Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is it time?

The potty training discussion has been going on at our house for awhile now. While we were (and still are) fully prepared to wait until Newbie2 is born and our house has settled a little--probably by the time Caleb is 2 1/2--Caleb himself is showing signs of readiness. As a matter of fact, he only lacks 2 of the "readiness signs" on this checklist. He can't pull his pants down on his own, and he doesn't seem to be able to recognize a need to pee yet, though he does know when he needs to poop.

Our potty seat is Baby Bjorn, and I would highly recommend it. It's very stable and easy to take on and off the toilet. Caleb can take it off himself, and he even tries to put it on himself, so I know he'll catch on to it pretty soon. That will be handy when he's using the potty consistently. The toilet won't always scream "toddler!" when you walk in the guest bath.

In general, Caleb is compliant about toilet training. Yet he can be fickle about it. Yesterday he had an all-out crying/screaming fit because I asked him if he wanted to go potty. After I got him calmed down, I explained that he had to choose: go to the potty or put on a diaper (he was wearing training pants at the time). He whimpered, "Diaper...." So that was that. Off went the big boy pants, and back into the diapers. I thought it was interesting that he was able to make a choice like that, though. It shows he has more understanding of things than I thought.

Speaking of training pants, I have two problems with them. One, they're expensive. Gerber has three pairs for $15, and from what I understand, we could potentially go through more than three pairs in one day, and there's still the next day, and the next, etc. Also, unless potty-training takes an inordinate amount of time, it seems that most concerted efforts take less than a week or so--certainly less than a month. So I'm spending $5 per pair of training pants that will only get used for a month. Second, training pants don't come in Caleb's size. He's almost 18 months, but without a cloth diaper, he's got the heiney of a 12-month-old. Gerber's sizing chart shows that they offer an 18-month size, though I've never found them on the shelves.

So, I rigged something up. I bought a 5-pack of 24mo boys underwear for $7. I stuff one with a newborn insert from my cloth diapers, and then roll the top elastic over a couple of times to get a better fit. It works pretty well, but it is kind of bunchy and probably not as comfortable as the pre-made kind. I guess I could whip stitch the inserts in and take them out later. But for now, this works. If/when Caleb has accidents, it gets his underwear all wet, but doesn't just drip down everywhere.

Speaking of, though, I've read and heard from other mothers that sometimes that's what it takes. No training pants or pull-ups, just normal underwear. A few experiences with that will remind a child that he really wants to go to the potty instead of stay in that mess. So maybe I'll have to take out the diaper inserts and see what happens.

So far we've done this all very casually. I use the training pants only after Caleb has successfully used the toilet--mostly because that's when I know for sure that it will be awhile before he has to use the bathroom again. And while Caleb's used the toilet successfully several times, it's certainly not consistent. Our biggest inconsistency is Caleb's willingness to sit on the potty, though once he's there he's fine. He really enjoys looking at books while he's sitting, so that's a good enticement for him. He's also brought his blanket and puppy along, and anything else that he's interested in at the moment.

I'm kind of thinking that if I took a week of concentrated effort, Caleb would be potty-trained. And if it doesn't work, we could wait another month and try again. And if that doesn't work, we can wait until after Newbie2 is born. Anyone have thoughts on this? Suggestions about potty training?


  1. My suggestion is give it a good four or five days of stay at home, all-out potty boot camp. You should see pretty quickly if he's making strides in the right direction. If he's not making progress then you can back off and try again later. If it clicks then, awesome!

    I was SO dreading potty training so we didn't start with B until past 2.5...and did the straight to underwear route. We made a big honkin' deal out of wearing "big boy pants" and let him drink as much of whatever he wanted the first day (Gatorade, sprite, juice) so he was peeing a ton and got lots of practice real quick. (Lots of accidents too, of course!) Since it's warm, you can let Caleb run around outside nekkid or in underwear for a few days...less clean up for you!

    Just my two cents...everyone does things differently and everyone end up potty trained one way or another!

    Good luck!

  2. P.S. Bennett loved the (very old) potty training book by Mr. Rogers that we found at the library. The pictures are laughably dated, but the text is comforting, informative and sweet. (Just like Mr. R himself.). We also read "My Big Boy Potty" by Joanna Cole about 1,000 times those fist couple weeks....it's a good one too.


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