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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?


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