Amrita was first advised about potty training when Nik was 1 month old. Surprisingly, the advise did not come from her mother or mother in law. It was her DAD who very diligently advised her on the benefits of starting early. Amrita, who was just recuperating from the aftermaths of a c-section and getting used to the routine of feed-sleep-clean was almost like “Gaffawk”. Her face read like “is it even possible for a 1 month old to understand any signals for potty training?”
‘Oh! Absolutely. Look’ Mr. Gunjal held little Nik in his lap, holding out his legs outwards raising them a little, ‘This is how you do it.’ And he began to blow out whistles. Amrita was amazed when after a minute of whistle blowing Nik actually did give out.
‘I told you.’ Mr. Gunjal said triumphantly, ‘If you are a little vigilant and do this at regular time intervals, in no time your boy will be completely toilet trained.’ Amrita looked on in awe and amusement.
After spending a month at her parents, Amrita came back to her house. She tried following to some extent, what her Dad had trained her on regarding Potty training for Nik. Surprisingly, her Mom-in-law, quite approved of her practices on this matter.
‘We did not have diapers in our times. Had we not been vigilant, we would have two dozens of cloth nappies to wash everyday, for which we did not have nannies.’ Radhaji had said as a matter of fact.
By the time Nik turned 3 months old, Amrita’s Dad called up to ask if she had bought the potty seat for Nik yet. To Amrita’s irritation, the first-time Grandfather did not check on this update just once. He called her almost every other day to check how his grandson was doing.
Amrita would be like, “Papa, Potty seat? He can’t even sit yet.” But her expert Dad replied, “Arre! But the seat has a back support. You don’t know, we had trained you and your sister in the similar manner. And we never had to struggle with your potty habits.” Amrita continued to remain amused and startled, both at the same time.
Tired of his following up, Amrita decided to go shopping and buy a seat. Now a potty seat was something that her mother-in-law had not used with her kids. So obviously, she was very skeptical about the utility of buying it at all. Amrita sympathized with her to some extent because her logic too said, ‘How will this three month old sit on this thing? What’s the hurry for a potty seat? By the time he learns to sit, we can put him on the actual WC.’
Nevertheless, Amrita followed her Dad’s instructions to the T and started using the little seat thingy by putting Nik on it everytime he showed signals of going red in the face which was a signal of sorts. By the time Nik turned 6 months, Amrita’s hardwork paid off and she declared with a lot of pride that her LO was completely potty trained. A feat that left her amazed and relieved both. She sighed thinking how proud her dad would be of her. She giggled mentally thinking how it felt equivalent to running upto her dad for telling him her academic achievements in a different age.
Nevertheless, with a Potty Trained Nik, Amrita had a ball of a time for the next 4 months.
And then one day Nik decided to unlearn everything!
But Amrita did not pay much attention to this reversal of habit by Nik because she had joined back work and thought that when she wasn’t spending enough time with Nik to be able to closely monitor his habits(all included), she must not fret over how her mother-in-law or the maid were taking care of Nik. While at home, none of the other family members fretted about any inconvenience making life only easier for her.
But one day Amrita started biting her nails, when she planned a vacation to her my parents. Nik was going to be 16 months and she was like, oh fish!
‘This boy is going to be a mess in my Dad’s house and my Dad is going to make me feel miserable for not doing my job properly.’ Amrita panicked.
Anyway, she reached her parents place, and by the end of 2 days, she realised it was not only her Dad who was obsessed with potty training. All her mother’s friends, including her sister who visited to meet them widened their eyes in disbelief on seeing Nik in a Diaper. “Yeh abhi tak bhi batata nahi hai?” would be the invariable question. Amrita had no words to express how embarrassed she felt. Every time any visitor shook their head in discontentment, she felt like she had committed a cardinal crime. At the end of exactly two days of feeling miserable, she decided to research on Potty training on the internet. To her relief Amrita figured that the optimum age when the kids can be expected to retain their potty habits is 2 years. Before that kids might react to some signals, but not all kids may be able to keep their call of nature in control. With this new knowledge backed by scientific research, Amrita took a deep breath and patted her shoulder in self condolence.
In the midst of a busy schedule completing house chores, managing a loaded office job and spending time with Nik, Amrita managed to continue her potty training efforts. She was determined that the next time she visited her parents, she was not going to give them a chance to question her dedication as a mother. 8 months later, when at her maiden home, Amrita very diligently made Nik take trips to the toilet at regular intervals. She still had to struggle to justify to her parents why she had to use a diaper for him whenever she went out. After a couple of instances of their objection, she simply thre out her hands and shrugged saying, “Aap logon ke time pe Diapers utne accessible nahi the na. Right now if we have this facility / utility (whatever) why not use it?” Her displeased parents sighed and withdrew. Never again did they say anything about diapers to their daughter.
By the time Nik turned three, Amrita could happily claim that Nik is almost completely potty trained. Almost because there still was this risk of an ‘accident’, in the most unexpected places and circumstances.
Amrita often wonders what’s been on Nik’s mind regarding this little potty training saga of his early life!!!