with the appropriate orifice however, unfortunately for me it found my face and a wholly inappropriate orifice. No where in Indonesia is tap water drinkable. Especially when it comes out of the bum hose.
And as if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Arlo has recently decided that not only does George (as in Curious George, his monkey comforter) need to do-do now, he too needs to hold hands with mummy. By my calculations, I’m now spending approximately 30 minutes of my day supporting a stuffed monkey through his wee wee’s and doo doo’s. When did it all go so wrong?!!