Wilf’s potty training leaves Steve feeling rather flushed

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Apologies in advance but I’m going to write a column this week about something rather unpleasant.

No, not Boris Johnson (in the interest of political balance, let me stress at this juncture that I’m not a massive fan of Keir Starmer either, although at least he doesn’t seem to have spent lockdown working as some kind of nightclub host).

What I’m going to talk about is human excrement. I know, I’m sorry. It’s not very becoming of this fine publication you’re perusing, but I’m afraid it’s a necessity because the afore-mentioned was very much involved in the low point of my week. Scrap that, low point of my decade.

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Let me tell you what happened, and, please, do finish your lunch before reading further.

Potty trainingPotty training
Potty training

We are potty training our soon-to-be three-year-old son Wilf and despite my doubts about this – because he’s an idiot incapable of holding a bowl of porridge without dropping it, let alone holding onto a wee – amazingly, he seemed to pretty much nail it within 24 hours.

This was very welcome, for as any parents who have ever potty-trained a child will tell you, it is often a traumatic and terrifying period during which you go through at least three tubs of disinfectant spray and begin to truly appreciate the importance of the kitchen mop.

However, two weeks in and Wilf has seemingly cracked it. Apart from a couple of accidents on the first day (“Wilf do you need a wee?” ‘No daddy’. “Wilf, why are you weeing on the settee?”) he’s been fine.

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So it was with no trepidation that I took him to the local park at the weekend where we did all the usual things – played on the swings, kicked a football, threw stones at squirrels awarding ourselves bonus points for a direct hit on the head, that kind of thing (the last one, it’s relatively important to clarify lest I’m attacked by an angry gang of animal rights activists, isn’t true).

Then on our way home, we stopped for a game of hide and seek at a quiet little area where there are trees and rocks.

Wilf loves this pastime. He could do it for hours, quite literally, whereas I love it a little less and start to get bored about four-and-a-half minutes in. I think this is because he’s so rubbish at it. What is it with kids and their inability to grasp that the whole point of hide and seek is to conceal oneself properly? Wilf appears to think that by putting his hands over his eyes I won’t be able to see him. Of course, like every parent the world over, I resist the urge to shout ‘what a pathetic hiding place, must we play this imbecilic game you cretin?’ and instead search around for a few minutes pretending I can’t see him.

We’d been doing this for about half an hour when he straightened and said, ‘daddy I need wee.’

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I was pleased really because – 10 minutes from home so too far to make it back - this was the ideal place. Nobody could see us and so I whipped his pants down, only to discover with some horror that in his underpants was a not insubstantial dollop of poo.

I stared at it for a moment and didn’t really know what to do other than – and I really do apologise to the park gardener who tends that area – kind of flick the outside of his pants so that the poo flew into the air and landed with a splat on a nearby rhododendron (the rhododendron, by the way, died within minutes).

He then announced he needed a wee, so I picked him up and held him in the air horizontally, like he was superman flying to rescue a damsel in distress, as this was the only way to ensure his urine wouldn’t go on his clothes. I mean we were already in a bad situation what with his dung-stained undercrackers so the last thing I needed was him wetting himself as well.

As I lifted him, I said “okay have a wee”, at which point he obviously strained but what came out, right in front of my eyes given the way I was holding him with his bottom hovering in the air, was not urine but another load of faeces.

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It was big, about the size of a large jacket potato, and stuck to his bottom like a limpet clinging to a rock.

After inwardly wretching, I looked around, completely at a loss. I had no tissues or anything I could use to clean him. We stayed in this position for around 30 horrifying seconds before, in desperation, I resigned myself to doing the only thing I could think of and, adjusting my grip, used the fingers on my left hand to scoop the poo out of his bottom and fling it to the floor.

I hurriedly put Wilf down, carelessly plonking him straight into the original lump of poo, so now he not only had it on his bottom, legs and (somehow) tummy, he had it on his shoes too. Meanwhile my hands were streaked with my son’s bodily discharge and I had some on my coat to boot.

After briefly considering crying, I did the only thing possible and pulled up his soiled underpants and trousers and set off for home.

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I walked the entire way with my left hand outstretched in front of me, like I was carrying some sort of radioactive waste, which, in a way, I was. With my right hand, I dragged a wailing Wilf along.

Once home I stripped my son, stuck him in the shower, hand-washed his clothes, got him changed, and then – around 25 minutes later, finally sat down with him on my knee.

At that very moment Mrs Canavan burst through the door and said, ‘I’ve just had the most lovely coffee with Jenny. She’s started her own interior design business you know’.

My reply, I confess, may have been short and rather sharp.

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