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.
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?