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Mon, Nov 26, 2012
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Oops, toilet-training accidents galore
by Clara Chow

THE past week has had the Manic family going "Oops" a lot.

In other words: It's Potty Training Time again.

DAY 1: It starts with the discovery that we have run out of pull-up diaper pants for my younger son, Lucien.

Our domestic helper had alerted us to the fact that we were running low on diapers, but I forgot to pick up a packet at the supermarket.

"Oops," I say. "He'll just have to go cold turkey and not wear any, then."

We explain to Lucien, three, that we will no longer put diapers on him at home. He will have to use the toilet like a big boy, as he has seen his six-year-old brother do countless times.

The rate of bedsheet washing goes up tenfold in our household.

DAY 2: A blur of enforced toilet breaks every 10 minutes, the changing of wet outfits every five and many, many puddles on the (thankfully non-carpeted) floor.

We cannot decide if Lucien has a very small or very large bladder: He would emerge from the bathroom after urinating successfully into the toilet while standing on a step stool, then promptly create another sizeable moat around himself.

Oops, his look would say, as he gives us his rainbow-eyed grin and announces: "I shee-shee!" We put our stash of Thomas & F r i e n d s underpants - hand-me-downs from his big brother - on him.

" D o n ' t p e e - p e e on Percy/Thomas/whichever engine's face is on it!" we remind him cheerfully. We step away for two seconds, and - oops - Percy/Thomas/whoever is soaking wet. Lucien treats us to a day-long fashion parade of briefs.

During an afternoon monsoon storm, we rush around to close the windows. Meanwhile, Lucien unleashes a deluge indoors. Oops.

Mop-up in aisle four.

Eventually, the laundry cycle cannot keep up with our trainee.

He is left to prance around the living room bare-bottomed. I unearth a wipe-clean foam seat he used as a baby and plonk him into it - to protect my upholstered sofa and sanity.

Happily, he is quite content to stay in it while watching television, in between toilet breaks.


DAY 3: What happens when you have to go out and car journeys take at least an hour? One friend told me that her toilet-training 21/2-year-old quietly peed in his car seat one day; despite wiping the seat, things quickly escalated to the point that anyone who rode in the car "absorbed" the urine smell and carried it around with him for the whole day.

Not wanting a whiff of eau de tinkle, we decide that Lucien should get his disposable pull-up pants back (new supplies have been procured) when we venture more than 2km from home. We explain to him that this is only for excursions, and that he has to revert to regular pants after that.

All goes well.

However, things become complicated when we try to take them off him when we return.

Banshee wailing ensues. Oops.

Tired from crying, he falls asleep. We put a diaper on him during his nap, intending to whisk it off when he wakes up. More wailing ensues upon waking and whisking.

DAY 4: Things seem to have stabilised. No more accidents so far.

In the evening, the Supportive Spouse takes our two sons to the playground nearby. They stay out for more than an hour, working off their manic energy.

I send an SMS to the SS: Lucien needs to go for his toilet break. Take him to the bushes.

Twenty minutes later, the boys are back. No, Lucien did not go to the bushes. Neither did he wet himself. Slight commotion as we carry him bodily to the toilet to do his business.

Later, I read a news article online about an Oklahoma City family being fined US$2,500 (S$3,100) for letting their toilet- training toddler pee in their front yard.


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