By nature, I’m a planner, and I have a hard time with things that are out of my control (though I think I am getting much better about this as I get older.) In fact, I had a moment of panic while still pregnant with my first child, about potty training! So, it’s really funny that I ended up being the way I am, when it comes to potty training!
As I said in the Mailbox Mondays post this week, my approach is different than most. When I got into the cloth diapering “world,” I started hearing the term “potty learning” instead of “potty training.” I sorta scrunched up my face because the term sounded a little hokey to someone who had never heard it before, but that’s really what I have done.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have my daughter’s baby book beside me, I don’t remember all the dates, ha ha. When my daughter was about 16 months old, she started to show some interest in other people using the bathroom, was a little more cooperative during diaper changes, and other little things that made me think she might be ready for a little potty action. We bought her a little potty, and just made it available to her, in the family room, where she usually played. She sat on it, looked at it and occasionally (accidentally mostly) pottied in it. By 22 months, she was using the potty seat on the big potty. Somewhere in this time period, taking diapers on and off became a pain, and we started using pull ups (she was disposable diapered, boo.) In my opinion, they were no different than diapers, and did nothing to help with potty training, except that they were easy to pull up and down!
Over the next several months, we suffered through round after round of the Potty Time Elmo DVD, The Potty Elmo and Potty Book for Girls Book, and she seemed to gain more and more awareness and was using the potty more, and diapers less. I let her lead the way, occasionally reminding her if she looked like she needed to go. As she became more consistent, I made her a chart, and allowed her to put a stamp for every #1 and a sticker for #2. She loved that! Pretty soon, I took her to pick out big girl undies, and she wore them any time we were downstairs (on the hardwood floors), though she was still wearing pull ups at night or for car rides.
When she was 2 1/2, we hit the milestone of wearing panties all day, including a trip out to the store, and using a public potty. Impressive? Well, no. But she did it on her own, and there was no anger, frustration or tears. Could I have “trained” her sooner? Maybe, but why? Her personality is such that if I had pushed her, it would most likely have taken even longer, with me pushing and her pushing back. She has never regressed and never had accidents (except the two times when she was still wearing a pull up for car rides & night time & Daddy forgot to put one on her!)
I’d heard that potty training boys was “so much harder,” so I really didn’t expect my son to show any readiness until closer to 2 1/2 (or later.) In fact, I expected that my slacker mom/non-potty training approach wouldn’t work. When he was about 18 months old, my husband grabbed the little potty while he was up in the attic for something else. He (my son, not my hubby) started sitting on it (fully clothed, LOL!) and eventually did want to sit on it a good bit, though it was usually just an excuse to get nekkid and run around! At 22 months he was wanting to take all of his clothes off and sit on the big potty before bed, but he hadn’t actually “done anything.”
When he had his 2-year checkup the pediatrician asked about potty training and I just said that he didn’t really have any interest. The doctor was neither concerned, nor surprised, and said it may be closer to three for boys. Well, just like his verbal skills exploded right around his birthday, so did his pottyin’ skillz. (I think he likes to prove me wrong?) At 25 months old, he said “POTTY,” took his diaper off, sat down and peed! The look on his face when he saw how surprised and excited his sister and I were was totally priceless!
I figured it was a random incident, but he has continued to do that a couple times a day. In fact, the next day, he did the same thing, but pooped! He’s not super consistent, but I think he’s doing awesome for his age (26 months now) and he is definitely gaining awareness. Though he usually refused diaper changes and fought me, he will lay right down and say “dah-purr change” when he needs it. Usually when he poops on the potty, he has already “started” in his diaper, but again, I think he is doing awesome for 26 months old and (gasp) a boy!
I really don’t think he’s ready for underwear, charts or other “encouragement” right now, but I’m pretty darn proud of him. As long as he’s able to wear undies during the day by the time he’s 3 and 3 or so months, he’ll be able to go to preschool.
It’s totally out of my character, but I figure I am not going to have to change his diaper at his prom; he will figure it out eventually! I’m just letting him lead, and helping him along the way.
At the same time, I feel like a total slacker when I hear about all the stuff people are doing to potty train, or how their kid was potty trained at 18 months, or how they did it in a weekend etc. etc.
What do you think, am I lazy, or smart?