Monday, April 20, 2009

Potty time!

If The Boy is any where near the bathroom when we have to go -- and sadly, he often is these days; oh to pee in peace! -- we always let him try to flush the toilet. He loves it, and it's a skill I'm hoping to exploit when it comes time to potty train. (Insert evil mother laugh here.) The Boy is only 15 months old, and I know boys tend to be harder than girls to potty train, so diapers are my lot for some time yet. But I dream of the day I won't have to change his pooey butt. I've found myself more than once mooning over training potties in Wal-Mart and Target, wondering how soon is too soon.

Over on Facebook, Molly also is wondering about her daughter EM:
Hi! I was curious on potty training my 18 month old daughter before the new baby arrives in July.. is it worth a try or should I just wait until she's a bit older? Any thoughts?

My completely unscientific, gut reaction is to try it. EM is a little young -- most child experts and pediatricians say kids are ready around age 2 -- but every kid is different. My mother swears she potty trained me when my little sister was on the way, so I was just under 2, by saying, "You've got to be a big girl now because you're going to be a big sister. And big girls go on the potty. Only babies use diapers." And that was that. No more diapers and only a few accidents.

On the other hand, I knew a boy who pooed his pants regularly past kindergarten because he "likes the way it feels." Eww. (Let's all take a moment to pray our kids won't say that.)

Back to the question at hand, potty training might be do-able if EM is interested in the process, able to follow basic instructions and can tell you when she needs to go. I thought this are-they-ready checklist and tip list from the Mayo Clinic was rather handy. Consistency paired with incessant trips to the potty seem to be key after you start, as well as endless enthusiasm for the pee and poo that ends up in the toilet instead of a diaper. Have you ever seen the episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 where Kate takes pictures of the kids' first poo in the potty? I thought that was gross until I had to regularly change diapers. I'm not going to scrapbook The Boy's first poo, but I can totally see where a poo in the potty would be cause for celebration. If EM is getting praised endlessly for being a big girl and going potty, it might even help her when the new baby arrives. She clearly has the edge over a baby -- or not. There's always the chance that even if EM is a champion potty-goer, she could regress after the baby arrives, wanting the extra attention a diaper change provides.

And so we're back to where all parenting conundrums end up, I think: Trial and error. Try the potty, cross your fingers that it works, but if it doesn't -- or if things get rough after the baby's arrival -- don't get too discouraged and don't make it a big deal. Best case scenario, you have only one kid in diapers at a time. Worst case scenario -- well, what a few more diapers, right?

What do you guys think? Should Molly give potty training a try with EM? Any tips from those of you who have gone through it?


B,P,R,S & soon L said...

I would personally not start an 18 month old unless she is showing interest. We started our now 4.5 year old at 2, 6 months before baby #2 arrived with minimal success, and after #2 was born, she regressed a lot. Ended up not being completely potty trained until 3.5. #2 is now 2 and has been going on the potty consistently, when we take her, for several months. She showed interest after watching her big sister go. She will tell us sometimes, but not all the time. We will take whatever she can do because #3 is set to arrive any day now. We expect that she will regress when her little sister arrives, but right now, she is miles ahead of her big sister at the same point. With no older siblings or kids that she's around on a regular basis, I would wait. It will be less stressful later. Hope this helps!!

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, I knew a boy who pooed his pants regularly past kindergarten because he "likes the way it feels." Eww. You'd never guess some of the things kids would say, would you? Before I had my own kids I looked after a four year for a few weeks who felt the same way. Couldn't believe it. He was still wet at night, so he would wait for his night diaper and then do it in his jammies in bed. Completely on purpose, every single night. I'd have to change him and clean him and put him to bed again.

I tried to comfort and coax him into using the toilet, like a big boy, and I was really nice about helping him deal with his "poo problem" for a few days, until he knocked my socks off by telling me "But Emmy, I like it on my bottom, it's my baby time."

Jill Bradlie said...

Everyone asked when the right age to start potty training is and there is no one size fits all answer to this.

I have hears of children 12 months who are potty trained and at the same time children going on 4 who refuse to use a toilet.

It all comes down to the first sign of readiness. Maybe they ask what the toilet is for or they start showing discomfort in their wet diaper... What ever age they start showing signs is the age your child is ready to start training.

odds are however most children wont ever show signs before 18 months of age and if you do start before they show signs know that it will be a much longer and exhausting attempt.