Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beware the potty

Sooooo...the elephant in the room is, now that the baby has been around for six months and my event is over...the next step is potty training. I am terrified. And I know that people say being terrified is probably going to doom you to failure, just like being stressed out is supposed to make it so you don't get pregnant. But the whole concept scares me.

I think I screwed myself by reading this article on Facebook last night that I kind of agreed with on a philosophical level - it was a woman talking about the very popular boot camp-y, go for it, potty trained in days method. She feels like modern parents are just plain lazy and not willing to endure the mess/inconvenience of staying at home with naked toddlers while they piss and shit all over your house for days until they "get it". And just reading this I felt profoundly ashamed. Yes, I am too lazy to stay a prisoner at home for days and weeks while my son turns our carpeted house into his personal toilet. So now what?

The idea alone of not leaving the house for even one day, much less days on end, makes me want to drive off a cliff. Is that necessary? You can be honest.

B has not shown any "signs" of interest in the potty - but his language is good enough now, and he is 2 1/2, so I'm thinking any old time now may be a good time to start. I feel like I should at least try even if now is a failure. I know I don't want to give the poor kid a complex. He must never know how anxious I am. But I feel like I should start. 

Any good methods? Books we can read together? Potties good for boys? And how can I make this fun for both of us and not torturous?


  1. I don't know about fun, but my daughter like an to copy me, and toclimb, so I got the kind of potty that goes over the real one. She hasn't gone in it yet, but she sits on it twice a day willingly, so I'm hoping that's a good start!

  2. My 2 kids were very different. Both kids saw other kids using the potty at daycare, and at both daycare and at home we started just giving them opportunities to try using the potty. (I'd suggest getting both a little portable potty as well as the little seats that fit on the toilet and seeing which they prefer). Fiona was gradual and easy - showing interest at 2 ans starting to pee, gradually getting peeing down over a couple months, and then mastering pooping by 6 months later. She was self motivated and proud. Carys - no interest FOREVER. I introduced her in the same way and she just didn't "get" it. Finally at about 2 years 8 months she got it (I just was consistent with asking her if she wanted to try, etc). She still had lots of accidents and so I kept her in pullups, until finally I had some preschool pressure and it worked to go out and let her pick her own big girl underpants, after which she agreed she didn't need diapers (and very few accidents). All kids are different. Yes, you can FORCE the process by throwing away diapers, doing nothing else for days on end, etc. That was not my style. I work full time and couldn't do that even if I wanted (and daycares aren't going to put up with constant accidents). Why not just go into it more relaxed, buy some books and videos (if you're into Elmo the "potty time" video was a hit with Fiona, not with Carys), get some rewards (stickers, m&ms,...), make a sticker chart, and just see how it goes. He is still pretty young - stop yer stressing!

  3. M 'n' Ms worked like a charm for us. Not everyone wants to go the bribery/sugar route, but I just found they were so much more motivating than stickers or hugs or anything more wholesome. We kept a bag of "potty candy" in the bathroom and at first she got one just for sitting on the potty, then later only if she produced something. She got it pretty fast and when she hadn't had any accidents for a few months, we discontinued the candy. She remembers though. At a birthday party a couple days ago, she announced loudly to the whole room that the cake had "potty candy" on it. Good luck to you!

  4. When my son turned 2 we started talking about going potty in the toilet instead of in his diaper. When we were home I became very open about when I had to go to the bathroom and I would leave the door open so he could come watch me and ask questions if he wanted. I think around that time I also started reading the book Once Upon the Potty to him at bedtime. I honestly couldn't tell you if the book helped. At around 2.5 I set up his little potty in the bathroom across from the big toilet and I would suggest he sit and "try" while I was on the toilet. He would, but he rarely did anything. If he did do anything I would go overboard with praising him and practically throw a parade. Around that time I told him that he was getting too big for diapers and how soon the store wouldn't let me buy them because they were for babies (giant mama lie, i know but i was getting desperate, give a girl a break.) I also started paying more attention to his behavior when he had to go. He would fidget when he had to pee then stop what he was doing for a few moments when he was actually peeing. When he had to go #2 he would hide. Not like "come find me" hide more like he would go into a quiet corner with a toy or behind the couch for some reason. If i saw any of those behaviors I would strongly encourage him to use the potty instead. It was hit or miss, sometimes he would, sometimes he wouldn't, I tried not to make a big deal about it (that was hard, it WAS a big deal to me but...yeah. ) When I was working, he was with my mom so she would watch for all the same cues and ask him once an hour if he had to use the potty. So overall he had a great deal of consistency. He got really good at peeing in the potty relatively quickly if we reminded him when he got fidgety. On his own he never stopped whatever he was doing for 5 minutes to pee but #2 he just wouldn't do. A month before his 3rd birthday I brought him to the store with me and got his last pack of diapers. I made it very clear that the store wouldn't let me buy any more so after the pack was gone, he was going to have to use the potty. After that he would only wear a diaper when he had to poop. He spent his days in big boy pants (almost always accident free) until he had to poop and then he would ask for a diaper. Every time he asked for a diaper we would look at the pack and discuss how many he had left while putting it on. I still remember his little face when he realized he only had one left. I reassured him that going #2 on the potty was just as easy as #1 and the he didn't need to be scared. That kid started using the potty for everything the next day and never looked back. No tears, no tantrums just one day there were no more diapers so he adjusted. He hardly ever had accidents after age 3 and when he did it was usually at night and normally because I forgot to wake him up to go pee before I went to bed. I want to say the last time he wet the bed was around age 4 but it was so long ago I really can't remember.

  5. My advice is don't rush it. Starting before both of you are ready is just recipe for disaster. I agree with getting a potty plus a seat for the toilet so he has options. I've heard of the Cheerios in the bowl to give him something to aim for if you're planning on training him to pee standing up. I really talked it up with Elena for a long time, reading the books, explaining the whole concept, etc & watched for signs from her like long periods of dry diapers & hiding to poo.

    Just don't succumb to pressure to do it before both of you are ready, even if that means he's 3.5 before he's trained. The more ready you both are, the easier & smoother it'll go. It doesn't have to be a nightmare & I hope it works easily for you.

  6. Sidekick has been peeing on the potty before bath since he was about 17 months old. He's been waking up dry most mornings for about four months and he's 26 months old. Every morning, he pees on the potty, and boy does that kid have a lot of pee!!!! BUT, I am not pushing it! I'll put him on the potty at random times during the day when I think about it, but I don't fight him or the process. Once he's really getting the hang of it, I'll do the Bare Bottom Weekend approach which has been successful for most people I know.

  7. Start with a book and see if that generates any interest. I got Felix a book and after reading it once, he started sitting on our toilet. He also tells me now when the cats and dog are going potty, and he tells me (sometimes) when he's going in his diaper. Sometimes they just need an invitation and the vocabulary to show some interest.

    Of course, as soon as I was really ready to start training, I flooded the house. So we were away from home for a week and still don't have our bathroom back. As soon as the toilet is replaced, we're going to try for real.

  8. I seem to be in the minority when it comes to this issue, but I don't believe in "potty-training," per se. What I wanted was a kid to use a bathroom self-sufficiently, not train ME to get them to the potty, take off their clothes, etc. Changing diapers is much easier than cleaning up pee.

    With my first, I put underwear on her, she had maybe two accidents (she was 33 months?) and that was that. Tiny Boy has been the same way. He started using the potty regularly at school, this week we tried underwear, he's had a few accidents at home (all in the morning) and none at school. Could not have been easier. I just didn't want it to be an issue and let them take the lead.