It’s been 3 months and the weeing on the floor hasn’t stopped. Neither has the occasional poo-poo on the carpet (why is it always on the carpet that they poo?? There’s a perfectly nice, wipe-cleanable wooden floor just over there!) We started off all eager and organised. Wall charts and coloured stickers for wee-wees, butterfly stickers for a poo-poo. But then they didn’t seem that bothered by the stickers and it cost me more energy trying to get them interested in the stickers than they were worth: they weren’t stopping them weeing themselves anyway.
GIANT chocolate buttons
So we gave up on the stickers and just carried on with the positive encouragement. Well, most of the time. When your child jubilantly announces at the top of her voice “Wee wee!!” as she spreads her legs and sprays her wares everywhere and then gaily shouts out “Never mind!” when she’s done you start questioning whether you should at least show some sign of annoyance. The other day small girlie one came bounding into the garden excitedly announcing that she had done a poo-poo in the potty. What she had actually done was three massive poos near the potty and a tiny after thought in it. I failed to match her excitement. Small boy’s journey hasn’t been smooth either: He fell short of the target the other day then wiped his bum with his hand and started drawing caveman-style all over the walls. Then girlie helpfully prodded her finger in it – “look finger dirty mummy” – and got creative on the walls too. Meanwhile I had also managed to tread in some and walk it into the kitchen and lounge. Another day, in the space of about 15 minutes, boy pooed in the paddling pool, girl weed on the kitchen floor, boy then pooed all over a kitchen chair, wiped it up with girl’s comfort blanket then threw girl’s comfort blanket in the paddling pool, then went off and weed in the potty and was all “Check out how clever I am!” and I’m like, “Seriously??”
Needless to say it’s all been immensely entertaining.
So now we’re turning to the power of the chocolate button. And we’re not just talking any old chocolate button. We going big guns. We’re going GIANT. This is actually only because Husband didn’t realise that there was such a thing as a GIANT sized chocolate button. The conversation went a bit like this:
[Small girl sits nibbling painfully slowly on a GIANT chocolate button dribbling chocolate all around her chin and all over her hands. She looks like Peppa Pig eating chocolate cake, but for the pink skin and snout. And indeed the chocolate cake.]
Husband: I think we might have to go for something smaller – these chocolate buttons are way bigger than they used to be
Me: That’s because they’re GIANT chocolate buttons
Husband: Are they? How do you know?
Me: From the label on the packet saying GIANT chocolate buttons.
Initially the results were mixed. While Husband was out and about lording over the pair and wielding the new and exciting GIANT chocolate buttons there were no accidents. And uncharacteristically, small boy managed to wee on the (thus far extremely underused) travel potty. But when they returned to my care, they of course forgot the GIANT chocolate buttons. So within two minutes of arriving home we again had two small naked bottoms running around and Mummy crawling around on her hands and knees wiping clean the wooden floor (this time – small mercies) once more.
But three days later and the results are beginning to take shape. Well, sort of. Small boy can now be coaxed onto the potty at times where he would previously have refused. At times I surreptitiously add extra GIANT button bribery outside of the standard one button for a wee, two buttons for a poo reward model to get results and most of the time it works. As for small girl, well she doesn’t even need coaxing anymore and is instead sitting resolute on the potty at all times of the day adamant that she is about to do a “wee-wee-poo-poo-two-buttons”. Rather than this keeping her entertained and allowing me to crack on with some chores, however, or even – gasp! – something more fun like reading a book or having a shower, my presence and interaction is still very much required: It seems that “wee-wee-poo-poo-two-buttons” won’t make an appearance without some audience participation from me. So in another one of those blessed ‘things they don’t tell you about parenthood’ moments, I find myself sitting with her for hours at a time while she instructs me how I can best help get things moving: “Mummy sit-a-me”, “Mummy, hold-a-me”, “No Mummmy, no touch”, “Mummy talk-a-me”, ‘Mummy, no talk!”, “Mummy sit here”, “No leg there, Mummy, leg cross” …ad infinitum.
But eventually “wee-wee-poo-poo-two-buttons” does make its appearance and the GIANT chocolate buttons are dutifully doled out. Two for small girl, the rest of the packet for me as a reward for not strangling her in the process.
So a week on and how are we feeling? Did the power of the GIANT chocolate buttons transform this house of poop? Well, I’d say that in general yes. The threads on the knees of my trousers are only a little more bare, the piles of soaking laundry are smaller, the potties are looking more used and, but for a particularly harrowing diarrhoea incident that we’re all trying to forget, the number of carpet-ruining and mental health challenging accidents have indeed gone down. The downside is of course, that I am now hopelessly addicted to GIANT chocolate buttons, which has meant that my cabbage soup diet hasn’t been quite as effective as I’d hoped. On the plus side, however, I haven’t had an accident all morning.