I can’t write anything about potty-training you haven’t heard before

Photo 09-05-2016, 12 38 25 pm (800x800)

I mean, let’s be real. I am teaching a small human to direct his waste into a pot instead of in his own clothing. Isn’t it weird that this is a skill everyone you know had to learn? And somehow we need to pass it on to our children even though by now we’ve totally internalised it and don’t actually know how we do it? Unfortunately it isn’t the stuff of transcendent storytelling.

Here’s a poem I wrote about it instead.


The Pants Are Full And They Need To Come Off


It’s like defusing a crap-bomb

with held breath and shaky hands.

It’s like a magic trick

where you whip the tablecloth away

and leave the glasses standing.

Except there’s poo under your fingernails

and no one applauds.


(If tips about potty-training are what you’re after, I have only four to offer:

  1. I can’t speak for your situation, etc etc, but basically everyone I know potty-trained their first-born early and hated it, then potty-trained their second-born much later and cried with relief about how much easier it was. So it has been here. I know nappies get tiresome and gross as Two wears on, but the only relevant question is: would you rather clear up faeces from a nappy or from your carpet? If you wait, they’ll get it quicker.
  2. Portable potties with throw-away bags. It fits in your car boot, your supermarket trolley, your pushchair, your nappy bag. You no longer have the fear of public urination with nowhere to run. LIFE CHANGER (I got mine here).
  3. From a friend (advice received gratefully after I wrote the poem above): give yourself a gift, and buy many pairs of cheap, unlovely pants and keep nail scissors in your handbag. So when they poop their pants (in my limited experience, number twos take much longer to get the hang of), you can just cut the pants off them and throw the whole thing away. In a grand act of self-care, I decided that I am not washing faeces out of pants on a regular basis ever again, until I’m eighty or so and they’re my pants.
  4. From me: pull-ups and even pants make my kids feel like they’ve got a nappy on. Naked is the way to go, for a good three days. Put towels on everything you care about, whack up the heating, give them lots of drinks, and alternate between books and CBeebies while they practice.

Good luck, Human Waste Warriors. You got this.)

Towel; nakedness, CBeebies. Present and correct.

Towel; nakedness, CBeebies. Present and correct.

3 thoughts on “I can’t write anything about potty-training you haven’t heard before

  1. I too am in the stage of potty-training boy 2. I have not yet felt inspired to write a poem about it. Unless repeating, “Let me know if you need a wee, OK?” 200 times counts as poetry. Thanks for the timely post!

  2. I threw pants away too – my Mother was horrified but in this day and age of too cheap clothing I explained a disposable nappy is about 8p-13p depending on brand and a pair of cheap ASDA pants is about 30p so hardly extortionate and probably kinder to the environment! Wishing you and T swift success in nailing the potty training.

  3. Thank you for the portable potty advice here – brilliant to have, especially when first ever poo-in-potty ended up being in that, behind a bench in the park :]
    I don’t know how we ended up here – we were just “trying her on the potty at nappy changes” and now suddenly we have cotton pants, and a portable potty at not even 2-and-a-half. Feels too late to turn back now though…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *