Friday, May 6, 2016

Potty training (at last!)

I have to say, I thought I'd have this done a long time ago. I did Elimination Communication with Tristan from when he was about 4 months old, and was inordinately proud that I almost never had to change a poopy diaper... up until he started eating more solids than breastmilk and became more mobile at the same time. The combination of the firmer stools with the knowledge that he could take off at any time worked against me, and EC went by the wayside.

Meanwhile, I've bought piles of underwear, training pants, and various potties, all hoping to get the magic combo that would make him use the potty. And you know what? None of it helped.

What finally helped was a book called "Oh Crap! Potty Training", by Jamie Glowacki. I'd heard great things about this book, but I resisted buying it for ages. By the time I broke down and bought it, Tristan was well past her "ideal training window" age between 20 and 30 months old, but her principles still worked - she has sections in the book about how to potty train older kids, dealing with special circumstances, and how to deal with day care.

For me, the big mental shifts were not ASKING Tristan if he had to go potty, but telling him very matter-of-fact-ly that it was time to go sit on the potty for a minute. And the other was asking myself "What is your child capable of?" - he can run, climb, talk rings around people, and likes being a big helper. Of course he was capable of understanding that poop and pee go in the potty, and doing it himself! And because I have a little guy who loves to mess with me, none of the potties or inserts would do for him - he had to sit on the REAL toilet to do his stuff. Because of COURSE he would do that. <eyeroll>

The other quirk is that to do this for real, you have to commit. Clear the schedule, stay home for a few days, and for the first few days the trainee is supposed to be bare-bottomed so you can see what little body clues they give you before they go. That was old hat for me, since we had done the EC thing before, so we pretty much skipped to step 2, commando in pants. Yeah. None of those fancy training pants I've been so excited about, no undies. Just pants. The reason? Underwear and trainers feel snug around the butt, just like a diaper. There's no motivation to go, because it feels about the same as a diaper. Commando feels a lot more gross to a little kid - the poop and pee slides down the leg, and... ewwww. Much more motivating. (It should go without saying, but I will anyway - Pull-Ups do not work - they are diapers that slide a little easier, not a potty training aid. They must be ditched if you're using disposables and potty training - the only exceptions are nap and bedtimes.)

The whole potty continuum goes from clueless to "I peed" to "I'm peeing" to "I'm about to pee!". Tristan had been telling me for the past few weeks when his diaper was wet, so I knew he was very close here - it can take a lot longer than this for some kids. We're on day 5 of training, and we've had a few mishaps - a poop on the floor while I was still in the shower, another in a pair of very loose waterproof training pants (we had to go to an appointment, and I wasn't confident). But today and yesterday he was dry all his waking hours! and today he even got himself onto the potty before I could get there, and did a great poop all by himself! Last night was funny as we were trying to get settled for bed and he was already in his cloth diaper, he sat up in bed and said "You gotta be kidding me - I gotta go again!". Sure enough, he held it until we got to the potty.

At this stage, the only thing I'm thinking we need is a pair or three of Super Undies Bedwetter pants. Daniel has used them with a great deal of success, they're very well made and pull up and down easily, and unlike the rest of the training pants I have around, they'll stand up to a whole night of use. And I won't have to worry if I have enough cloth diapers between the new baby (her name will be Charlotte Elizabeth) and Tristan - what a relief!

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