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Marisa Mackle: Driven potty over child toilet training

We're potty training right now. At least, we're trying our very best to. It isn't easy. We started a month ago, but so far we have got no further than buying a potty. Well, two potties actually.

The first my child used to put his toys into, and then he would fill it up with water and throw it around the place.

At my wit's end, I bought another, more attractive potty, with a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine on it. The potty is even designed like an armchair to make it a more pleasant experience for the child. But the first thing Gary did was put it on his head and now he just uses it as a hat.

As in all matters of child-rearing, many of my mother's friends offer conflicting pieces of advice.

"He'll tell you when he's ready," said a mother of four who dismissed my anxiety with a simple wave of her hand.

"Boys take longer to train," said another. "It usually takes about three months."

"Nonsense," insisted a lady at the tennis club, "It takes three days' intensive training. Summer is a good time because you can be out in the garden all day."

In this weather? I don't think so.

Then somebody told me about a singing potty. What ever will they think up next?

A friend told me her sister had bought one, but it would start singing at strange hours of the night, waking up the household.

Mind you, I'm eager to get a move on now. Gary is booked into a playschool next month and they've said they don't take kids unless they're potty-trained. But that's not my only incentive -- nappies cost a fortune.

I'm at the end of my tether here. I have great plans for when Gary goes to playschool, such as reclaiming some of my life and being able to have a cup of coffee in peace!

Some people have suggested treats, such as sweets or stickers for rewards after your child has done something in the potty. But the treats have been eaten, the stickers are covering the house and we are no nearer to be being potty trained. In vain I searched the net for an answer. I came across a site advocating Potty Boot Camp.

What was that? I wondered. Did you send your tot off for the weekend and they came back perfectly trained? Genius! Why did nobody ever think of it before? I'm sure my little Gary would love it. He could make friends and learn how to use the potty at the same time. Alas, it turned out only to be the title of a book. Pity. I had been mentally packing his suitcase!

Marisa is the author of Along Came A Stork


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