Saturday, May 26

in which Jenn discusses her opinions on potty-training

I just read this quote: "The fact that toilet training is supposed to happen when our children are toddlers -- at the height or on the heels of the Terrible Twos -- seems like a cruel irony. At this age, getting a child to do anything she doesn't want to do can rapidly turn into a drama. So toilet training can be nothing short of traumatic." I had to laugh. And shake my head. Our silly grandmas.....toilet training their children soon after they started walking.....what were they thinking? Didn't they realize they were supposed to wait until everything became a battle?

It's sarcasm. I'm sorry. I know sarcasm isn't very attractive. But I'm full of unattractive today. My youngest is 18 months old and it's time to potty train. I've never waited this long with my other 3 to begin, but we've been in the throes of VBS and I've been lazy with my free time. Previously, I gradually introduced the potty-thing over a period of 2-3 months and they were all fully potty-trained by 20 months. THIS IS NOT BRAGGING. I seriously don't think I did ANYTHING remotely special. I just think there is a window of opportunity for kids that is often un-realized by parents...mostly because we're told that we're supposed to wait until they are older for fear of scarring them emotionally and stunting their self-esteem. Whatever. You tell me - what's more emotionally upsetting: mastering a new skill and watching your parents cheering you on or sitting in your own poo and watching your parents argue over which one is going to gag and sputter over your rear this time?

Between 15 - 22 months, they are learning so many new things and yet their memory of how they learned them is nonexistent. They don't remember learning how to crawl, walk, talk, or climb. They just did it. If you can teach them to use the potty at this age, it will just be a part of life - stress free. But toward the end of that window, the fights begin. Don't get me wrong, "2" is a wonderful age. It is so exciting and wonderful....but part of that beauty is your child forging their own way, asserting their independence, and exhibiting their unique other words, it's when they learn to say "No" and mean it. There is a new realization that there ARE things they can have power over. Like eating. Oh. yeah. They can clamp their mouths shut and refuse another bite. Meals can become torture unless you incorporate some creativity. Potty training is a classic power tool. And who wants to make your child "lose" a power battle over POO?? "Ha! You went poo in the potty! You lose!" Not really what you're going for.

From my limited observations, most kids are either potty trained "early" or potty trained "late". But I think both labels are silly. This means that the few that fall in the middle are potty trained "on time." Whatever. Who is that judging my child again? Who was that? Someone who doesn't know me or my child? The "they say" business is sad, silly, and scary because we, as parents, find ourselves judging ourselves based on someone else's idea of where we should be...on issues that don't affect anyone but us? Are our methods working for our families? Then that's what matters! I'm rambling again. Let's get back to early/late. My theory is that there is a window, where the child is able to learn easily. But once that window shuts, you basically have to wait out the will and wait for the desire. Then, once your child desires to lose the diapers, you help them work through it. This method works great, but if the child doesn't desire it....get used to it. They'll desire it someday. They will train before college. Relax and wait because there isn't much to be done about it.

Since I haven't done very much introduction with my youngest, I'm looking into trying the one-day potty training thing. This is a new one for me. With my others, I introduced the concept and invited them to try and then did the 'nekked' thing over the course of a couple months until they were trained. It works. It really works. And it's not stressful. A friend has described the one-day method which she used with all 4 of her children and I'm going to give it a whirl. Basically, it's a day devoted to going to the potty every 15 minutes all day long - sans diaper all day. Lots of drinks and salty snacks. Little games and activities to keep her still until she gets it. It's worth a try, right? If nothing else, we get a fun day just Gracie and me. And that introduction I've been putting off. But I have high hopes. Say a little prayer.


Jen in MS said...

Hey Jenn,
I think you are right about the early potty training. The ones I trained at around 20 months were the easiest and I believe I've instinctively done the "one day" thing. We went cold turkey to underwear and I asked ALL day long "Do you have to go potty??". There were some accidents, but they needed a few of those to learn what happens, you know? By the end of the week, they were telling me when they had to go and we rarely had any accidents.

Now, Luke, he's been a little different. I tried him a few months ago and at the end of the week, he still hadn't caught on to a thing! Maybe I've passed the "easy window" trying to keep him a baby longer. But we'll be trying it again this month or so. He's already doing much better and will go when I take him. It just hasn't been instant success with the cold turkey method I used on the girls.

Jennie C. said...

Amen! I've often thought, with a little experience under my belt, that "they" don't actually have kids. And if "they" do, those kids must be brats. In daycare. Good luck with the pottying!

Jenni said...

Wow, who knew you had so much to say about poo? I agree, btw. Why not get it over with and save some money and space in the landfill (or water if you use cloth)? I guess--now that I'm through with this stage of my life--I feel like it really doesn't matter when you do it, though. They usually figure it out by the time they're ready for kindergarten no matter what method you use anyway.

I like the family photo! How long has that been there? This is the first time I've noticed it.

Christy said...

I definately agree with you. When Laura Grace was 18 months she started asking to potty. But I was pregnant and stupid and lazy and didn't want to fool with it. So I wasnt consistent and at age 2 1/2 was spanking her just to get her to sit and try. She began peeing on the floor whenever she was mad at me-it was bad. Really, really bad.

I am going to start with Layton at 18 months. After vacation I am going to be more diligent about juice and milk all day long...

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