Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Politics of Potty Training

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, pediatrician, or potty training expert. I know that next to nursing a child, potty training is the next most "controversial" mommy topic. And I want my side documented on the Internet.

She might still occasionally drink her milk from a bottle and use a pacifier but my 20 month old is pretty much potty trained. For the last couple of weeks, since the other two started school, I have been "secretly" potty training my 18 month old baby while at home. Why? It's very simple.

Consider two puppies a six month old and a one year old being house trained. The one year old understands you better but the six month old is easier to house train.

When I was training my first born before his second birthday my mom told me, "You were out of diapers at 18 months." I don't think she was lying. In the 1950s 95 percent of children were potty trained by 18 months. The disposable diaper was introduced in the 60s and that number has been falling ever since.

It is much easier and more convenient giving my baby her milk in a bottle. It is much easier and more convenient for me to keep her in diapers too. Potty training should be considered just another milestone. You encourage your infant to crawl even before they are truly ready. You purchase toys for your child to pull up on and stand even before they are ready. You place spoons in their chubby fingers encouraging them to independently eat even before they are ready. We never rush these milestones but yet we encourage them even before they are ready.

So why not potty train? I have been around mommy-blog potty training posts before and understand that I am in the minority and the majority say, "Well, they won't go to kindergarten in diapers and I'm not going to push them." True. They probably won't go to school in diapers.

But I believe that the season for training peaks at about 18 months when the child acknowledges out loud that they are wet/dirty. There is no way that I could have potty trained my overly stubborn and head strong Lola at 3 years of age as easily as I trained her at 18 months. I really do believe this.

No stickers. No candy. No charts. No plastic potty chairs. No pressure. No punishment. No rushing. No negativity.

Yes to role modeling through books. Yes to dumping diaper wastes in the toilet. Yes to sitting on the toilet. Yes to clapping and screaming, "Bravo!" Yes to encouragement. Yes to following at their pace.

It can be done with most children. Sure it takes a longer time and accidents happen. But in my opinion, encouraging a younger child for me was far more simple and less stressful for both parties.

With my third child I started sitting her on the toilet at 18 months old after her nap. It was my three hour window of time that I knew I was home waiting for the school bus to arrive with my son. We were home and I was able to religiously place her on the toilet every hour. I did this for fours weeks just during that three hour window of time. I had to be consistent for once you start you can't turn back. Shortly after those initial four weeks passed she was able to tell me herself or walk up to the bathroom herself. At this point, I opened up our window to include our hectic mornings. Because she never had a plastic potty chair she was able to go anywhere.

Potty training: training the child to use the potty and not waiting for them to. Every country outside of North America has potty trained toddlers because they can not afford diapers. It really can be done with some consistent encouraging, time, and lots of love.

It took two months of consistent encouraging and I have a 20 month old that uses 2 diapers a day (for sleep).

So, when my children are parents and I tell them, "You were potty trained before two." I can direct them here for proof.

28classy comments:

Kelly said...

If I had any kids left to train, I'd be interested in trying it like you did but lucky for me, I'm done with diapers too! Woohoo!

Stephanie said...

WOOHOO! Go FIFI!!!! You've encouraged me to get started with my son now. I think I'll start today!!!

Lisa said...

I feel like Lulu was ready this summer, and I missed the boat. She was interested, and I had tingling feet and was trying to grapple with the idea of MS. Then I got prego & was sick. Now I'm over the sickness and Lulu is 27 months, and has SO many opinions and wants to do everything on her schedule. Not. As. Easy. I need to grow some and just do it though....
SO, I'm with you - I should have started earlier. And Baby Tres that I'm currently cooking? He/She may be the one who finally has potty training done right.

Congrats to you on a successful Fifi!!!

Robyn said...

You are my hero.

I just don't know HOW to potty train my 24 month old b/c I've read so many different "theories." And, he's ready. He willingly and successfully uses his little plastic potty, but I haven't been consistent w/him.

How long would you leave Fifi on the potty? Until she went? Or for a specified period of time.

Teach me...!

Lynette said...

I know how you feel. We potty trained EARLY in my house. My mother had trained me before I was 1 (and I got this really cool "certificate" to prove it). And I followed the trend and had my trained shortly after they turned 1. I know it's controversial, but we say "if you can walk and say "mommy" you can say "potty".
:)

Smart A$$ Mom said...

I am right there with you. B-was done at 2 and V was done just before 2. My SIL swears I am crazy and was a waste of my time, but I felt that I was in the window of opportunity.

Jenni said...

Yeah! I wish all parents did what you did. And you are very right about the disposable diapers coming on the scene and stretching potty training to a later age. Children who use cloth diapers today are potty trained way earlier. It's a matter of being aware that they are wet, and diapers today just don't do that for them. Congratulations!

the MomBabe said...

I agree, but it still scares the dickens out of me.

Elaine A. said...

I may try to start this in a month or two myself.

