Monday, January 26, 2015

Potty Training for Lazy People

Newly potty trained R
I had a lot of angst about potty training. It's such a milestone in toddler life, and I had no idea how to go about it. I was also reluctant to embark on the whole process, because it seemed like so much work

All the potty training methods seemed to separate into two (unless you count elimination communication, which sounds like a ridiculous amount of work and demands a much closer attention to your child's pee and poop than was attractive to me). 

1. Dedicate several days solely to potty training, during which you cannot leave the house or do anything else. Your child will pee and poop on the floor multiple times, so you will spend a lot of this time cleaning up disgusting messes.

2. Do the slower method, which requires you to make your child sit for long periods on the potty trying to produce something. Since most toddlers hate sitting still, you usually get them to do this through bribery (stickers, candy, small toys have all been suggested). Again, the parent is highly involved in every step of the process.

The problem with both these methods is that both are parent-driven, meaning that the parent is the one making everything happen and expending all the effort. Philosophically I have no problem with this, but practically just thinking about having to come up with cute ways to reward peeing made me feel like going to bed.

In the end I invented my own "method" aka potty training for lazy people.

Haha, no diapers!
1. Introduce the concept of potty training to your kid. Buy them a potty and show them how to use it, buy a book about potty training and read it, let them watch you use the toilet, etc. This should be easy because children are naturally curious.

2. Wait until your child expresses interest in using the potty. When they use it, praise them (but no stickers etc). You are excited because they did something hard, not because they did something for you. They keep wearing diapers.

3. At some point your child will not want to wear diapers anymore. You let them get rid of the diapers, as long as they understand about using the potty. You buy them some cool underwear.

4. You are done.

Basically R trained herself. She woke up one day right around her third birthday and said she didn't want to wear diapers anymore because she was a "big girl". Since then, she has had very minimal accidents (and none of the bad kind, ie number two). The same thing happened for night training about a month later. The whole process was really painless because it was all her idea (which means we didn't have any power struggles about it).

I do still have to be involved to some degree, in helping her to wipe (especially at first), reminding her to wash her hands, and making her visit the toilet if logistical reasons make it necessary (like we are going to be somewhere with no toilet handy for an extended period of time: ie traveling). But compared to the more standard methods work was minimal.

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