Raising a puppy and a toddler are often one and the same thing. They need to be fed, watered, cleaned and cuddled. As the one snuggles up close into your chest for love and comfort so too does the other. Puppies and toddlers get up to the same amount of mischief when left alone and often compete for the same hiding spots when they smell a can of ‘ass-whooping’ opening up.

Puppies and toddlers like to chew on things. Squeaky toys, shoes, socks, table edges and nipples. You can decide which one does what – what happens in a person’s home stays in a person’s home as far as I’m concerned. There’s no judgement here should your puppy be the nipple nibbler and your toddler the table teether. They also like to find little places to hide things – keys, cell phones, bones, socks, dummies, favourite fluffy toys, mom’s underwear, etc. Again, no judgement from me on who hides what where.

Puppies love chasing their tails. Toddlers love chasing puppies tails too. On more than one occasion we’ve had to ask Emma to remove a tail from her mouth. And the same goes for treats. Toddlers and puppies share an affection for treats of all shapes and sizes. And because sharing is caring they’re more than happy to exchange their tasty treasures with one another. Emma dunks a dog biscuit in our tea most mornings. In fact, the last time I had a cup of tea that didn’t taste like Hills I thought there was something wrong with it. We don;t even give Emma her water bottle any more as she’s more than happy on all fours lapping up the H20 from the dog’s bowl.

Puppies, like children, need their vaccinations and both should be dewormed regularly. Both need training and guidance and a leash works well when neither want to listen or walk by your side. Naughty kids and canines are a bugbear outside the house and whether you’re in a park or a playground someone somewhere is looking at your unruly lot thinking “Thank St. Assisi / Nicholas that that’s not mine!”

Puppies and children share names too. Often we call for Chloe our jack russell and three little girls come running at us. Same goes for Oscar, Felix, Maxi and Zoe. Emma not too often, but variations of the name abound. Em, Emmy, Embles – somewhere out there a chihauha’s jumping up and down…

Where things drastically differ is toilet training. The pathways to successfully toilet trained tots and pups is very different and never the twain shall meet, nor should. I have discovered this after much trial, error and embarrassment.

After trying to get our psychopathic terrier to wee outside for weeks we were at our wits end and we went the old skool route. We waited for Jagger to wee on the floor and then we ever so gently tipped her nose into the puddle, letting her know that that wasn’t the correct place to relieve oneself. Lo and behold, Emma after a bath the other day peed on the floor. When I looked again she had tipped her nose into the puddle and was ever so lightly trying to lick the droplets from her nostril.

We have also tried putting newspaper down all over the floor, and removing a piece each day until there is only a tiny little square left on which the puppy can pee. This again has proven to be unsuccessful because Emma and puppy end up competing for the same square of paper on which to do their business.  

A more popular way to teach a puppy to use the big old toilet under the sky is by taking them outside immediately after meals or a nap. Emma has watched me doing this with our puppy. We have stood on the lawn waiting for something to happen…anything. Of course this way of training backfired on me recently when we were out in a park with some friends and Emma asked me to take her nappy off, which I did (to put a new one on let me please add). Before I could shout out “Emma do not poo in that bush” Emma had pooed in the bush, and proudly announced “Just like Jagger!”

This week Emma used the toilet for the very first time at school to make a wee-wee. Her teacher emailed Mark and I excitedly and we gushed at how smart our little girl is and how quickly she’s growing. So now we’re officially potty training and we’re trying to get her to stop wearing nappies, though according to her it’s not fair. After recently seeing me use one of my lady items Emma wanted to know why she’s not allowed to wear a nappy when mommy can.

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