The inevitable potty training post

1 Oct

After all, this is pretty much a Mommyblog, and I am the mom of a toddler.  It’s practically a requirement.

So, once upon a time, we thought about potty training.  I don’t think Jade was much older than a year when I bought a potty for her, one that could be used on its own, or for which the seat can be removed and placed on the toilet, while the rest of it acts as a step-stool.  Nifty.  We weren’t ready to really start training then, but every once in a while Jade would sit on it and read.  Once in a blue moon, she happened to tinkle in it.

Last winter, around the time Jade turned two, Michael was ready to go for it and start the serious training.  I was all, well, go ahead, but I sure don’t feel like starting right now.  Half the time she’s in a snowsuit, and I don’t want to be washing snowsuits.  And switching back and forth between diaper and no diaper just seemed so counter-productive at that stage.  And another local blogger linked to a post she made about potty training and everything she wrote made sense to me and, hey, she’s mom to four kids, so why go against the two and a half edict?  And Jade’s vocabulary wasn’t at a point where I thought she could really, truly understand what we were doing.  Anyway, the whole point is, I wasn’t ready for potty training.

Then summer came.  It wasn’t much of a summer, but at least no snowsuits were at peril.  So we bought a pile of little-girl panties and set about with the training.  Things were okay for a while.  At first, she really didn’t want to spend any time on the potty, so I tried bribing her with M&Ms, but that just resulted in tears when she asked for them and I wouldn’t give her any unless she at least sat on the potty, so we just stopped that whole nonsense.  Most days were still diaper days, but we spent some days focussing on potty training and she starting to enjoy reading on the potty again.

Then the seizures started.

Between the stress and worry of trying to control Jade’s epilepsy and the energy it took just being pregnant, I really didn’t have the energy for potty training.  And then we observed that some of Jade’s seizures caused a loss of bladder control.  And sometimes even bowel control.  And I had even less energy for potty training.  So diapers it was.

The seizures got better, so we started the training again.  Jade loved being in panties, and she occasionally peed in the potty, but she seemed to prefer going standing up.  She could go all morning long without peeing at all, so wow, bladder control.  But didn’t seem to “get” that she could tell herself to go when she was on the potty.  She loved telling me she had to pee when we were outside, so we get everything off and then she’d squat (with me helping her) and then she’d announce she was done without actually doing anything.  Sometimes we’d put her on the potty and she wouldn’t go, but she’d go three minutes later somewhere not on the potty.  Sometimes she waited until she had a diaper on, like at nap time, and then she’d go.  (Maybe not on purpose, maybe after she fell asleep.)  Anyway, this was all the usual potty training stuff, I figured.

We wanted to go whole hog and just get rid of diapers during the day, but Jade’s daycare worker wanted her in pull-ups because three other kids in the group are also training and she felt overwhelmed.  I went and got some cloth training pants as a compromise.

And then the seizures went all crazy again a couple of weeks ago.  So back to diapers we went again.

Well, I think the seizures have calmed down again for now, so now what?  Should we start potty training yet again?  I just don’t know what the best plan is.

Some people would describe Jade’s peeing almost everywhere but the potty as a sign that she’s “not ready”.  I think that we could wait until she fully understands how to go on command (her own, I mean) and then potty training would go quickly.  Or we can be fairly intensive with her and it will take more time to train, but she’ll likely be trained earlier than if we wait until she all the signs of “ready” under the sun.   But I don’t like having one practice at home and a different one at the daycare, so that part frustrates me.  We’ve applied to have a worker who can be with her one-on-one at the daycare for her safety (thanks to Yukon Health and the Child Development Centre for that program!); maybe that person would be willing to do the panties-all-day thing with her.  But I don’t really know when that worker will materialize.  And are we going to start potty training again, only to have the seizures set us back once again?  Should we really let that “maybe” stop us?  What about the fact that Nugget will be in diapers?  Will she decide she wants them again, too?  Should we really let that “maybe” stop us?

Some arguments for potty training… We stopped using cloth diapers early in the spring because Jade had pretty much outgrown the ones we had and we figured the potty training would start soon, anyway.  Damn, it’s expensive to be buying disposables all the time.  Not to mention the garbage.  And Jade likes being in panties (although sometimes she asks for the disposable pull-ups — I think she likes the animals on them).  And I think Michael is actually just a wee bit ashamed to have a non potty-trained kid, when a number of her peers from our prenatal group are.  (Even though plenty of kids don’t get potty-trained until well into their third year these days… I never thought I’d have one of them, though.  What is it about potty training that makes us so opinionated and judgmental?)

