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Potty Tales

Little L is almost 17 months, and I am trying to figure out about potty training.  Some AP literature, including Kelly Mom, advocates for early "Elimination Communication,"(which isn't really potty training per se), but there is also literature out there suggesting that physical and emotional readiness doesn't generally happen before age 3.  The EC folks believe that, if a child and a parent are in good communication with one another, then parents are able to respond to a young child's "cues" and get them to the potty in time for a poo or a pee, thereby eliminating the need for diapers earlier on.  Some urologists and child development professionals out there argue that parent-led potty-training of any kind, when introduced too early, tends to result in young kids who hold it in too long, have constipation issues and UTI's, and bladders with reduced capacities (resulting in bed-wetting and other such voiding issues down the road).

So what's a momma to do? In this case, the science doesn't really support one side more than another, although social pressure (which I balk at, as you know) seems to lean towards earlier potty training than later; some even use their EC/early potty training successes as bragging rights.

Then there are the rewards vs. no rewards camps.  I lean heavily toward the no rewards camp, because I really don't believe in reward/punishment paradigms for anything, and would prefer Little L to find some intrinsic motivator (in her own time) to get her on the potty.  That, or hopefully her "reward" is the satisfaction of being able to flush, or wear a cute pair of panties.  I say this, of course, not having begun any type of potty adventures yet, so my opinion is subject to change, depending on Little L.

In my Google searching, the info I most identify with out there (so far) is this and this and this.  I really love the differentiation between "toilet training" which is parent-led, and "toilet learning," which is child-led.  Intuitively, I would much prefer Little L to show me when she's ready, and have her go potty because she wants to and is interested in doing so, rather than because I want her to stop using diapers.  And to me, that seems to be the biggest distinction between the two.

And although a lot of AP folks lean toward that whole pants-free, diaper-free lifestyle for their wee ones, I am not interested in cleaning fecal matter off my floors on a regular basis.  The argument that EC is done in other parts of the world, particularly China, really doesn't fly with me because we're not in China and there isn't a squatty potty or a trench (yes, trench - that was the bathroom I almost had to use at the Forbidden Kingdom in Beijing) anywhere, so having Little L run free and naked just means that my leather couches, shag rugs, and king-sized Posturepedic run the risk of being shat on and permanently stained.  The toddlers in China wear crotchless squat pants when they are learning to go potty, and some really do go in all sorts of random places.  It is socially acceptable there, but I'm pretty sure the Play Place at McDonalds on Main would not find it so socially okay.

Anyway, I digress.  Little L has recently shown interest in my use of the potty, and will point and say, "Potty!" whenever she is in there when I'm doing my thing.  She also squats when she poops, which has been often as of late due to her tummy bug.  Anyway, as a result, I've ordered her a BabyBjorn potty chair to sit on and practice with.  We'll see how that goes.

And whenever this potty learning happens, I do hope that it is a seamless transition, much like her transitions from two naps to one, and from bottle to no bottle (oh yeah, we're bottle-free in this house now, and have been for the past two months).

I'll keep you posted on this sh!t. ;)

How have you approached potty training/learning with your kid(s)? What are your thoughts on extrinsic motivators, be it edible or non-edible rewards?


Helen Kam said…
Once Erica was able to sit, I got an ikea potty for $8 (its great, detachable bin and everything for easy clean up...might be a good backup or if you need more than one) and sat her on it one morning. She loved sitting in it butt naked...kicked around joyfully, and then started baring down and pooped and peed! We've been doing that for over a week now and when I sense she needs to poop (complaining, pulling her legs up, pulling at her diaper), I remove her diaper and sit her down and she does her business. It was really goal was just to get her used to sitting on one and I have only seen 1 poopy diaper over the past week (when she wasn't under my care for a bit).

If she cried on the potty or hated it, I would have waited and tried again later...but since she took to it so well, we are just continuing with that routine! She still wears diapers for pees :) dunno how to catch those yet! She even lets me know when she's done by trying to get out of the chair herself (which resulted in a faceplant and wet poop on the carpet XD) so i sit next to her at all times now on the potty!
Mrs. Loquacious said…
I have heard that once a child sits on the potty there is some instinct that does usually result in a poop or a pee. It seems the concern isn't so much about ability to use it but awareness to use it the moment the urge appears. Like, for Little L, sometimes she doesn't want to get her diaper changed because she is immersed in her reading. I would imagine that if she was potty trained, she would rather hold it in or have an accident than run to the potty, which defeats the point of it. But I guess that once kids are more mature, they are better able to respond to their bodily cues and verbalize their need to go.

Little L used to be very cooperative with diaper changes too, but once she realized that she and I are separate entities and she got mobile, things changed ;)

Ugh. We go back and fourth. He sits he likes it. The next day he hates it. We are not pushing him to use it, but rather offering without pressure. I don't think I can make it until 3!!
Mrs. Loquacious said…
She just got her potty, and she refuses to sit in it. She likes pointing at the Bjorn bear on the logo, and then pointing at my potty. I think I will buy her a seat attachment for our toilet and see if that works better. So weird. She squats and sits on stools and every other conceivable seat-like surface, but NOPE. Not the potty.

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