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?