Thursday, 23 July 2015

Dropping the diaper (a short ode to a small man’s underpants)

I love my son’s underpants. Cute, clean and easy. 

I love this new silhouette too. He looks taller without the bum padding. More grown up. It’s a proportion thing. Slim hips and bubble bum.

I thought I would miss diapers, even blogged about it. Truth is: I don’t. We both just moved on. 

Predictably, the washing machine runs more often. And he still needs night-time diapers. But I reckon not for long.

In the end, he dropped the diaper aged 3 1/2. I did manage to wonder whether he would ever loose it. I noticed that often he was the oldest boy, or even the only boy in diapers. And so did others, mothers in particular... Sometimes I felt stressed about him still being in diapers, when no one else seemed to be. I even started to worry that he wouldn't be able to start preschool in September, because they insists that the children should be potty trained to start.

But I just had to be patient. Let him drop the diaper when he was ready. And he wasn’t. Till he was. He had a couple of false starts, which lead to accidents, which he hated, so back in diapers.

Until one day…

‘I like my underpants. They feel good.’

Now if he wets the night-time diaper he cannot get out of it quickly enough. Not long ago he even said ‘Don’t worry mummy, I’ll just wee in my diaper.’ In answer to whether or not he needed to visit the loo before a long car journey. In fact, just the other day when facing a 2-hour car journey he did suggest he could wear a diaper. I said he probably didn’t need it, but I admire his thinking.

Today I finally gave away two un-opened packs of diapers. And two potties, a small travelling potty and two children's seats. He never really got into of these gimmicks, graduating straight to balancing on the big loo. ‘Ticky’ as he calls is, in his trademark no-'r' speak.

I knew I wouldn’t want to hurry him. I learned quickly that pushing the issue was completely counter productive. This is his body. Not mine to train. Despite his incredible physical abilities (more on that another time) and the fact he is very advanced in other areas, he still needs to be a baby many times a day. We bottle feed twice a day. 3 years into adoption, he still needs it. We are still playing catch up on the first 10 months we weren't there. I think the diaper fits into this pattern too. Advances in other areas of his life and skills, always seems to be accompanied by a strong need to be babied. Forcing or even just suggesting to grow up is just not the way forward. 

‘NO!!!’ he’d shout with ear splitting force, if I ask once too much whether he need to go to the loo. I can accurately tell about 5 mins before he can. I can only suggest he goes. And only once. It’s about balancing respect and helping him. 

It infuriates him if I ask him in front of other people. Especially if I press the issue. ‘Are you sure you don't have to go??!’ is as disrespectful as it comes for a 3, 10, 14 or 30 years old. ‘No!’ is a great reminder that I have overstepped it as an eager mum. Well, fair enough. So we have agreed that I whisper the question. Once. Usually I don’t need to.

There is only one come back to his NO!, and that is ‘Okay.’ Said not in the patronising way of a mother who knows better, but in the accepting, trusting voice. There are times, when I find the line a between the two a blur and he know exactly which side of the fence I come down on. He so has my number.  

‘Just let me know when you are ready.’ 

There are times when I have to remind him. Because he hates wetting himself. It's embarrassing. So he needs a little help. For instance if he is engrossed in something, so engrossed he may forget. Then I ask him in my mothertongue or whisper in his ear: ‘Let’s go to have a wee. If we do it now you can play longer afterwards.’ That is my most effective sentence. Along with ‘I wonder whether there are any plants that would like watering in the garden…’.

Usually though, I just have to trust him. He thrives and grows on the trust.

Slow down, mummy. Slow down.

I came across a couple really helpful articles at the time about potty training by the paediatric urologist, Dr Steve Hodges. This one at and this one in the huff post. He also wrote this nice one on bed wetting. The right kind of articles at the right time.


  1. Bravo to you both! Toilet training is one of my least favourite things about having all the little ones!

    1. Thank you! We got there in the end. :)