Arguments against potty training… Not potty training means basically “doing nothing”.   And we all know that doing nothing is just easier.

*sigh*  Any thoughts, kids?

14 Responses to “The inevitable potty training post”

  1. Janet October 1, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    Well, for what it’s worth, this was my experience:

    I’m not sure if it was because I was more relaxed with our youngest, or because I was so busy with three little ones that potty training just didn’t make it to my ‘to do’ list, but we did nothing about potty training until our youngest was three. Then, overnight, we gave up on diapers and he didn’t have one accident.

    With everything else going on in your lives, my suggestion is to be gentle with yourselves and not worry too much about potty training right now. Of course when your new baby comes along it may become an issue for you if you don’t want to wash two sets of diapers, but my guess is that Jade will train herself before too many months go by. There may still be some accidents because of her seizures, but I bet they will become fewer the older she gets, and the better handle you get on the cause of the seizures.

  2. Captain Momma October 1, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    So frustrating, I hear you!

    Baby Blues finally got potty trained when he was just over two years. Why, I don’t know. We went through all you said. But then the others at the dayhome were training too and it turned out he leanrt basically overnight. Yes, we still went through a lot of undies at the beginning and we had him in pullups for naps and nightime. But once he started waking up with them being dry, we gave those up. We take him to the potty 2x before we go to bed and after he has been in bed and that keeps him dry through the night.

    Sometimes he gets playing so hard and he forgets and pees in his pants but it gets less and less. I don’t think it will be an overnight change. I think you have to go through some set backs, etc. I can understand the seizure thing but I don’t think it should stop you from trying.

    Just buy the big mattress protectors from Sears to keep the mattress safe! Highly recommend that!

    “Driving out” from Yellowknife used to be so hard with no bathrooms but we’d stop once an hour and make him go and it kept the carseat dry so we could get to Edmonton. Although he still sometimes went in his sleep in the carseat, but its all washable! Just remember that! Habits have to be learned and it takes time but a good consistency helps, even when it looks like it isn’t working, hang in there and you’ll probably start to see results!

    Good luck, its never easy and it can’t be easy with the baby and feeling so tired either. I do feel for you!

    Enough from me!!!


  3. Kara October 1, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    Well just ignore those judgmental folks out there and do what works best for your family!

    And i have my fingers crossed that you get the one on one worker for Jade at the daycare quickly!! That would be excellent!

  4. Jenny October 1, 2008 at 1:36 pm #

    my son was perfectly healthy and extremely bright and still didn’t get potty trained until he was just over 3. Naomi is 2 and 7 months now and I put her on the potty before a bath and if I notice she’s been dry quite a while. Lots of times she’ll go. But she has lots of delays (speech and cognitive) and wouldn’t even know to tell me. She seems to know when she’s going. She’ll sit on the couch in a diaper and cup her hands between her legs like she’s trying to catch it and she will pee on the potty if she has to go while she’s on it. She’s starting to hide and poop. So she knows what’s going on there. We had a neighbor who didn’t mean to but shamed her daughter into holding her poop. She called it “a stinky” and the little girl didn’t want to “stinky” so she held it. It’ll come, I figure as long as she’s potty trained before kindergarten we’re fine, after that, diapers are coming out of her allowance!!! HA!

  5. Jenn October 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm #

    M&M’s worked great for for our oldest , only because he would steal from the jar while we were potty training the second one! Treats and bribery aside, I feel that kiddos are such people pleasers at that age that they do want to, and will do it when they are ready.

  6. Mamasphere October 1, 2008 at 8:33 pm #

    I would say WAIT!!! If she’s having that many accidents, then save all of you the stress of puddles and wait until she’s more ameniable.

    BUT, with the new baby coming, it might be best to try again, just to see how it goes. Some kids regress a bit when a new baby arrives, and potty training has to get put off for quite some time, until everything settles down.

  7. Asheya October 1, 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    I say hold off on the training. New baby probably will make Jade want diapers, and there’s no point dealing with the frustration of regression. And honestly, changing two sets of diapers is probably less stressful than trying to cajole her to use the potty and cleaning up her messes outside of a diaper.

    There are some larger toddler cloth diapers out there too (I can look into it for you if you want) if you want to get away from the disposables. The good thing is that she will need a lot fewer cloth diapers than a newborn!

