My husband and I have taken a very laissez faire approach to the issue of potty training. We haven’t read books, and my only research has consisted of scrolling through posts in my moms group, recalling conversations with my sisters-in-law about my nieces and nephew and listening to my mom talk about how we mostly trained ourselves around age three.
Part of our apathy toward potty training has been about timing and ability – mostly our issues and not his. We had a baby this summer, which made our baby count two under two. I wasn’t going to attempt training a newly verbal toddler while I was hugely pregnant just to have him regress when his brother arrived. Then there are all of the other reasons we haven’t done it, like: the studies that show early potty training can lead to other problems like constipation; that it’s better to wait until there are signs of readiness to make it easier; or it’s important for kids to have physiological control over their evacuations; and they have to be able to get their own pants up and down. I follow Janet Lansbury on Facebook, and have read why not to do adult-led toilet training.
All of these reasons aside, I’m scared of potty training. I don’t know how it will go, I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t want to traumatize my kid, and I don’t want to clean up random poops around the house.
But we have a toddler that tells us when he’s peed in his diaper. He has a tell when he’s pooping – he will look at us and say, “it’s okay, nothing happened” or sometimes “esta bien, no pasa nada.” When he finishes, he will tell us “tiene poo poo.” They are man-sized poops. He doesn’t like getting his diaper changed and has started complaining about the wipes.
Which brings us to today – we’ve decided that we’re going to take the pants off and see what happens.
Potty Training by the Seat of our No-Pants
This feels like a hike we took in Santa Fe. It was 65 and sunny at the house where we were staying, so we left for the hike in shorts and a t-shirt. Hours later we found ourselves in a snow-covered 30 degree cloudy mess 2,000 feet up from where we started, but still had only shorts and t-shirts. I have no idea if we’re prepared for potty training.
My husband thinks he is ready, and has taken time off work next week so we can do this together. I’m still deciding what my fail point is, or what it would have to look like for me to bag this attempt and wait a few more months. Right now I’m thinking my red line is constipation. I’m not willing to create a longer-term issue if it can be avoided.
If we decide to wait until he’s totally ready and able to self-train, like the RIE toilet learning method – that could be anytime between now and 3+ – it throws school into question. The little man meets the age cut-off for Pre-k3, but he will have to be potty trained for most if not all of the schools we’re trying to lotto into. I understand and like the idea of waiting until he’s a bit older, but financially, we need to send him to school and reduce our childcare expenses.
It sucks to make decisions for my child that are based on finances. Really, I would like this part of his development to follow along what it should be, or what I envision it should be – a naturally occurring milestone based on his own social, emotional, cognitive, and physiological growth. Instead it’s based on our desire to have one child out of diapers and maybe one day wiping his own butt, so that said child can go to school and reduce our expenses by over $10,000.
When we sleep trained the same little man, I had to remember that he was learning a skill, to fall asleep on his own, that would empower him and make him more able to soothe himself. While it sucked for us to hear him cry, we were teaching him he didn’t have to rely on another person to comfort him, and that while he would still receive comfort from us, he could also comfort himself. I am trying to remember the same about potty training. He is a smart, capable tiny person and he will gain independence and confidence when he masters the potty, whether it is in the next few or sometime later.