My oldest was SO hard to train but he was a daycare child since I worked before my second was born, and I think that had a lot to do with it. They don't start until later at daycares and then I took him out when my second was born and I think he just got really confused.

Anyway, the situation is different now and I hope we can have earlier and easier success! : )

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Good for you!! I agree with what you are saying! We are approaching 24 months and are just about there....I wish I would have started earlier!

Crystal D said...

Interesting! My mom said I was out of diapers at 18 months too. She went to the hospital to have my brother and when she came home the babysitter had potty trained me. Huh!
My older 2 were trained on both sides of turning 3. It wasn't hard, but that was 18 more months of buying diapers then I suppose I had to do. My potty training timing totally has to do with what was easiest for me and my compete disgust of public restrooms. It was just easier do throw on a diaper or pull up and head out.
But maybe this time I will try the 18 month thing. I already have to hit the public restroom with the older 2, what's one more. Well, I have 17 months to think about it. :)

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

This is awesome. Kudos to you for writing it! (and being an inspiration for me to keep going!)

Chiloe said...

USA is not the only country who uses diapers !!! Even mexican buys diapers, europeans too ;-)

thethirddegree said...

You totally rule. Totally rule. Congratulations!

April said...

Congrats! I sucked at potty training. My youngest, though, rocked. She pretty much trained herself!

Shannon said...

I totally agree. My two boys were both trained at just over 24 months and were totally ready. It was messy and yucky for 4 days, then they both "got it" and seemed to transition well on day 5. They both used cloth diapers and I was DONE with washing them by age two - so they were gonna get trained whether they liked it or not. My mom constantly tells me I was trained at 12 months (still wish I could find proof of this!!), lol.

Ashley said...

I was waiting til I got the 20 dollar bjorn potty, but now I'm wondering if I should just do regular potty?

Only thing is, how did you get the pic of her sitting on the potty - does she not fall in if you let go?

My daughter doesn't really like the big potty ohsomuch. But she loves the plastic pottys because they aren't so high and fit her bottom.

I think I need a play by play lol - which books, how long did it take you guys, how did it work with starting out just after naptime and then moving to mornings (rather than starting off with full days?), and did she wear training pants/diapers/etc while you were training? Run naked? What?

Mom2Miles said...

I hate you. No, seriously, this was very interesting to read for a mom in the throes of potty training my 29-mo-old son, my first child.

However, I get so frustrated when people say they put their child on the potty every hour. My son has never, ever willingly done something every hour on the hour, at 18 mos. or 29 mos., so "encouraging" turns into "pressuring" no matter what. I get the theory, it just doesn't work for everyone in practice.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

congrats on that working. I kinda believe that it has a lot to do with the child. My kids NEVER mentioned "wet" or "dry" ever - not until I started potty training them myself. But if your method worked for you, then that's wonderful! One less kid in diapers for the landfill!!!

By the way, what do you do if your kid's #2 is always mushy? I always wanted to demonstrate putting it in the potty so my kids would see, but the #2 just wasn't in the right state of... firmness. Get my drift? Yes, I think everyone gets my drift.

Kat said...

I agree. Although my boys were all a bit later because I was waiting for them to be able to control and feel a pee or poo coming on. Plus my oldest and youngest really didn't talk at 18 months. But my boys were (well, I'm still waiting on the third boy of course) potty trained at two years old. Both of them only took about 2-3 days and they were completely potty trained.
I think younger is easier too.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

okay - you don't need to answer me - I see you are still using diapers for naps and sleeping. I actually do everything you do - with great success. But I always put a diaper on en route (frankly I didn't want to ruin the leather seats/car seat included). I think I gave baby girl a crutch!

LiteralDan said...

This sounds a lot like us, except that we do have a plastic training toilet, though we make sure to keep her using that and the real toilet, so she'll go anywhere.

I can see the attraction of keeping kids in diapers for convenience, but at the same time, I can't see not doing at least a (very) soft sell as soon as they're walking, to get away from the expense and hassle that much sooner.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

My kids were all trained relatively young. I'm not of the 'they'll do it in their own time' mindset. I was more of the 'get-er-done' mindset. LOL!

Indy said...

I know I am too lazy to do this. I hate the time period where you are at a store and they only have to pee when they are in the back of the store. I don't mind diapers and I kept them in them because it was easier. Totally agree with you. I'm just not as ambitious.

beth said...

I am impressed that you had such a positive experience.

I also love that you relied on your mother's wisdom and experience instead of the current "expert" advice.

CC said...

My little girl was potty trained at 20 months as well. Her timing? Not likely. My timing? For sure.

Jaina said...

I'm SO going to try this once I have children of my own. I think you're right on. Thanks so much for sharing this. :)

Musings of a Housewife said...

My mom totally abides by this philosophy and encouraged me to train my children before 2. I didn't, lol, but I think you are right. I know SO many families for whom potty training is such a battle - with 3 and 4 year olds. I always think about my mom and figure she probably had it right.

 

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