Friday, July 22, 2011


Potty training has been the topic in one of my mommy groups for the past few days. It's something Nick & I have been talking about for a little bit - about how nice it would be to be done with diapers, saving money, saving space in the landfill, giving our little boy confidence.... we've also been talking about that we aren't sure he's ready. I've been reading on that the keys to deciding when to potty train are to see if your child shows interest in the bathroom (which he does) and a desire to be clean (meaning not liking to sit in his own waste). Unfortunately, Ben doesn't seem to mind to hang out in a dirty dipe. I think he'd go all day in just one if I'd let him.

That being said, I went ahead and researched good potty chairs and picked up the one I liked from Target the other day before Little Gym. I showed it to Ben in the store, had him sit on it to make sure he could sit down and stand up from it easily and that was about it. I put it in the bathroom and we didn't do anything with it. At that point, I was figuring on just having it in the house so he could get used to seeing it and could sit on it if he wanted to check it out.

Then one of the mom's in my mommy group posted a book event at Hyde Park from a Seattle area author that advocates potty trained by two. As Ben is on the fast downward slope to two, I thought I would research into her method. Boy, were my eyes opened. Apparently I'm really ignorant about potty training. I assumed the way to go was to just show him the bathroom and try to convince him to use it when I thought he might have to go (this is not the way I would have just blindly gone in to it - I would have you know, made an educated game plan first).

This woman (the author is Angela Graham and her book is literally titled Potty Trained By Two) uses an Elimination Communication approach where your child goes diaper free, all the time. Apparently this method can be used on children as little as 3 months old. This is really all on the parent to pay attention to subtle queues the child gives when they need to use the bathroom and getting them to the proper place to go on time.

Another method I've been researching is diaper training in 3 days or less, which is basically the same method, but geared towards slightly older children (under 28 months). Your kid goes pants free for three solid days (a diaper can be used for sleep) and it's an intense, immersion type situation. After those initial 3 days, your child will remain diaper free (and preferred pants-less) for the next 3 months. Even when you go out, pants are allowed but bare underneath is preferred.

I read further that the United States is the country with the oldest potty trained children. Most other countries children are potty trained by 18 months. It simply isn't practical to use diapers in some places. I read that the viewpoint came out in the 50's that we needed to allow our children dictate to use potty training readiness as it was better for them psychologically. Around this time, disposable diapers were mainstreamed and that's when the trend of potty training later started to emerge.

So this is where I'm torn. Do I wait until Ben shows signs of readiness? Will I have to wait until he's nearly 3 before he's potty trained? Should I take the more European approach and just get it done now? This is a case where I'd dearly love to pick my mother's brain, but I can't ask her. So instead, I turn to you, faithful reader. :) What sorts of potty training tricks do you have? What method did you use? What worked? What didn't?

I should add that this evening before we put Ben in his bath, I sat him on the potty and asked if he had to go. He actually did go (and then promptly stuck his hands in it to play - ewwwwww) and I'm sure it was a timing situation, rather than him being a genius and ready to pee.

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