Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Great Potty-Training Debate

Sometime between the second and the third year most people decide that it's time to get their kiddo potty-trained.  While it's a necessary step in life, it can also be one that is filled with anxiety, frustration, and admit it, irritation.  Cleaning up messes around the house is not fun.  Taking your kiddo to the potty every twenty minutes limits what you can do during the day and gets old for the child as well.  So, what do you do?  Do you push potty-training onto your child or wait until they express interest and, in a sense, make the decision on their own?

In this day and age of what I like to call "competitive parenting," this can spark a little debate.  No offense out there parents, but we're all guilty of bragging about how early our child did this or how great our child is at that.  We take pride in our child's accomplishments and love to push them into things they just might not be ready for to keep up with the Jones'.  While it may not seem like a big deal to give them a little push, it may be a problem if they're not developmentally ready and experience a great deal of failure.  It can lead to frustration for the child and the parents and actually discourage them from mastering a task.    

This is the philosophy I try to adhere to when potty-training.  I have yet to push any of my kiddos into it.  Yes, it would be nice save the money on diapers and I could stop answering the "When is so-and-so going to be potty-trained" questions.  In the end, though, I truly feel like when they're ready, they'll do it.  We usually get the potty out sometime after they turn two and set it in the bathroom where they bathe.  Trying to go before taking a bath has always led to their first successful pee in the potty.  We make a big deal about it.  We clap and cheer and dance around like we're supposed to, but we don't push it any further than that.  Soon it becomes a habit to sit and try before getting into the bathtub, but that may be the only time they use it for months.

Then, almost magically, one day they ask to sit on the potty at another time.  They may or may not go, but the interest is there.  We'll ask throughout the day if they want to go, but never push the issue.  Soon they want to try and more times than not they are successful.  It seems that once we've reached this point, they are ready to take the plunge into potty-training.  We've just entered that phase with our little guy.

Sometime late last week he began disappearing into the bathroom, ripping off his diaper, and proudly exclaiming that he had gone potty.  It was a happy day for us all.  He is by far our most independent and stubborn child and I knew that potty-training him was definitely going to be on his terms.  On my trip to Target over the weekend, I picked up some training pants and now that's all he wants to wear.  We call them practice underwear and he loves them. We've had a few accidents over the past few days, but his progress has been fast and with very little struggle.  In just a matter of a few days, he's also stayed dry over night.  Unfortunately this means he's waking at 5:00 to go to the bathroom, but hey, we'll take it.

We'll see if it continues.  I am hoping we're on our way to being a one-kid-in-diapers household again, but if it's just not the right time, that's okay, too.  He'll get there in his own time and we'll all be happier if that's the route we take.  After all, who wants to fight with a kid with a loaded "weapon" that could spray all over you at any time?  Not me!  I was peed on enough when he was a baby!  

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