During Introductions, I thanked Little Chick’s foster carer for all that she had done for him – and, by extension, us. She accepted my praise, downplaying her positive impact on Little Chick’s life by saying it was both her pleasure and her job. Then she cackled with laughter: “At least I haven’t had to toilet train him. You can have that fun!” At the time, I brushed it off with some ill placed humour. But I get it now.
Toilet training sucks.
It is hands down the hardest thing we have had to contend with so far. I appreciate that toilet training is rarely easy and that boys tend to find it trickier than girls do. But I hadn’t accounted for a child that doesn’t complain when he is wet and/or soiled. Worse, a child that seems to enjoy the sensation and find some perverse comfort in it.
Recognising that Little Chick’s past experiences and developmental delay may make it a tougher proposition, we agreed early on not to push toilet training. It would happen when he was ready. Nursery have been supportive of this and haven’t negatively commented, even though most of his peers are already in pants. But lately we (I) have been a little nervous about the progress he’s making, or lack thereof. With one eye on starting school in September, I’m keen for him to make progress at his own pace – but quickly and now! Obviously, this pressure won’t help Little Chick and I’ve tried not to convey my anxiety to him. But he must sense it. He’s a smart boy and emotionally aware. And I do not have a poker face, especially when wiping up wee or poo.
Listening to our health visitor’s advice, we have tried skipping the potty stage and moving straight to the toilet. But this seems too bold a leap. Little Chick seems prepared to tolerate us if we allow baby steps. So, we have invested in potties. Plural. In various locations. In countless colours and styles. Heck, we even have one shaped like the small toilets at nursery with its own inbuilt flush. We have used bubbles to engage him – and encourage movements. We have added target signs to make it fun. We have stocked relevant reading material beside his potty. Perhaps we are doing too much…
Like everything with Little Chick right now, we will be led by him. I can’t imagine how tricky this must feel for him and how frustrated he is when he sees his peers succeed and our veiled disappointment when he doesn’t quite get it. But we will keep trying. Because, bless him, he is trying his hardest and that’s all we can ask.