For this young mother, potty-training her daughter was like a time attack sprint with an imaginary chequered flag at the end
Sporty, Potty PHOTO: TORQUE

While most parents start potty-training their children from around
the age of two, my husband and I left it until just before our daughter turned three. It was partly because we didn't quite know how to go about it, despite an arsenal of tips from books and well-intentioned friends,
and also because diapers are so convenient.

This proved to be one of the rare instances where starting late had its
advantages. I know of kids younger than mine who took a few months to master the fine art of "potty-pee" and "potty-poop", and of parents who dedicated much effort (and creativity) to potty-training – from reward
charts to cute clothes.

For us, we simply put Eryn in underwear and shorts, explained to her that she wasn't wearing diapers anymore, and that she had to let us know when she wanted to go so that we could bring her to the toilet or potty.
We scored immediate success and within a few days, she got the hang of it. There were a few boo-boos, of course, including being able to make her own way to the potty but, alas, forgetting to remove her pants before letting go.

It was an enjoyable experience, even amusing at times. Her "I want to wee wee/poo poo" signalled the start of a time attack for the girlracer in me and was always accompanied by a flurry of activity in the house, with my hubby and me sprinting her to the nearest toilet, invariably cutting a few furniture apexes and understeering a little
along the way.

The funniest part was that she appeared calm throughout the entire frenzy and simply proceeded to do her business very matter-of-factly upon reaching her perch, or the finishing line for our unofficial race. At this point, a large chequered flag would be waving inside my head and the joy of seeing her accomplish this was a greater
reward than any motorsport trophy.

The whole "qualifying session" of potty-training got me thinking about how everything we know and can accomplish as an adult, we had to learn from scratch as a child. I'm not even talking about the ability to solve complex arithmetic problems or perform challenging driving manoeuvres on a racetrack, but basic motor skills such as grasping an object, climbing the stairs, feeding oneself and going to the toilet.

Abilities such as riding a bicycle, swimming, or driving a manual car tend to stick with us for life once we've acquired them. We hardly think about them and maybe even take them for granted. That is, until we become parents and have to help our children acquire these same skills.

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This article first appeared in the September 2013 issue of Torque.


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