Tag Archives: Toilet Learning

Potty Training Round 700

The Saddest ToiletI thought I would put this out there for the moms who have struggled with potty training their kids. I seem to have so many mom friends whose kids just naturally potty trained, or trained super early, or simply needed a couple days at home with mom standing over them. This has not been the case for my daughter. Not. In. The. Least. 

Cam isn’t necessarily an anxious child. She’s a typical first child, cautious, but I would never describe her as anxious. Still, when it comes to trying new things, and wearing underwear and sitting on the potty, she is apprehensive. Usually I can gently push her to try something new or do it with her and have a lot of success getting her out of her comfort zone and having fun. Certainly I have tried these tactics with potty training, but to no avail. With potty training she has ultimate control over how things go and she is exercising that control to its fullest. 

She’s peed in the potty every since last summer and had only a handful of “accidents” which have been the result of being too lazy to actually use the potty while playing. She’s been dry at night since 8 months old (no joke). She knows when she needs to poop and now is wearing underwear the majority of the time, but switches to a diaper when she does poop. Cam has no underlying medical or developmental reasons for this to be happening. It appears just to be her. 

I suppose you could argue the end is in sight for us since she mostly wears underwear, but I think I’ve pushed as much as I can for the time being and it might be another year before she sits on the potty for all of it. She is also oddly uncomfortable wearing underwear to bed. I let her wear a diaper because I am not prepared for a fight and tears and drama right before bed. Still, she’s been dry overnight for years. Where does that apprehension come from?

I’ve wondered over the years if we hadn’t switched to disposable training pants would she have had better luck training? Maybe, but very hard to say. For awhile I had her in cotton training pants, but it simply resulted in floods when she needed to pee and lots of scrubbing when there was poo. She wasn’t ready and it was too much work and water on my part. Diapers didn’t fit her properly at a certain age (or so I thought) so we switched to training pants and by the time she was ready to switch back to cotton pants there were a lot of tears. Buckets full. It was too stressful for everyone involved. It did help having a friend to watch pee on the potty (and weirdly she uses the grown-up potty when we have friends over). So did some of our favorite potty training books. But nothing got her actually ready except herself. She had and is having to come to it in her own time. 

One thing I have noticed about other “potty trained” kids is that that term is loosely applied in almost all situations. Most parents report accidents for years. Many are not actually potty trained to poop on the potty, just pee. Many are not dry through the night. So before you get worked up over everyone else’s kids being potty trained, look more closely at what they mean by that. Doing it on your child’s timeline (instead of one enforced by a preschool program or parental desire) seems to lead to full potty training in the same amount of time with many, many fewer accidents and tears and power struggles. 

There are definitely days and times I think she may go to college in diapers despite the funny saying that no one ever did. She’s past 5 years old now. But I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My point in writing this is to share that there are parents and children out there for whom the traditional methods just aren’t working and I want you to know it’s hard and frustrating and expensive (shit, five years of diapers) and you aren’t alone. 

Friday Five: Potty Training

There are a lot of different facets in potty training, from underwear to pee and poo to sitting on the potty, and my daughter has struggled with each one. She is still not fully trained at nearly five. Over the past few years I have gathered a number of potty training books to help her process through her worries. Here are five, plus one bonus book that we’ve found helpful. 

Underwear Book1. The Underwear Book by Todd Parr

Todd Parr was on last week’s list too because all his books are wonderful. This one is great for kids who are unsure about wearing underwear. He tells you a list of dos and don’ts that are guaranteed to make you laugh hysterically. It also features a wide range of (oddly) colored people, male and female, human and animal. The underwear are in all different styles, maybe some more comfortable and plausible than others. 

 

 

Vegetables in Underwear2. Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman

 Another one that is meant to convince reluctant underwear-ers that they’re the bees knees. This one is totally hilarious showing all different vegetables modeling their skivvies. The broccoli on the cover walks you through different kinds and when you wear them. Then he finds some babies. But wait, babies don’t wear underwear. Sorry, babies! 

