Bend over and touch your toes

How amazing was Valerie Hunter Gordon?

When my young ones were babies, toddlers and then small kids I used to write a lot of stuff about them. These musings started in the 1980s. Over the years a lot has changed in the way parents raise their children. One example is potty training.

Valerie Hunter Gordon, inventor of PADDI in 1947 
considered the first disposable nappy 

In the early days it was called toilet training because it was before the time Aussies and others developed a penchant for putting an ‘ee’ sound on the end of words. Potty, nappy, bikky, dicky, brekky, fishy, chippy, booby, hotty botty – that sort of thing. When you think about it though pot training sounds like it could have sinister connotations.  Anyway, the training usually started at a much younger age mainly because there was nothing worse than cloth nappies aka terry towelling nappies. Valerie Hunter Gordon felt the same way by the time she got to the middle child of her tribe of six so she invented the disposable nappy way back in 1947.

Moving forward to the 1980s …. 

Disposable nappies were available but not everyone could afford them.  Some people didn’t even have a dryer.  Poor me ? So toilet training began early in my household because the cloth nappies just had to go.  Here are some reasons why. 

Instructions for cloth nappies – Musing no. 1 

  • First of all soak soiled nappies overnight in the essential nappy bucket 
  • Wash at first light 
  • Check the weather 
  • Hang out on Hills Hoist – this uses every available washing line
  • When dry fold in two styles – one for girls, the other for boys
  • Buy nappy liners -are these really Chux Superwipes?? 
  • Have a supply of waterproof pants aka as waterproofs to wear over the nappy
  • Treat shocking nappy rash possibly caused by waterproofs and Chux Superwipes 
  • Be patient. Getting a cloth nappy on a run away toddler whilst trying not to stab the said toddler with a big safety pin is not easy
Wish I’d known about these ?

And now to the present day

Talk about information overload. There is so much advice for parents these days. Start training when they’re ready, second thoughts when you’re ready, enrol them in potty training boot camp, model the procedure (really?), tell the child the potty a friend and needs regular visits (it can even have a name such as Grotty Potty, Dotty Potty, Mr/Mrs Potty, Peppa Potty etc), keep the potty in the same place preferably the bathroom, on family outings don’t forget to take the potty with you for consistency, give rewards and more rewards, buy big boy/big girl pants to tempt them out of the wet, shitty nappy (does a potty trainee really care?), bribery ……… The list goes on. 

No nonsense advice from Nannie Annie 

My daughter and son-in-law began potty training their two year old just after his second birthday. It was a stressful time but they wanted to get the job done  because baby number two had already arrived. The first time I had the honour of wiping little Mr Ks bum after he had made a deposit in the potty was a very special day. After the usual inspection, admiring the size, working out the shape and lots of praise and clapping followed by more praise and clapping it was time to do the clean up and get the strides back on.   ‘Bend over and touch your toes.’ Little Mr K dutifully complied.   My daughter told me a few weeks later that the best advice she got was ‘bend over and touch your toes.’ I was chuffed.




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