Potty Training Politics
I have three kids who know how to use the toilet and a one year old who knows how to dig in the toilet. I’m not really sure how any of it happened. Granted, they’re all girls and I’ve heard girls are just easier. So, if you have a boy and have had potty issues and you think I’m an idiot at the end of this post, I apologize.
I recently came across the phrase, “Potty Learning”. Oh Lordy…here we go. The hair stood up on my arms and my teeth began to gnash because I was sure some Pouting Pattie had been offended by the connotation of training someone to use a toilet and a new politically correct phrase had been coined. I read on and was shell shocked to find myself cheering by the end of the article.
Lazy Jesi’s Potty Training Tips
Let me explain. When my first daughter was 15 months old, she started showing interest in mimicking Mommy and going potty on the toilet. (which if you know me, you know that I pee way more than is natural or socially acceptable so she probably just thought that was what she was supposed to being doing a great portion of the day) I excitedly bought her a baby potty and the most freakin’ adorable tiny underwear and began putting her on the little plastic loo every time I went to pee. (which let’s face it was no less than 20 times per day) She caught right on and was potty trained without much help from me. She wore a diaper at night until she was about five because I was too lazy to get up and take her to the bathroom at night. Around five years old, she magically started getting up at night and going to bathroom on her own and thus the diaper wearing stopped.
My second daughter was not interested in dropping anything liquid or solid into that great white hole in the bathroom. She was however, highly captivated by fishing out toilet paper and flushing foreign objects. I read potty training books and searched online. I offered her M and M’s and stickers with moderate success and tried to bribe her with a potty that cheered her on every time she deposited a gift into it. Around two years old, she was begrudgingly peeing regularly in the toilet but would still give me a look of pure disdain when I mentioned pooping in the toilet. She would calmly come and find me, request that a diaper be put on her and adjourn to some private location to relieve herself. She would return triumphant and often help me clean up and throw the diaper away. This went on until she was three and then like magic, poops began appearing in the toilet. She also wore a diaper at night until five years old. If you’ve forgotten why, refer to the second paragraph.
When my third daughter was about two and a half years old, we bought a box of pull ups. I wasn’t planning on starting any formal training, it was just easier to put pull ups on her while she was trying to run away naked. The box came with a prize inside! It was a beautiful pink and shiny Dora watch that you could set at certain intervals to alarm and remind a little person to go potty. She thought this was a fantastic idea and set about potty training herself with little intervention from me. I was available for butt wiping, but she did the rest. When she was about three years old, I forgot or got tired of putting diapers on her at night. (I’m not sure which it was, forgot or too lazy) She rarely had an accident after that and was basically potty perfect at that point.
Over the years, people have questioned me about potty training and asked my techniques. I guess they assume that I have three kids who use the toilet so I must know what I’m doing. They look at me like I just grew a boob on my head when I say, “Heck if I know how to potty train a kid. They just train themselves. I just wait and they do it.”
My mom was convinced that my kids were going to be social renegades because they wore night diapers until they were five. There just had to be something wrong with that! Why wasn’t I having them checked out or giving them M and M’s or stickers for going through the night dry? Why didn’t I leave the diapers off so they’d get wet and humiliated and then make them change the sheets themselves? Someone even suggested cutting off drinks after 5pm so there would be no urine to pee out. Mmkay. I’m pretty sure dehydration is not the answer, either.
Following my Gut
You know why I never did any of these things? It just never felt right. I did what I wanted and what my gut told me because that’s the way I am. I don’t care what anyone else thinks and I don’t care if Susie, Johnny or Dick was potty trained at 12 months. Call me lazy, call me extreme. It worked and it worked with very little effort on my part. And I was never worried because I’m relatively certain there aren’t very many functioning adults out there still dumping in their pants – they’re bound to start using it at some point!
Now, back to the politically correct “Potty Learning” article and why I was cheering. It turns out that I was apparently practicing potty learning all along. It’s all about taking the child’s lead and letting them express interest in going to the bathroom, then facilitating and encouraging that interest. It’s about not forcing or pushing anything and just relaxing. It’s about not having a time limit or bribing a kid to do something they’re not ready to do. It’s about making it convenient and positive for the child and not trying to appease all the daycare workers and church nursery attendants who don’t want to change anymore diapers.
What it boils down to
When your child is 22 and graduating from college, it’s not going to matter one tiny bit when they started layin’ deuces in the commode or talking or walking or reading or any of the other milestones that we humans insist on putting under arbitrary time restraints. I’ve yet to hear any mother express sadness that her child was not properly potty trained by age two and so is living out a miserable, diaper-filled adult existence.
When it’s all said and done, what will matter is how you made your children feel and if you were there for them when they needed you. If only the world approached all learning matters in this way. Make yourself available, provide the necessary tools for learning and watch your children run with it. It will work and it will be worth it! I would now like to coin the phrase “untoileting”. That is all.