Thursday, March 24, 2011

Potty Training

Warning: Potty language ahead. Literally.

We've started the wonderful journey of potty training. And by wonderful, I mean scary and gross.

The first thing I did was research books and articles. Hey, it's what I do. The book I chose to be my potty-training bible is Stress-Free Potty Training by Sara Au and Peter L. Stavinoha. One, because "stress-free" is in the title, and two, because it boasted to tailor potty-training to a child's unique personality.

In the beginning of the book, you and your partner separately take a personality assessment of your toddler. Fun! The different personality categories are: The Goal-Directed Child, the Internalizer, the Impulsive Child, the Sensory-Oriented Child, and the Strong-Willed Child.

I started rating behaviors from always to never. I noticed myself semi-trying to push the results to what I wanted: The Goal-Directed Child. That seemed to be the best one. But as I went over the Impulsive Child questions, I couldn't deny it. Each one was always. Always. Almost always. Always. I was a little freaked out, but relieved that other child also exhibit these crazy behaviors. After we were done, we looked at each others' results, and they were nearly identical. Impulsive Child.

Okay. Embrace the label. Impulsivity has it's pros: energetic, willing to try new things, outgoing, adventurous. These are good things. Most of the time. Granted, sometimes I wish she'd just sit and play with one thing for five seconds and let me veg out without worrying that she's about to do something dangerous with it. But it's good.

So after this little revelation, we read on (I read on. Ryan listened to my summary.) and started to plan on implementing The Plan.

Ikea potty
We bought four little Ikea potties. My sister, Sarah, was unimpressed and bought some cushy pinky princessy one for Grandma's house. Whatever.   We also bought a Dora toilet ring, since potty chairs are outlawed at daycare. Sarah had a good point about children learning to potty in different types of toilets. It's good to encourage flexibility in all situations.

Norah loved her little potty and would sit on it with her clothes on and giggle: "I potty!" This was good.

Then we implemented phase one: Announce you are going to the potty. Invite child in to observe. Awkward? For us, yes. I'm an uptight WASPy kind of person. But we're doing it. One thing that is a challenge for the Impulsive Child is remembering to take time to notice bodily sensations, so by reminding her that sometimes you need to stop what you're doing to pee or whatever is a good thing.

Now we're in phase two: regularly sitting on the potty at key times. These times are right away in the morning, after nap, and before bed. Of course, if she says she has to potty in between, we rush in there and let her go. Sometimes she sits with her pants on, sometimes off. She has successfully gone in the potty a number of times. She number twoed on the big potty, which was nice, because I am dreading having to clean out that little Ikea potty. Ew.

She still has wet diapers, so we're a long way off, but it's a pretty good start.

On the dark side of potty training, Norah has learned that "I go potty!" is an out for everything. She doesn't want to get dressed? "I go potty!" Bedtime? "I go potty!" In these situations, I'm 90% sure she is bluffing-- just looking for an excuse to stall something she doesn't enjoy doing. But you never know. I don't want to squash her potty training by not allowing her to go. But I don't want to send the message that by declaring her need to pee, she doesn't have to do something. I try to judge the situation, but then she gets desperate.

"It's nigh-night time, Baby."
"No! I go potty!"
"We just sat on the potty a little while ago."
"It's bedtime."
"Norah. Do you really have to go potty?"
"YES! Widdle [little] poops." She makes a gesture with her thumb and pointer finger, indicating small.
"Do you have to go poop?"
"Tiny poops." More gesturing.
Sigh. "Okay. Let's go sit on the potty."
"YAY!" she laughs and runs toward the bathroom, smugly.
"Sit on the potty."
"No! I brush my teef [teeth]!"
Dammit. Fooled again. 

I haven't even read phase three yet. Maybe that's the part about being stress-free.


  1. lol priceless : ) They really are convincing and you don’t want to risk saying no if they are being honest--cute story and looking forward to phrase three is indeed the stress free part ;)


  2. I have a feeling that stress-free is a myth!

    Thanks for reading!