once upon a potty

Indulge me for a moment in the on-going tale of Daniel's potty training. I really don't want this blog to turn into one of those "let me tell you about every mundane detail of my life with kids at home blah blah blah poop blah blah blah playdate blah blah blah adorable things my kid does" parenting blogs because, well, it's just not what I want to do. But the potty is a really big deal in our house right now, so that's what I'm writing about today.

Around the time Anya was born, a couple months before he turned 2, Daniel started getting excited watching us use the bathroom (we don't stand on privacy here, apparently). He also amused himself greatly by peeing in the bathtub as the water filled up. He would position himself right over the drain, or over a bunch of suds (when we let him use dish soap as "bubble bath"), or in one of the plastic cups that serves as a bath toy. Once he asked to sit on the toilet. At that point, we figured awareness of his bodily functions was a sign he was ready to start potty training, or at least "potty education," as some are calling it now, so we bought him a potty. For a couple weeks, he dragged the potty everywhere to sit on it. The bathroom, the hallway, in front of the couch, the kitchen...and we allowed him to do this (except when he wanted to lift it into his crib) because every once in a while, he would actually pee in it.

Since then, of course, the newness of the potty has worn off. Some weeks he used it a lot, some weeks he never used it. Some days he'd sit on it five different times and nothing happened, and some days he'd use it successfully three or four times without wetting his diaper first. We've let all this take its natural course; our doctor says boys usually don't potty train until they're 3 years old, and since there has been so little consistency, it hasn't seemed that Daniel is truly ready.

Lately, though, Daniel has been telling us pretty often when he pees in his diaper, has asked for diaper changes, and has been using the potty more. In fact, he's already graduated from sitting on the little potty to climbing on top of the big toilet with his feet on either side of the seat to pee in it. Mind you, he insists upon climbing up all by himself, and won't even hold your hand for balance. And every time, he assures me he won't fall in, but I still stand right there next to him just in case. His aim is questionable, yes, but nearly every time he wants to use the toilet, he gets results, so we're willing to let him choose his method and wipe up the stray tinkle afterwards. Occasionally, we'll let him run around the house wearing nothing from the waist down, and he has yet to pee on the floor, though that could just be our good luck holding out.

I'm wondering if we're ready for the next step. Not transitioning to underwear instead of diapers. Oh, no. We're a long way from that. But there's this whole system of rewards and prizes for using the potty - getting a sticker or gold star for every successful trip to the potty and after 10 or 20 or 30 stickers he gets a new little fire truck or train car or something. I am SO not above bribery, by the way.

Obviously, I don't want to force the potty issue, and the rewards system might be a bit premature. He never asks to use the bathroom when we're not at home, or even when he's playing outside in the yard - too distracted, I guess. He never poops* in the potty. He woke up with a dry diaper one morning a couple weeks ago, but that was the one and only time it's ever happened. Sometimes when I say "Daniel, you've had a lot of juice to drink. Let's go to the bathroom," he says "Nope" and I leave it at that.

But let me tell you how ready I am to be changing diapers on just one kid instead of two. We use cloth diapers and wash them ourselves. When it was just Daniel, I washed every 3 days. If you do the math, that means that I am washing a full load of diapers every day, roughly every 36 hours, and even then I still have to use disposables on a fairly regular basis to get through the gaps. (And in case you're wondering why we don't just buy more cloth diapers, we don't because there is a limit to how many you can wash in a load and actually get clean. If you try to fill the machine too full of soaking and dirty diapers, they just won't get clean enough, even with several wash cycles.) My hands are completely chapped from washing them after so many diaper changes. Well, that and baking bread every couple days and washing dishes by hand because we don't have a dish washer, but still. The constant diaper changes aren't helping.

I'm not really asking for advice here. I hate being bombarded with unsolicited advice...like the other day at a yard sale (where we scored the ever-popular Once Upon A Potty for 75 cents!) and this woman saw what I was buying and told me all about how she had her children on a toilet schedule when they were a mere twelve months old. I think we're on the right track. Encouragement is good. Letting nature take its course is good. Trying to force it is bad. Letting it turn into a power struggle is really bad. Patience, I suppose, will have its reward.

Speaking of milestones, look who can sit up almost by herself!

(Like how I sneaked that picture in, huh?)

*Call it what it is. We say "pee" and "poop" in this house. I can't stand the "Wee-Wee" and "boom-boom" or "poo-poo" that so many people use. And "BM" just makes me snicker.


Pam said…
What a sweetie!! Love the pic! :-)
Tooz said…
I know you don't want advice, but having Daniel sit facing the toilet rather than the bathroom will help the "aim". Other than that, I have no advice at all, so I'm out of here--but I do love that picture of little Anya!
Animal said…
"Boom-boom"?!? That's just CORNY!

I like your take on the whole training issue; we obviously have yet to start any of this, but it's good to read about folks just ahead of us.
Suze said…
animal, the good news for both of us is that girls typically train around age 2 (as oppose to age 3 for boys)!

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