Toilet training then and now

My interest in toilet training wee ones has resurged since the arrival of four little grandies with a couple of two-year-olds in the mix. It’s mostly called potty training these days but as I’m not a potty, chippy, bikky, tummy, botty kind of person, I’ll stick with toilet training.

Toilet training started earlier back ….

Back in the day parents used to toilet train their little ones earlier than they do these days. There were several reasons for that. Most of us were using cloth nappies and they created a helluva lot of work.  Waterproofs were worn on top of the nappy and caused terrible rashes.  Women were not welcome in the workplace after they had babies, so with their newfound freedom they could spend whole days (and nights) toilet training. Being forced to stay at home meant consistency with the training and by all accounts that was a good thing. Consistency that is.  Family planning was not a thing especially if you had a catholic background. So people ended up with lots of accidents. People even used to say things like ‘number 7 was an accident’. Imagine ending up with a tribe close together all in cloth nappies and waterproofs. All those things were part of my story.

Today’s modern toddlers know best

Nowadays toilet training (in Australia) starts when the child is ready. Out of the Ark parents started when they had had enough. But it’s all about kids rights these days. And the current generation of parents are bookish. They read up on how to do everything rather than follow the advice of the previous generation. It’s a well-known fact that we didn’t know how to do anything. Apparently, there are lots of benefits to starting later such as it doesn’t take as long. As long as what, I’m not sure. That’s according to a reading from the scripture of Raising Children, Chapter 2, Verse 16.

Anecdotes from my personal archives

Dear Diary,

8 October 1984 Day 1 of toilet training.

Little Ted (Adam) is now eighteen months old. In three month’s time my baby boy will be a big brother. So today we went shopping and I bought him some little underpants and a poo/pee pot. At home, he ran around in his unders for the rest of the day. I demonstrated sitting on the pot and pretended to do a poo and wee with lots of grunting and prrrrsh sounds. He wasn’t interested. He put his toys in the pot and then used it for a hat.

9 October Same as Day 1

More reasons to persevere.

  • No more gravity defying poos, the type that discharge up the little one’s back intercepted only by the hairline.
  • No more struggling with a toddler who refuses to surrender a dirty nappy.
  • No more struggling with a toddler who flees when he sees a clean nappy.
  • No more running out of room and pegs on the clothesline.

10 October Same as Day 1

11 October Same as Day 1

12 October

My 28th birthday went unnoticed as usual. Today we started treating the pot as a friend and named him “Potty”. He came everywhere with us. Still no success.

Two and a half years earlier – picture this

I hosted my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary party at my place.  My cousin and her husband arrived with their toddler and a pot. After the introductions, the pot was immediately plonked down on the floor in the middle of the loungeroom amongst the guests. The toddler had a romp around. Then his mother screeched ‘potty time’. The toddler abided by sitting on the pot. The familiar ‘prrrsh’ sound was followed by some loud grunts.  As soon as he was done the parents inspected the contents of the pot while the guests all began applauding loudly at his efforts. This performance was repeated several times throughout the evening.

After everyone had gone …..

Dear Diary

31 January 1982

Things to remember

  • I will never have any children
  • In case of accident. I will not be carrying a pot around and making a public display of my future child when it’s time to toilet train him/her.

Three months later

Dear Diary

28 January 1985

Adam is now 21 months old. His little ‘twister’ has arrived. Still no success with the damn pot. So we went shopping for a toddler sized toilet seat that sits over the top of the full sized toilet. Time to try the big boy toilet.

29 January

Adam is showing some interest in sitting on the big boy toilet. Just sitting. He’s quite fascinated with the toilet paper. Pulling it down. Ripping off bits. I spend most of the time while baby Hannah is asleep kneeling on the bathroom floor propping him up on the toilet, so he doesn’t fall in.

1 February

Adam is saying ‘wee now’. Doesn’t mean he wants to go to the toilet. It means he has wet his pants. Have decided to give up for now and restart closer to his second birthday.  




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