When people ask me "how are you?" I normally have the common sense to say "I'm fine thanks. How are you?" But last Saturday, when a fellow volunteer asked me how I was, I didn't give him my standard answer. Instead, I started talking about my work in campus and how my babies are coping with daycare. Since he appeared to be genuinely interested in my well-being, I got carried away and started talking about the challenges in toilet training Alden. Big mistake.
After spending 15 minutes listening to my stories about poos, potties and toddler tantrums, my friend excused himself abruptly and disappeared into the visitors centre. What was I thinking eh? Lesson to learn: never talk about your kids' poo with people you barely know. The result could be catastrophic. Now, he'll probably go around telling people, "Don't go near that one. All she talks about is her kids and their poos". Oh Well. It's not like I know everybody there.
So anyway. I reflected on the reasons why I talked about this issue with the volunteer and realized that I was deeply worried about Alden's progress. So far, our biggest achievement has been getting him to poo in the potty. That's about it. He is not trained to pee in the toilet yet and frankly, I haven't been consistent in his training This didn't really bother me that much until his head teacher approached me last week.
In our brief meeting, she highlighted the importance of toilet training and her message was clear: Alden needs to be toilet trained by the age of four. Hearing this, I managed to keep a straight face and was all smiles but inside I was panicking. That's a month from now!! How can I get him to graduate and get a degree in Toilet Training Skills when he's scared of looking at his own pee? Parenthood is looking pretty grim now.
What if Alden never learns how to pee in the toilet? What will his teachers say when he still wears diapers to school? I'm talking about primary school here. How can I find a diaper that will fit him when he gets too big? Adult diapers? These are some of the nightmarish stuff that crossed my mind.
Worried, I googled toilet training toddlers and found a trillion of tips on the subject. Like most good ideas, the tips I found only look good on paper and are not that practical for me. However, this site is exceptionally helpful in understanding toilet training refusals. There are a few suggestions that I might try.
Alden's teacher has also given me a very interesting suggestion - the aim-and-shoot game. The idea is to put a ping pong ball in the toilet bowl and get Daddy to show Alden how to aim and shoot at the ball. Daddy does this a couple of times and whenever he gets it right, he gets a special treat from Mommy. This will hopefully encourage the innocent little Alden to do the same thing. Daddy plays a big role here cos he needs to coax Alden to pee willingly. The moment he does, he gets a reward for his sheer effort. Of course a bigger reward will be given if he gets to shoot at the ping pong ball. Creative huh? I personally like the idea cos my role is pretty small.
So. For the next couple of months, that's how hubby and Alden will spend quality time together - Shooting at balls. Now all I need to do is go to Warehouse and get some nice ping pong balls. Hmmm, I wonder if they have them in pink.