Sunday, June 20, 2010

Various things that start with "P."

Here it is, my first obsessive post about potty training. I can't remember how long ago I bought a little potty chair for Penny, but it's been in our bathroom for months, and I guess I was hoping she would just learn how to use it on her own, by simple observation. Here's another thing: I dislike the word "potty." But I don't know what else to call it, and I haven't come up with a better word for it, and now Penny says it, and here we are, beginning our first earnest attempts to potty train, although I also dislike the verb "train" as it pertains to my child, and I fully expect this to be an arduous process.

By the way, Flotsam has a hilarious post about the potty nomenclature, which generated many comments from people who shared their potty training experiences. I haven't read all the comments because I was too overwhelmed.

And here's why it's going to take a long time: Because it has to be Penny's idea. Not just Penny's, any kid's. I have heard horrific tales of kids resisting the well-intentioned pressure of their parents, of early successes totally backfiring later, of kids holding it in because it has to be their idea, not a grown-up's, to go in the socially acceptable receptacle. At Penny's annual check-up, I asked my doctor for some advice, and she reinforced the notion that kids will do it when they're ready. Some are ready at 2 years old, some are 3, but sooner or later, everyone gets it.

Hoo, and there are so many different philosophies and strategies! Some kids just run around naked all the time (which might be easier now that it's summer), and eventually get tired of having pee running down their legs, so that's motivating enough, I suppose. But that involves cleaning up lots of messes, which doesn't thrill me. Some people keep the potty in the play area, or wherever their child spends a lot of time, which I also don't love, because I think the bathroom should stay in the bathroom. Some kids are easy to bribe, and some kids aren't. Some people favor a little seat on the big toilet, so there isn't anything extra to clean, while others prefer the portability of a potty chair. Sheesh, I had no idea this would be so complicated.

But I'm posting about this because today, we had our first potty success, and that made me unbelievably proud. For months, Penny has been sitting, but not doing anything, and not really sitting long enough to do anything, and really just running back and forth, sitting for one second on the potty, then standing, running down the hall, running back, and closing the door, shouting, "I going potty!" x100. (This prompted a doorknob change because we were worried she was going to lock herself in). But today, when she got up from her nap, her diaper was pretty dry, so I figured, let's give this a try, and I gave her some reading material, and she sat long enough for the magic to happen. And we laid the praise on soooo thick, she was very pleased and we were pleased, and we said, let's see if she'll do it again! Two accidents later, and she was a bit unnerved and requested her diaper. "Oh, no!" Penny exclaimed, worried. So. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.

Reading, the ultimate motivation.

It's going to be hard not to pressure her too much. It's also going to be hard for me to persist, in a consistent fashion, because that takes a certain amount of energy and each day is a little different schedule-wise. But, I figure we'll go slow, provide ample opportunities, celebrate the successes, and follow her lead. Sounds good enough, anyway. "Process" is another word that starts with P. And if none of that works, I guess I can always make another book.


Maybelle's Parents said...

You could you magic words like "tinkle." This is what my mom and grandma Marge called it. :)

April said...

Oh, how ironic. I have suddenly decided that this is my project for the summer as well. This week we are working on sitting on the potty before bedtime. I figure, after all, he has to get used to that before he is going to want to do it on his own, right? No luck yet, lots of "better luck next time!" and high fives. Don't I pay my nanny to do this stuff? If you figure it out, let me know.

PS- It looks like Eli is a binky kid- CRAP!

w. wilson said...

I think the best thing we ever did was wait until G was ready. We just kept the potty out, and let him do it when he wanted. It took 6 months total, but he never uses accidents as a weapon or a tool (though we'll see what happens when the new baby comes). Preschool also helped a ton- that peer pressure will do the work for you.

xoxo Whit