How not to potty train your child in twelve steps

Step 1 – Get really interested in elimination communication and start it with a wilful 17-month-old.

Step 2 – Get early success with lots of catches, followed by toddler running away from any receptacle you bring her way and insisting on wearing nappies.

Step 3 – Give up and put her back in nappies even though she, now at 18 months, tells you when she’s going to go and insists on being changed as soon as she’s been.

Step 4 – When she’s two, feel increasingly like she should be using the potty now seeing as she’s dry most nights and naps, and is showing lots of other “signs”.

Step 5 – Decide today is the day and spend the whole day coaxing her into sitting on the potty. You may have bribed her with juice. You aren’t proud. But hey, she goes six times in the potty!

Step 6 – Realise how idiotic it was to start potty training the day before she goes to the childminder.

Step 7 – The next day she’s with you, lose your cool internally, try hard to get her to try again and descend into offering stickers, juice and nail polish. Shame, shame, shame!

Step 8 – Decide you’re too tired for this and put her back in nappies.

Step 9 – Accept that she no longer wants to wear nappies in the house but will ask for one if she needs to go. Suggesting the potty will just invite a screamfest and you’re too tired for that too.

Step 10 – Wonder what the heck you’re doing. No matter what decision you make at this juncture, it won’t feel like the right thing.

Step 11 – Wonder if there is a “right” way to do this anyway.

Step 12 – Swear you’ll go for elimination communication earlier with the next one.