September 13, 2010

Lesson For Mom- Potty Training

"One year, I’d completely lost my bearings trying to follow potty training instruction from a psychiatric expert. I was stuck on step one, which stated without irony: ‘Before you begin, remove all stubbornness from the child’."
-Mary Kay Blakely

Potty training sucks.  We tried it a couple of times with Robotson.  He responded by refusing to poop.  That seemed like an unhealthy reaction.  We wondered, would he still be in diapers when he started high school?  Since that seemed absurdly doubtful, we figured it would happen naturally.  This perspective attracted a lot of criticism from family, friends, and strangers.  And we worried that they might be right, but acted like we didn't.  I don't remember now what age he was when he stopped using diapers, but it was later than most - though not outside of the "normal" range.  The interesting part is how easy it was.  His Papa wore "Papa shorts."  He noticed, and wanted to wear them too.  That was it.  He went from diapers to underwear overnight with no issues.  We had him in Pull-Ups at night for a while, until I ran out unexpectedly.  I told him he'd have to sleep in his papa shorts that night, but I'd buy more the next day.  Then forgot completely.  We never bought another diaper for him.

Funny Girl was even easier.  She had a couple of false starts, but we didn't force the issue.  Around three and a half, she got really interested in panties.  She had a few more accidents, but we mostly took them in stride.  And her nighttime transition was simultaneous.  Two down, one to go.

Now Dimples is showing signs of readiness.  She no longer wants to feel wet, and will demand to have a new diaper each time she urinates.  I appreciate her desire to stay dry, but diapers are expensive.  So I'm trying to encourage her to use the potty.  Only she's not ready.  I don't want to push the issue, but I also don't want to be screamed at every hour to change her diaper.  We've tried putting her into panties, but she's not able to recognize the feeling before it happens.  So we are sort of stuck here.  I tried taking the hard stance to conserve diapers, but she took an even harder one by screaming endlessly.  I'm not exaggerating.  My children do not ever give up.  Ever.  

Looks like we'll be spending a little more on diapers for a while.  It occurred to me that if I stop digging in my heels, she'll be able to trust me to help her move on.  It's not about diapers for her.  The real question is, "Does Mom have confidence in my ability to determine my own bodily functions and needs?"  All she's heard from me is "no."  I need to start telling her "YES!"


  1. If you think it's going to be a while, you might save money by getting cloth pull-ups, esp. if they're used. They're basically just underwear with a bit of extra where it counts and you don't have to buy them over and over like diapers. I've been considering this for my daughter too, as she's in the beginning stages of seeming 'ready.'

    In any case, good luck to you and Dimples! :)

  2. We "potty train" the same way. It took awhile but my kids all just did it one day. No night time accidents. No out on the road accidents. Just done. It rocked. Piper was the only one we tried early and we got the no poop thing which turned into a huge issue for us.

    My friend got training undies that are cloth. They were very cute. We'll likely go in that direction with R as she's cloth diapered anyway.

  3. Anon- Actually, I'm not sure it's actually going to take that long. All of sudden, she's very into the potty. It's been two days now, no accidents. We'll see!

    Ginger- That's very interesting! I didn't know anyone else who had just let the kids handle it themselves, but obviously it can work. If we had another one, I think I'd go with cloth diapers this time. I can't take buying anymore of these darn disposables.