Wednesday, January 7, 2009

the joys of potty training

i bet you think i'm being sarcastic... not today-- it is amazing the high you can get when potty training is going well! today marks one week since we started focusing on potty training again- no diapers except naps and night... and we had NO accidents ALL day!!! and we even hosted a very rowdy playgroup for ~3 hrs. he peed twice in the potty amidst the craziness... and the icing on the cake was that he pooped in the potty this morning! ( he usually does it in his diaper before he lets me know he is awake). let me assure you-- i am not counting on perfection from here on out.. by any means! we will have days w/ many misses and he still needs to decide to sit on the potty when in the nursery etc. but hey, one great day is encouraging us that we are doing the right thing with elisha right now.

i know some may think we are nuts for trying to get our 19 month old, a boy none the less, to use the potty instead of diapers. i figured- even if it takes twice as long as it would if we started later... at least i only have one little one to focus on right now. i was getting frustrated the first few days-- mainly b/c you have to focus on every move your child makes so that you can be consistent... but then i started thinking about how this is a really special time for us to spend one on one before our little girl comes. we have spent A LOT of time together coloring (e's favorite thing to do), putting together puzzles, playing w/ trains, playing with the little people in his bus, and reading books while he sits on the potty.

i should probably give a little background to our progress. when elisha was very young I read somewhere about "elimination communication" (it's worth looking up on wikipedia--aka infant potty learning). it sounded crazy... and really cool-- the idea that babies have certain cries or squirms when they need to eliminate, and they would prefer to not do it on themselves and then sit in it-- makes sense... the idea that babies are "diaper trained" to ignore their elimination, but that they can be "cued" as they pee and poop over the toilet or a bowl and then they will start to wait and signal to you when they need to eliminate... just so cool. think about it- babyhood w/ out diapers-- it almost seems sacrilegious. well, from what i understood at the time it was an all or nothing kind of thing... and as e was already 4 months, we had missed the early window. Well, i stumbled upon some ec info later when elisha was about 10 months and i read "the baby whisperer's suggestion to potty train around 1 yr... it got me thinking again. it was warm outside, so i decided there was no harm in spending some time w/ e half naked outside w/ a little potty and see what came of it. i started reading more about ec and early potty training and realized that it could be done part-time... that a little 'potty/ elimination awareness" is better than none at all. instead of a 3 day thing i expect that elisha would learn about his elimination and the best thing to do with it gradually, just like he did crawling and walking and eating. believe it or not- it was a really fun summer! it was amazing to realize what e was capable of... i feel like i paid a lot more attention to him and what he was communicating about everything b/c of the attention i was giving to what he was communicating about eliminating-- by the middle of the summer he was doing the sign language for "potty" and then going in the potty some of the time... it was so amazing, and he was having fun with it too... you could just tell how pleased he was! then he went through some developmental stuff-- i think just deciding that he wanted to be in control of the process and enjoying his increasing language skills. he went through a "potty pause". every time i mentioned potty he said emphatically "no no no"... and we found out about my pregnancy and found our new house... and had construction on our home and did many projects to get it ready and on the market. you can imagine-- the little potty took the back burner. i offered it to e here and there, and sometimes he would see it and say,"tee tee"... and sometimes he would sit on it to "tee tee"... but it was just here and there... once or twice a day at the most.

but, b/c of our communication and use of the potty over the past 9 months this week has been so much easier... we weren't trying to start from scratch w/ a foreign concept... elisha has understood about pee and poop for a long time. he has connected the feeling of eliminating with what it produces... and don't believe what you read and about babies under 2 not having control of their sphincter muscles. elisha would hold it on purpose and then release when he wanted to when he was under a year old... our children just lose touch with that muscle b/c they can just let it trickle out here and there all day and not even feel the wetness.

so sorry to ramble and get on a soap box... there are all kinds of ways to potty train- i just thought i should share about what we have tried b/c it is not as mainstream, so not as many people know about it. at this point in my long post, if you are still reading i'll leave w/ a few resources for continued reading- in case this sounds as fascinating(and dare i say fun?) to you.
there is a book called "early start potty training" - i really enjoyed it... especially the part about the history of potty training in our country(did you know that in this country around 1900 the debate was whether to start the process at 3 or 4 months!). this book is a nice blend of ec with more (modern)traditional ways of doing things. "diaper free baby" is a basic handbook for ec.

1 comment:

The Barkers said...

As I have been quizzing my mother about everything baby related recently- we were discussing potty training the other day and she told me one of my brothers was potty-trained before the age of two- so as you say it is possible. Wouldn't it be nice for e to be potty trained before baby girl arrives? Glad you had a good day.