YOU join me this week in the depths of misery. Okay, I might be laying it on a bit thick, but potty training is no fun.

Last time we attempted the transition from pee-at-will to targeted toilet stops it was an unmitigated disaster. Ben just didn’t like the whole pants thing and seemed mentally scarred by the very idea of placing his little backside on a toilet seat or potty.

We had earmarked February halfterm to start again as, with Ben’s dad being a teacher, he (chuckle chuckle) would have all the time in the world to get Operation Nappygone nailed.We were all set to start with the choosing of potties and pants to give him enough notice that his world of ablutions was about to change, but we were overtaken by events.

At Christmas, Ben received a bedtime story book, all about Pirate Pete who was having a wonderful adventure with his potty. Marvellous storyline. Never thought I would be reading out loud about why it was important to wipe from front to back and narrate on the unbridled joy Pirate Pete experienced when the poo finally landed (complete with picture).

I wasn’t hopeful it would do much good, but Ben was completely hooked.When I suggested we had our own Pirate Pete potty adventure he leapt at the chance. Couldn’t get the pants on quick enough, positively jumped onto the potty and was thrilled at the idea of a sticker chart to highlight his achievement, That was several days ago now and the progress has somewhat faltered.

He continues to look the part, but the actual potty action has been nil, the bowl has been dry. I am delighted he seems willing to embrace the idea of living in a civilised society but you would think he might have hit the target just once.

I was happy to dole out the stickers when there was a flurry of interest at the start, but if he thinks he is getting a ‘well done’ now without even trying to pee, he is sadly mistaken.

We also seemed to have gone back to the days of babyhood with me carrying around a small suitcase worth of stuff. Pants, trousers, vests and even shoes have to be carted around, along with the odd pull-up or nappy just in case he doesn’t continue to feel the pants love. I fear this is going to be a long, drawn out affair – and I am going to need a shed load more stickers.