Everyone tells me that my son won’t start school in a nappy, but I’m actually worried he might!

He is an adorable little monkey. Very cheeky, cute and unfortunately, incredibly stubborn. He takes after me, I’m told. As many parents will know this will make potty training a nightmare. I had a feeling potty training him would not be as smooth as it was with my daughter who, at the age of two years and three months, took just two weeks to be clean and dry, day and night (and we weren’t even trying to train her at night). I realise now that it was more down to luck than me being a genius at potty training! My gut feeling was that my son would not be ready to potty train at the same age, but my husband and I decided to give it a go. You never know…!

I was on maternity leave when I potty trained my daughter, making it easier to relax and be laid back about the whole thing. This time I was back at work and we decided to take time off work to start doing it. I’d used a ‘Potty Training in One Week’ book before, taking ideas and the general structure of potty training rather than expecting miracles in just a few days. So we used the same approach again. It didn’t work. Not in the slightest. Where my daughter responded well to rewards and the anticipation of a sticker or treat for a wee well done, my son didn’t. If he wanted a little chocolate button he would do a wee in the potty. If he didn’t fancy one he would just go ahead and wet himself. Of course it took a few weeks to get to that stage but I just couldn’t believe the difference between him and his sister.

Things seemed to get better for a few weeks. While he never got around to asking for the potty, he would wait until we offered and then do his business. However, come New Year (and two months since the start of potty training), it all went down the pan, so to speak. Forget the treats, he just didn’t want to use the potty. No amount of bribery, coercion, new ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ pants from Father Christmas and praise encouraged him to be a big boy. Even being wet didn’t bother him. Instead the little monkey would happily tell me he’d wet himself just minutes after refusing to sit on the potty. To say my husband and I were frustrated was an understatement. It seemed parents all around me were telling me their clever little boy just decided to be a big boy and was potty trained overnight. Why wasn’t mine? I couldn’t help but feel annoyed at the smugness of some parents. Well, they probably weren’t being smug but I was so frustrated it was easier to see it that way.

The nursery was as supportive as it could be and kept trying to take him to the potty, but with no luck. It was hit and miss and after three months of using the potty you’d think he’d know what he was supposed to do. So instead of persevering we decided to do what I never thought I’d do – put him back in nappies. Maybe that would restrict him enough to not want to wear them anymore. Sadly, he didn’t bat an eyelid. If anything he was happier.

While nursery tried to encourage us to continue, and explained how it would benefit his overall development, we decided enough was enough. This is a boy who will decide, in his own time, that he wants to be a big boy. Nothing we try and do will work. This is the boy who never wanted to be laid on his front to play as a baby, was never bothered about rolling over to get around until he was about nine months. I can’t even remember him crawling very much. Of course he would have done, but not like most babies do. Forget the cruising – this baby just one day got up and walked. I’m certain he was practicing in secret because one day he stood up in the middle of the room, walked six steps and sat down (not fell down, but sat himself down) and carried on playing. He didn’t do it again for weeks, no matter how much we encouraged him.

It took a while to get used to the idea but we now find ourselves strangely satisfied that one day he will no longer want to wear a nappy. Some may call us lazy, or have their tips for potty training boys that they swear by. Some tips may work and I am always open to suggestions, but what we refuse to do is get ourselves into a tizzy over something that he will naturally do. Funnily enough he randomly asks to use the potty even now, so it’s not the case of teaching him when to use the potty. He has to want to use it. We let him and praise him when he does. We just don’t make the excitable fuss we used to and he seems fine with that. He doesn’t even ask for a sweetie (though my daughter does on his behalf!)

It seems my little man will decide for himself when he’s ready. As an August baby he will start school next year as one of the youngest in his class. And if he’s still in nappies this time next year then I will be worried. I’ll probably be screeching out for help, so beware!