Potty training

27 Aug

No one tells you how “political” parenting is. It’s a minefield! People who wouldn’t tell you what to do with your dog seem to think they know what is best when it comes to your offspring. Opinions are offered on breastfeeding, napping, sleeping through the night, solid food and pottying. If ever the phrase “Go and shite for yourself” was useful, it’s worth its weight in gold now that I’m a parent. Not that I would actually say it, I’m too scared polite. I just think it and seethe quietly.  Why do people think it’s ok to tell me what to do? Offering opinions (when asked) is a different thing. Telling me what’s best is a pain in the bum. And it’s not going to sway me. I tend to do what I think is best, then perhaps find a book to help me along.

Our current “step” on the parenting ladder is pottying, which we’ve been at fairly consistently for the past three months or so (in secret, so there’s no judgment!) No, there’s no “potty training in a day” or even a week here. I wouldn’t expect him to learn anything in a day! He’s thirteen months now and I would like to have him “trained” by the time he’s two.

What we have been doing is pooping on the potty. I notice his signs that he’s going to poop – grunting, red face – and we make a mad dash for the potty where he sits and poops happily, only getting up to wander off when he’s done.  Now, he comes up to me and grunts. I say “Are you pooping?” and we make a mad dash for the potty. Only because he likes the mad dashes and laughs his head off. There is no real need for the mad dashes anymore. He holds it until we get there.

What we haven’t been doing is peeing in the potty. He won’t really go near the potty unless he has to poop. If you say “Let’s pee”, more often than not he will pee on the floor. But he can’t be convinced to sit on the pot to pee. And his peeing signals either don’t exist or I’m just not able to see them.

So I bought a book. It’s called Diaper-free before 3. Now personally, I’m a little appalled that the need for such a book exists. I thought that the majority of three-year-old children, if they were not “trained”, were at least out of diapers. Either way, I like the author’s ethos and emphasis.

  • Be flexible
  • Make sure your child is comfortable and content
  • Going to the potty should be its own reward – there is no real need for elaborate reward systems, not sitting in your own excrement = reward enough!
  • Pottying should be natural, something to get used to like eating
  • Build it into your day

A tip so simple that I have to wonder why I didn’t think of it myself is “Instead of cleaning up immediately after meals in the kitchen, go to the bathroom, sit on the potty, wash hands and face, change any clothes that are dirty. Look for those types of associations and opportunities” (p. 102). Why did I not think of that?

Part of me bucks against the whole routine thing though. I wouldn’t characterise our lives as routine-based. How and ever we shall give it a go, because, as Dr. Lekovic reminded me “we should not teach our children to rely on urgent signals from their bodies…before they go to the bathroom. As an adult consider how often you wait to get really uncomfortable before you empty your bladder… you go to the bathroom long before you feel a terrible sense of urgency. It is an important and almost totally overlooked part of toilet training to teach children to do the same” (p155, my emphasis). When I was pregnant I was often “bursting” to go to the toilet. It was awful. Not being able to find a toilet when you really need one has to be one of Dante’s circles of Hell. So the little turtle will be routinely brought to the toilet after waking and after  meals. And gradually he will learn to pee in the potty. (We actually had one successful go at it today!) By this time next year, diaper-free! That’s the plan anyway.

One more word of wisdom from Dr. Lekovic before we go: “Parents should not measure how successful they were at potty-training by how little time and effort they invested in it” (p.182). So there!

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