Thursday, July 26, 2007

The diaper cycle

For the first time today, Will agreed to forego his Cars pull-ups and just wear his underwear to school. On Tuesday he’d gone to the potty twice with his beloved teacher, Ms. Amber, and he was confident about doing it again. (As I mentioned in an earlier post, he’s been peeing on the potty at home for months, but absolutely refusing to go with his teachers at school.)
There is something almost magical about finally managing to graduate one kid from diapers (well, except for the one essential nighttime diaper) just as we are beginning the diaper cycle all over again with the wonderfully odorless mustard-colored poop of a breastfed infant. Still odorlessness is about all that’s wonderful about newborn poop, since it comes so frequently that I feel like I’m changing diapers every hour. There must have been some higher power looking out for me, saying, “This woman can’t handle two diapered kids. She just might go berserk.”

Actually it’s Rob’s dad, Will’s “Papa,” who says he deserves some credit for Will’s progress. I didn’t realize it, but while he was loading Will up on pecan waffles at the Waffle House and strolling him through the mall in the run-up to Owen’s birth, he was also having long discussions with Will about his new role as a big brother and about how big brothers poop on the potty.

When I told Will on Tuesday that I wouldn’t be able to take him potty at school anymore because Owen and I wouldn’t fit in the little bathroom with him, he didn’t seem at all disturbed. We talked about how excited Ms. Amber would be if he peed on the potty with her, and I caved in to the briber within me again, and promised him a few bites of fruit roll-up before his nap if he decided to take the plunge.

And the deal was sealed. Goodbye to those overpriced pull-ups, which are really no more than glorified diapers and did nothing to speed along potty training for us. (If you’re still in the throes of diaper training, try some sexy Elmo underwear as incentive for your style-conscious toddler, as well as some cotton training pants to make accidents and clean-ups less traumatic. We got some Luvable Friends training pants from An especially sturdy, tall foot stool that gives our short-statured Will a place to rest his feet while he poops helped with that portion of Will's potty training (little poopers experience more discomfort with dangling legs). We stole ours from his Aunt Alicia's laundry room after discovering how much more magical it was than our shorter wooden footstool at home.

If you have any potty training tips or stories, please share.


April said...

Annie - I am reading about your experiences potty-training Will with great interest. I realize now that I really don't know anything about potty-training. Lucy really trained herself. At two, she could pee and poo on the potty when it suited her and at 2 1/2 I just took away the diaper, offered some kind of treat if she always used the potty, and we never looked back. She never even wore one nighttime diaper after that and has never had an accident in bed. She had a couple of accidents after Jasper was born, but that resolved quickly.
Now that Jasper is almost two, it seems that we are on quite a different path with him. He is greatly interested in flushing the potty and in accompanying me and Lucy to the potty, and even in general discussions of pee and poop. He understands some basics - like keep your hands away from the diaper area until the poop has been cleared away. But so far, that's the end of it - he gets an incredibly blank and disinterested look if we ever mention him actually using the potty himself. I'm not sure if he just doesn't want to or if he really has no idea what I'm talking about. I can put him on there, clothed or not and he'll stay for a second, but never produce anything. So I'm at a bit of a loss... Someone recently said to Rob that once a child can walk down stairs, they are physically ready to potty train. And I would LOVE to stop creating more un-biodegradable garbage with the diapers. So I suppose I should start investigating. Any other tips? April



When it comes to boys and potty training, it seems like the best advice may be to have patience. I'd definitely play on Jasper's interests in pee, poop and toilet flushing, though. I have a friend who always tried to talk about what sort of animal her son's poop looked like whenever he went on the potty. We've done that with Will too.

And if you don't have a potty book try the Joanna Cole, My Big Boy Potty. Will was fascinated by the page that explained how the pee and poop goes into the pipes under the house (and this may play into Jasper's interest when it comes to toilet flushing). We used both a footstool and a little insert cushioned seat to go on the big potty and one of the little plastic potties that sits on the floor so that Will could decide which he wanted to use, and he has definitely used both (now we're exclusiviely into the big potty, by his choice).

We started potty training because Will wanted to buy and then wear some Elmo underwear that we spotted at Target (I did intentionally show him too him, but was surprised by how much they inspired him). So I just skipped pull-ups (which he just peed in like they're a diaper anyway) and dealt with the mess of accidents. And quickly ordered the cotton training pants. We used a little sticker calendar, and put tiny little Dollar Store stickers on every time he peed, which we'd then count at the end of the day. Still it took a good couple months before Will was really consistently peeing on the potty with no accidents. (This was before I read Alfie Kohn, who frowns on stickers and all other bribes for the potty. I pretty much agree with his anti-rewards-and-punishment philosophy but when it comes to potty training, I was so eager to stop producing all the diaper waste and figured any bribery would be short-lived.)

We tried some running around naked too, which has worked for one of my other mom friends with boys too.
We got all this started at about 28 or 29 months. I couldn't get Will interested at all when he was Jasper's age, and I didn't push it. I also remember looking at those web sites about "potty training in one day" a concept that seems so laughable with a kid like Will anyway. (They recommend using peeing dolls, which we never tried -- but Will did like taking some of his stuffed animals to pee and poop on his plastic potty so we did that some). For us it's been "potty training in six months." I'll wish you a little more speed on your adventure. Good luck!


April said...

Thank you, Annie. I'm going to start with getting the book you recommend. We already got some Thomas the Train underwear at Target yesterday. And we're off... I'll let you know how it goes... April