Hello, potty training!
We arrived here without even realizing it, really. I’d been noticing tiny little signs, the most obvious being that Jack was starting to tell us each time he’d pooped. Still, I assumed that it would be silly to try to potty train him this close to Forrest’s arrival. I’d made up my mind that we’d tackle the whole thing this summer, when running around naked would be a lot easier (and probably necessary, considering the kind of heat we get here).
Then, Allie introduced me to Early-Start Potty Training by Linda Sonna, PH. D. This book was really helpful for me because it helped me see that there is no magic time when potty training is suddenly acceptable. Although children will be more likely to slide right into it if they’re already showing signs, they are actually physically and mentally capable of controlling their elimination from a very, very early age. Obviously, it’s easier if they’re trained early, but Dr. Sonna has a how-to guide for 0-6 months, 6-18 months, and 18-24 months. Her helpful method made me feel like I knew what I was getting myself into.
What most inspired me was Dr. Sonna’s explanation that in most countries, children are potty trained by 18 months. She also acknowledges that “training” isn’t the greatest word, and perhaps “potty learning” would be more accurate because that’s really what it is. Children learn to eat in a highchair, sit in a carseat in the car (for example), and they can also learn to eliminate in a toilet. I like the sound of that.
So, here we are, still in the first week of learning to use the potty. Jack has actually done very well. He’s ‘pooed in the toilet twice and he’s peed several times, though I haven’t kept an exact count. I keep him naked as much as possible, although it’s still a bit chilly so that doesn’t always work. My first goal is to get him used to feeling clean – children who are diapered for an extended amount of time find a lot of comfort in wearing a diaper, even if it’s soiled. I want Jack to learn that living in a wet/soiled diaper is unpleasant. To avoid the sprinkling or smearing of any accidents he may have, I dress him in sweats or fitted knit pants without a diaper on colder days/times of day. I’m also working on helping him understand where his pee and poop come from. He has not spent a lot of time observing his body because it’s been covered by a diaper. When he’s naked, he can see himself eliminating, which helps him to associate a sensation along with what his body is doing.
Right now, we put Jack on a miniature toilet seat that goes over our toilet. I’ve always thought it would be best to teach him to go on a seat so that he’d transition to an actual toilet much easier, but everything I’m reading says it’s much easier for children to train on a toilet chair. Jack hasn’t had any problems with the toilet seat, but we’re considering purchasing a chair to see if he might be even more willing to go on his own little potty. We’ll see.
Ultimately, I’m doing my best to stay committed to taking him to the bathroom every hour (sometimes more often if he’s had a lot to drink). Obviously, when we’re out, he still wears a diaper and I don’t always have access to a toilet each hour, but I figure it’s just a good excuse to stay close to home. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the frequency of potty trips, and even more so when he asks to go every few minutes, only to get off with nothing to show for it seconds later, but I realize that this will be worth all of my efforts – especially if he’s out of diapers when Forrest comes. I can’t even imagine!
This goes right along with my reluctance to see my boy grow up – but I have to acknowledge that he is going to grow up regardless of what I want, and I might as well do my best to help him grow up well!
So, does anyone have any helpful potty training tips for me (particularly those of you who may have training slightly earlier than the average 24-36 months)?