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Potty Angst

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Now that Kiana is over two years old, it is time to begin potty training, or Toilet Learning (as my uber politically-correct, Positive Parenting Gurus refer to it).

Mother Potty Training Her Son

Jennifer Ginsberg: I am the laziest parent in the world when it comes to these things. Many moms who aggressively potty train their children when they are young wear this achievement like a badge of honor, which I find particularly annoying. Along with sleeping through the night, reading, and writing, parents use the milestone of potty training as a way to compare their child to other children, and for bragging rights. Barf. Maybe I am just being a "slacker mom," but getting your child to sit on the potty is not a measure of the type of parent you are, just like getting a one-year-old to recite the alphabet doesn't mean your kid is particularly gifted. You could easily teach a retarded monkey to sit on the crapper and identify letters, especially if you used the punishment/reward tactics that most parents resort to, which I find especially reprehensible.

I have known parents who have forced their unwilling child to sit on the potty for hours at a time, in an effort to potty train in one day. I have seen other parents bribe their kids with candy to get them to sit on the pot. My firm belief is that a child should choose to use the toilet for their own sense of accomplishment, rather than in an effort to please their mom and dad. With Shane, I always felt that as long as he was off my boob and out of diapers before he started college, he would be fine!

That being said, Kiana recently began demonstrating all the signs of readiness, including telling me when she has to go and asking to wear underwear. Additionally, she loves to watch me in the bathroom and even hands me toilet paper and tampons as needed. Side note: Why do toddlers love tampons? While she is not yet potty trained, if she got her period tomorrow, she would be 100% prepared!

I decided it was time to dust off the little potty from Shane's toddler days and put it in her room.

"Kiana," I asked her, "do you know what this is?"
"A toilet!" she replied triumphantly.
"Do you want to sit on it?" I asked.
"No!" she declared. "I wear diapers!" And with that, she put her stuffed dog on the potty. "Doggy sits on the potty."

Over the next few days, I invited her to sit on the potty, and she adamantly refused (but I am happy to report that every one of her stuffed animals has successfully been potty trained!). One of my gurus recommended that I get a potty training book. I went to the bookstore to check out my options, and here is what I found:

1. "Once Upon a Potty" looked promising. It is specifically for girls, and the illustration on the cover was aesthetic. I opened up the first page and read the line, "Our wee-wee is for pee-pee," and almost threw the book across the room. I prefer to speak to my daughter in the English language and use actual words, rather than in patronizing baby-talk. What the freak is a "wee-wee"? A urethra, perhaps? What kind of dumb-sh*t author thinks it is OK to use ridiculous, made-up words for body parts? Not any author that I am going to buy a book from, thank you very much.

2. "Everyone Poops" grossed me out. The title is not so cool. The first illustration of a snake taking a crap was just wack. Next, please.

3. The last book I found was "Good Girls Use the Potty." The psychotherapist in me almost had a nervous breakdown when I read that title. The implication that you are good if you use the potty must mean you are bad if you don't (like my precious Kiki!). Really, what kind of imbecile author wishes to dichotomize children into good/bad categories based on their toilet training readiness? This is not a moral issue ... this is about sitting and squatting, for God's sake!

Suggestions, anyone?


next: Family Learned Over Internet That Son Was Killed
26 comments so far | Post a comment now
dean July 25, 2009, 6:42 AM

Ugh, I cannot stand the parents who brag constantly about it. And then there are the ones who try it too early and think their child (er, baby) is really potty trained when it is just the parent holding their child over the potty until they have to go.

Pamala July 25, 2009, 4:24 PM

I found a book at the 99 cent store of all places that was the only book that used proper words and just showed the motions. My daughter loved it because it also came with a button you push that makes the flushing toilet sound, I think in an effort to help kids get used to the loud flushing sound some toilets make. But other than that we didn’t use anything. She’s 3 and had been showing interest for a long time but just not willing to do it.

So one day last week I said the diaper faerie came and took her diapers to needy kids who need them (I did donate them to another mom I know who needed them). For some reason this just clicked with her and she was like okay lets wear undies.

Then I told her that if she did pee or poop her pants that her clothes would be ruined and she would have to change. This for some reason also worked for her and although yes she had accidents, she tried her best.

Now she’s doing really well. We didn’t have to reward her, I think the smiles on our faces when she did it was enough for her, and we’ve had no issues with either peeing or pooping. Sometimes she fights still, especially in the middle of an activity but I just tell her it’s important to do, remind her that her clothes will get ruined, and she does it.

I used to worry that she was way behind being 3 and not going on the toilet but when we finally did start it happened pretty smoothly so I think I did the right thing.

Monica July 26, 2009, 2:39 PM

On the top of the Potty by Alan Katz. Uses familiar songs like If You’re Happy and You Know It to a poem or song all about using the potty.

But beside that if she wants to wear underwear what I did with my son was when I was at home I let him put the underwear on for a little while. Just so he knew the difference between undies and diapers (his pants became a lot looser with out the diaper). I think you have one of those reasonable children. If you talk to her and let her know ‘well you don’t have to wear the diaper anymore if you use the potty’. And show her how much better it is without a bulky diaper. Don’t worry. I’m a little lazy too but don’t be too lazy. I have a friend who has an about to be four year old and she is not really potty training him hardly. He refuses to go but will hide under the table when he has to go and goes in his diaper. Yes, he still wears a diaper. You can have a full blown conversation with this kid and he has the smartest mouth (sometimes I feel like choking him) but he doesn’t use the potty. He’s suppose to be going to preschool soon. Imagine that. So don’t be too lazy.

Mrs Embers July 26, 2009, 7:44 PM

My kid’s almost 4, too, and has shown no signs of readiness to use the potty. We’ve tried several times, but decided that if he doesn’t know when he’s going to go, it’s not worth the hassle and/or tears. We’re in the middle of really trying now, and it looks like candy rewards might be the only thing that will motivate him to try.

aurhynn July 26, 2009, 8:02 PM

we let our daughter take her time. I did what my mother did. I put her potty right outside her bedroom door where she could get to it easily. The hard part for her was getting the pull-up down, then she found how easy it was with panties. She’ll be 3 on Aug 2 and I’m SOOOOO glad the daytime pull-ups are done! Just her night-night panties (just in case, you know?), which she did fight, she was in full panty mode. She got plenty of hugs, kisses, YAY’s and sometimes a lollipop for a good potty session. If she just went all out on the floor without even trying to go on the potty, well, she found out why Mommy got upset about cleaning her mess. OH! Don’t forget to remind the little ones to wash their hands when they’re done, mine does it automatic now. It’s sooo cute! “Mommy, soap please.” She climbs onto the big potty (sigh, I’m stuck with saying that forever now) all by herself. KanDoo wipes are a life saver and flushable.

Kelley July 26, 2009, 9:26 PM

I am a firm believer in letting kids do things in their own time. They do need guidance and sometimes you need to make them try things to get past fear, but waiting until he was ready paid off in spades for us.

Barb July 28, 2009, 9:18 AM

We introduced the potty to our kids at about 20 months (and not the carry-around potty; we use the on-the-toilet one). This approach got them both used to being up there, hearing the flush, etc. My daughter loved it and would spend an hour there if we let her (and still would at age 6!). My son is now 23 months, and not potty trained by any means, but he’s comfy on it, so we’ll go from there! I’m not in a hurry, I just wanted them to feel comfortable, and I never wanted to use the carry-around potty because it seems like adding a transition (potty to toilet) is an unnecessary step.

thumbfrinsadjcludep  August 31, 2009, 10:59 PM

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