Group Therapy: 'Toilet training? My kids just aren't into it.'

Meshel Laurie


Oh hi everyone.

Just popping by Mamamia to ask for the contact details of one of those agencies where you drop your three-year-old off and pick it up when it’s toilet trained.  I just can’t seem to find one in my area, and I’m obviously not searching the App store properly either because nothing there seems to fit.

As it is, I’m reduced to begging my twins to sit on potties on the lounge room floor, while I enact scenes from their favorite books and promise a lolly to anyone who can conjure a caca.  I tried one of those little seats that sits over the normal toilet seat, but my daughter screamed as though she suspected an imminent crocodile attack from below at which point even I realized I was setting us back if I persevered.

I’m sure David Hughes won’t mind my telling you that his three year old son happily uses the toilet for standing wees but refuses to sit on it for poos explaining that to do so would would be “too dangerous.” As my daughter appeared to agree with young Master Hughes, I bought a couple of potties and set up a comfortable little nest in the lounge.

They are not really into it.  “Let’s sit on the potty,” I said cheerfully, “and we’ll play the Elmo game on the iPad and see if we can do a wee wee!”  My daughter looked up at me sympathetically and shaking her head slowly, said ever so gently, “No way mum.”

That’s hard to come back from, and makes me wonder (or hope) maybe they’re not ready yet, and I should consider (or could possibly get away with) putting it off for a little while longer.   Dr Google is very clear about one thing, that is the importance of the readiness of the child.  Unfortunately Dr Google splits into a million opinions about when that readiness might occur and how best to judge.

This is not happening for Meshel’s children.

I swear two years ago, everything I read about toilet training said to wait until kids were at least 2 and a half because they couldn’t control their little wee wee mechanisms until then.  Now my twins are almost three, everything I read says you’d be mad to wait until peak tantrum throwing time to teach them anything!  Women online are declaring they toilet trained 4 month olds!!!


When I had four month old twins I could barely remember to go myself, let alone “learn to read their facial expressions” and then wave them over the bowl until the magic happened.  I thought for sure I should wait until they could walk, so they could get themselves to the potty.

Then I thought I should wait until they could speak, so they could say they needed to go.  Well it was winter then, so it seemed sensible to wait until the weather warmed so we wouldn’t have so many clothes in our way.  Well now the nappies are getting in our way and I know they have to go, but how?

Friends and relatives are not that helpful either to be honest. My mother keeps telling me about the eight months of hell it took to toilet train my brother which makes me want to give up before we even begin, and friends who tell me about their children asking to be toilet trained convince me I’ve failed at a great many parenting points already.

I’m trying to remain calm and relaxed about it all but without a single tinkle hitting the potty yet, kids with cabin fever because I won’t leave the proximity of the potty nest, and about 1200 pairs of tiny wet underpants to wash and dry today, it’s hard to resist strapping some nappies on and pretending this never happened.

I can’t help catastrophising, (my new favorite word) and seeing myself in a couple of years  being one of those mums we read about in the paper who drop their kids off at primary school in nappies.  Then they’ll be known as “the nappy twins” throughout their whole school careers, and no one will want to hold their hands in line or be their partners in bush dancing, and they’ll become sad shut-ins who troll celebrities online……  Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Help me Mamamia community, PLEASE!

Meshel Laurie is a comedian and broadcaster. You can catch up with her on Nova’s Drive Show with Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold 4-6pm on weekdays.

Parents – do you have any tips for Meshel? Are there any other parents out there who need some help? Why not leave your parenting struggle, in the comments.