Sunday, April 19, 2009

Flirting with the potty

Twice this week, Owen has announced, “I pee pee” from the changing table after I’d stripped him of his nighttime diaper and so I’ve whisked him off to his potty seat in the bathroom and left him for a moment, only to return and discover that he’s both pooped and peed on the potty.

The fact that there’s already a potty in our bathroom is Owen’s doing too. About a month ago, he became so desperate to pee like Will before bathtime that we brought down the plastic potty out of the attic. We never push Owen to sit on it, but we’ll ask him if needs to go potty before getting in the bathtub. A couple times he’s produced a pre-bath pee on the potty.

So we are flirting with potty training only because Owen’s leading us that way.

And I’ve learned that it’s bad to ignore a 21-month-old’s pottying instincts. Owen’s potty-using attempts this week began one evening after a bath. Owen said “I pee pee” as I was drying him off. I thought he’d spotted the toilet and was just playing with the concept, so I told him as soon as I dried him off a bit, he could go.

Seconds later he was peeing on his towel and me and the bathroom floor. Now when a bare naked Owen says “I pee pee,” I will heed the call immediately.

Still I think I’ll stick with a very low key approach to potty training until Owen’s at least 2. 21 months seems early, and with the boy in daycare a few mornings a week we can’t get much accomplished anyway.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though, to get out of diapers? I long ago gave up using cloth on Owen and I’d like to stop sending several diapers a day to the landfill.

If Owen still seems interested this summer, I may try several days of running around naked in the backyard or wearing heavy-duty training pants. I know from experience that this time I don’t want to bother with sticker charts or bribery, and I’m not spending a penny on pull-ups.

Fortunately Owen’s teacher for next year agrees that pull-ups are just glorified diapers and when a kid’s ready, they need some heavy duty cotton underpants to help them learn the value of staying dry. I don’t want to pressure, shame or bribe Owen into potty training too early, but once he seems ready I’m going to go at the thing armed with lots of laundry detergent and patience -- and a dozen or so super-absorbent cotton training pants.

In the end, Owen will probably wait to get himself fully potty trained until 3 or later. But a mother can dream…

Here is a potty training readiness checklist if you’re facing similar questions about when to get started with your own kids.

And if you’ve got experience in the matter please weigh in: Have you had any luck potty training boys (or girls) under 2 without using scare tactics or other psychologically questionable methods?


Grace said...

He's ready! Diapers are yucky to all involved. Give it a try.
Ask Teresa, Annie. Hers were both potty trained very early. And she had several no hassle methods.

Annie Addington said...

I'd love to think he's ready, although we've had no repeat potty feats since I posted this. I'll definitely call Teresa for her insights though.

Carol Wingard said...

My next to last comment. My pediatrician told me, "You can do the dolls and the bribes and the books and the stickers. Start at 2 and 1/2. It will take about 6 months. Or you can wait until he is 3, and one day, he will climb on the potty and start using it." With the boys, I did the first method. Took 6 months. With Caroline, I took the second method. Took one day. True story. From all I have read and observed, bodies are not physiologically ready before 3.

Last comment: Loved the Obama drawing and your mom's t-shirt :).