Thursday, September 10, 2009

Leisure potty training

Several months ago, Owen showed his first interest in using the potty. We brought Will’s old potty down from the attic and Owen used it sporadically when he was feeling magically inspired. Now, at 26 months, he’s a bit more regular about using the potty – probably deposits something in it one to three times a day, but I keep him in diapers rather than pouring money into pull-ups and I don’t harass him too much about going.

I learned from Will that in my family at least, sticker charts and other artifical rewards are sort of silly when it comes to potty training and in the end not very effective. I also learned that pull-ups get soiled just as often as diapers and don’t inspire potty use in my kids. So with Owen we’ve stuck with cheap diapers and real and logical rewards, and these seem to keep him semi-inspired. When Owen goes on the potty, every member of the household comes to witness the evidence (this fascinates Will so it’s no problem to draw him to the scene) and we commend Owen on his work as a big boy. Then, if Owen has gone number 2, he gets to use some toilet paper after I’ve wiped him first and throw it in the toilet. And then there's the joy of flushing the toilet and pumping his own hand soap while washing hands. As I’m putting on a diaper afterward I’ll point out that I don’t even have to use any wipes on him. (Owen hates being wiped after he’s fouled a diaper and is happy to enjoy a diaper change without wiping.) Who knew how naturally rewarded a two-year-old can feel by going potty?

Now it’s just a matter of deciding whether to start hounding Owen more frequently with “Do you need to go potty?” inquiries or even breaking out some thick cotton training pants if he’s interested. Since he’s still pretty young, it may be best to just stick with our low-key approach that’s at least cutting down a little bit on our diaper consumption. I’m wary of killing the joy of going potty.

Any ideas for love-and-logic approaches to potty training that might speed the process up for us without derailing it in the long run?


shannon said...

I came looking for diaper talk and I got it- yay! Crazy how I can whittle away an hour researching cloth diapering. . . .
For both my children, when they showed interest (and it was around age 2), I just pretty much cold turkey did the underwear thing. I never reacted if they had an accident and just put clean underwear on. It helped with my girl if I let her choose which underwear. My boy wanted to go underwearless most of the time and it happened to be summer when he was training so it worked out just fine.
Good luck to little (I mean, BIg Boy) Owen!

Annie Addington said...

When we're home I think I will offer underwear to Owen as an option more often. I asked him if he wanted to wear some the other day (the heavy cotton training pants variety) but also mentioned that he would need to remember to go on the potty since pee leaks out of underwear, and he decided to stick with his diaper. Maybe I shouldn't even mention trying to make it to the potty??

shannon said...

I like Terry Brazleton and he recommends emphasizing the "on the potty like me" (or like Daddy or like Owen) part. So when you go just say look at Mommy- you do this, too, etc.

My kids just hate for me to tell them or remind them to do things, esp. at age 2 because they want to be in charge so maybe just remind him first thing, "okay, Big Boy, you're in charge today so if you have to go potty, you know where it is. If you need my help, call me." I've not seen the ask-the-kid-a-million-times if they have to go thing work; it just drives the kid crazy!

I just remembered we also had the potty doll that had his own potty. You can feed him a bottle and then he goes in the potty. I always said they could feed him only when it was time for them to use the potty. . . they loved little "Tito" (that's what Nora named him. He was even anatomically correct (sort of, in a plastic way).

shannon said...

oh, I meant like Daddy or Will--