 

 

 

The Saddest Toilet3. The Saddest Toilet in the World written by Sam Apple, illustrated by Sam Ricks

For those kids that are a bit hesitant to sit on the potty. I think adults will appreicate this one as much as the kids. There are plenty of subtle nods to potty humor. Danny won’t sit on the potty, he’s not sure he’s ready. The toilet is saddened by this and runs away from home. Danny and his mom go out to find him in the city and Danny finally feels ready to sit on the potty. 

 

 

Ruby's Potty4. Ruby’s Potty by Paul and Emma Rogers

A rhymed book about sitting on the potty and using it as intended. Ruby does a lot of things with her potty. Everything maybe. It goes in the bath tub, it goes to the park, it even carries art supplies. The one thing she doesn’t do is sit on it and pee. Will she be able to figure out just what a potty is for? I suspect she knows all along, but hasn’t chosen to use it yet. The end features a triumphant Ruby holding the potty up. A good book for sharing what exactly that funny little pot it used for. The book is sadly out of print, but if you can find it used it would make a good gift with a new potty. 

 

 

Time to Pee5. Time to Pee! by Mo Willems

Okay it totally walks you through what to do when you get “that funny feeling”. Hoardes of mice holding signs, wearing crazy headgear, and hanging in different poses present the words in the book and help the little friends along to the potty where they pull their pants and undies down and pee. Ends with hand washing which surprisingly not all potty books do. 

 

 

Polar Bear's UnderwearBonus Book: Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera

Polar Bear can’t find his underwear so his friend mouse vows to help him. They go through the book finding various pairs of undies, but none of them are Polar Bear’s. This book is absolutely hilarious. Kids who love to laugh at underwear will be on the floor with this one. Each page features a cut out of underwear and the page turn reveals who is wearing it. But it’s the conclusion that is the best. Polar Bear has been wearing his tighty-whities all along! He just couldn’t see them because he is also white. Oops. The humor in this just might convince reluctant underwear-ers to put on a pair. 

A Little Weekend Reading: Diaper Free Before Three

Weekend Reading.jpg

I know this method can be controversial and I want to begin this post by saying: you must know your own child. What works for one, may not work for another. You need to watch for signs of readiness for toilet training and many other things. Only you and your child can decide if and when they are ready for something.

That being said Cam has been ready for potty training for awhile. I read the book Diaper-Free Before Three back in March or April because I was struck by a sentence in Montessori From the Start (see here for more on how we are toilet training). She mentioned something about toilet training at a very young age, which is not the current position most parents take.

If early potty training is something that sounds appealing and you want to learn more, as well as how, I would certainly recommend Diaper-Free. It’s not very long; it’s very readable; and she gives a bit of everything for everyone, from history to theory to practical how-to. I tended to agree with the case she made saying that, culturally, the late potty training that is popular now is a very recent shift and there is not much research to back up benefits of potty training late or back up claims that early potty training is harmful.

The method is rather labor intensive with a very young child, but I think it can really pay off by making your child feel capable and empowered early on.

Toilet Training

One of the first books I read about the Montessori Method was Montessori From the Start. I was looking for a manual that would give me a sense of the philosophy behind the method, some history, and a glimpse at how to go about implementing the principles. For the most part the book did that. But it also piqued my curiosity about toilet training, oddly enough. There was just a passing comment made about potty training around 18 months, but it stuck with me. Eighteen months sounded really early, but also rather appealing. Who wouldn’t want to be done with diapers that early?

I started to do some research, both in books and by asking around. What I learned was that the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends toilet training closer to three years old and outlines some pretty ambiguous readiness signs, but this is a recent change in culture and practice. There is a movement of people, including many Montessori proponents, who advocate “early” potty training (18ish months). I ended up reading the book Diaper Free Before Three, which I found interesting and meshed well with my parenting philosophy/approach.

We began the process of potty training around 9 months which involved nothing more than sitting Cam on the potty from time to time and getting her to associate it with going to the bathroom. We’ve also been using training pants on and off since a year old, especially as we battle some nasty bouts of diaper rash.

I was excited to come across this post on How We Montessori last week that gives excellent advice about how to go about potty training. The post also gave me courage to ditch all of our diapers (except the nighttime ones) and go completely for training pants. I think this is going to be a process, but I can already see Cam beginning to take to it. She never ceases to amaze me and I really need to give her more credit for being capable.