    This is just what I think would make life less stressful for all of you (new baby included).

  8. Suzanne October 2, 2008 at 3:08 am #

    if she’s not ready (and neither are you) it’s just going to be stressful. If you want to stop using the disposables, you can get fairly cheap cloth diapers from Sears (Kushies). It will cost you about $100 to get 10 – 15 — that’s about a months worth of disposables?

    I have a friend who’s daughter was trained by about 28 months and another who was trained just in time for her 4th birthday. There’s nothing to be embarassed about.

    (And it makes it a bit easier when you’ve got two in cloth diapers because you can wash them all together.)

  9. Malva October 2, 2008 at 4:40 am #

    I’d wait until next spring if I were you. You’ll be home full time and won’t have to worry about snow suits.

  10. shannon maccuaig October 2, 2008 at 8:17 am #

    my mom has been bugging me to put maggie on a potty since i brought her home. my caregiver friends and moms insist that 2.5 to 2.75 is the magical age where you put in the right amount of effort and they take to it. otherwise you could find yourself in potty training hell for a year if your kid has a hard time getting it. i feel the same way as you about the snowsuit, etc. and so i plan to start with maggie next spring/summer when she’s 2.5. i don’t have any problem with that, except that i have a natural tendency toward competition and so it will probably bother me to see other kids trained. however, i’ve been working for years on quashing/ignoring my competitive nature because it always causes me grief, to say the least! regarding your situation, i would STALL FOR AS LONG AS YOU WANT! why? if i had half as much on my plate as you have, i’d stall. with nugget on the way and jade’s health issues and potentially starting her on a difficult diet, just keep things simple for ALL of you and eventually you will discover the right time to really go at it!!! which will probably not be until at least nugget has made a grand entrance and you’re settling into life at home again!!! 🙂

  11. rebecca October 3, 2008 at 7:40 am #

    I vote for wait, too. Wait until everything has settled down, and perhaps until you can do something about the pull-ups in daycare. The pull-ups in daycare really work against you.

  12. Jamie October 3, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    I vote do nothing. Potty training is a developmental thing, the only thing pushing it will do is cause more stress and pressure on everyone, and Lord knows you three have enough stress and pressure.
    Have you read “A Girlfriends Guide to Toddlers”? If not I recommend it. There is very little sage advise, no no-fail methods for anything, just another woman’s expirience with her toddlers. For me it helped me to see that Caity was just like other children, even though at times I felt like pulling out my hair. Anyways, one thing she mentioned in there is that with her first two kids she pushed and worked at potty training, then with her second she didn’t have time for intensive training (too busy with 4 kids), but they all were potty trained at the same time. The difference is that with the first two it was a long, frustrating process, and with the second two it was child-driven.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!


  13. Dubeau October 4, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    We just had the potty in the living room for what seemed like forever and the kids ran barebottom most of the time. We have hardwood floors so clean up was real easy. Sophie was over 2 when she finally gave up pampers and Felix was potty trained before he was 2 (mind you, we needed him to because the daycare would not accept children that weren’t and we did not have another sitter).

    This is one of those discussions that will get mixed reactions from everyone. Take the sleeping with the parents issue… For some, the kids have their own bed, they sleep in it, whereas others welcome their kids in the middle of the night. We have been guilty of the former, not because we are not strict and don’t enjoy our own time, but because, plain and simple, at 3 am, do you really want to listen to your child crying and getting up and returning this child to bed, and so on (we all know how this can drag on)… We prefer our sleep… They don’t join us every night anymore and will eventually stop altogether, although I think I will be more torn up about it as this will mean that they are growing up (I know, they are 7 & 8 1/2 now, but still are my babies).

    The important thing is, this is what worked/s for US. The potty training and method used worked for US. It will all work out in the long run, but you need to make sure it works for YOU or else you will not be happy….

    Chin up and smile, potty training is just a little little thing in her life, eventually you may have to deal with her desires to get tattoos and/or piercings!! 🙂 Save your energy for that!! 🙂

  14. Bubblybunny October 7, 2008 at 7:49 am #

    Thanks for your comments on cloth diapers. Knowing you used them with Jade gave me a little boost of confidence.

    I’m starting the cloth diapers today. 🙂 I’ve gone through most of the diapers and found inserts for them all. It’s a bit confusing to have so many different kinds in one basket. In some ways, I’m excited to start them b/c the diapers are just sooo cute!! But once again, I’m worried about dealing with gross stinky poop. 😛

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