I thought I’d give you all a little potty-training update.
From the time I learned of the “Diaper Free Baby” concept, I longed to have Michael out of diapers as soon as possible. I see diapers as a convenience item for parents and not beneficial for babies. Even though I wanted him out of them, I just couldn’t let go of the “backup” diaper, that we used about 50% of the time (during the day). I just kept thinking his diaper free days would be just around the corner. Well, I just got tired of waiting (he’s almost two!). Two Fridays ago, I decided we were doing away with the diapers. June 10th was his last day as a diaper-clad toddler.
Honestly, it kind of bothered me that Michael was nearing his second birthday still wearing diapers. I knew everything was really fine, but I felt like I had been holding him back somehow, and it bugged me that we had been doing EC almost from birth, and he hadn’t graduated yet. I really felt like I was doing something wrong, and that something wrong was using diapers.
Not that using diapers is really bad, I just felt like it was holding him back. I had wanted to do some things about six months ago to help encourage him to use the potty independently, as he was sporatically doing it anyway, but it was winter, so he needed to be warm, and he couldn’t pull down his pants yet. Some split or open crotch pants would have been great (or even some more leg warmers…we only have three pair), but I didn’t want to spend much money and I never got around to sewing some. Suddenly six months had passed and we had gotten nowhere. In fact, he seemed to be regressing. He wasn’t telling us at all when he needed to go, didn’t seem to care if he was wet, and almost never went on his own anymore. I started diapering him almost full-time because I figured he needed a break, but it only made him less interested in using the potty.
Finally, after a discussion on this blog, I decided to just go for it (at first I was going to wait for his teeth to come through, but got tired of waiting, and then I just went for it). I wasn’t sure how to start, and we got off to a rough beginning. I let him pick out some underwear, and he picked some Sesame Street ones. He was excited about wearing them, but had a lot of misses and didn’t seem to care about being wet. He was refusing to use the potty whenever I offered, and would then wet himself. I felt I had waited too long and now he was no longer sensitive to being wet and he was in this new “contrarian” stage where he had to do the opposite of what I wanted him to do. Going potty had to be his idea. How to get him to want to go?
I checked out a book from the library called Potty Training Your Baby. I liked the book because a lot of the ideas work with EC principles. One of the biggest differences, though, was using praise. With EC you don’t use praise, because you don’t need to use praise when a child does something that is natural for them or something they want to do anyway. But I realized that this was no longer EC–this was potty training. It was no longer about his comfort or what he wanted. It was about something I wanted but needed to convince him that he wanted, too.
I took advice from the book and left him bottom-less while we were at home, to give him a higher chance of success (wearing pants makes it impossible for him to go on his own). At first he just stopped and peed wherever he was, looking surprised as if he hadn’t even realized he had needed to go (I blame that on using diapers so much during the “break” I gave him because he definitely used to know!). Any time he started to pee I either picked him up and put him on the potty or I told him to go sit on it and he would do it. He was making the connection that going pee meant sitting on the potty, but now he needed to learn to pay attention to his need to go and get there before hand.
Sometimes I offered the potty, sometimes I gave him the chance to go on his own, and sometimes I just told him it was time to use the potty (before leaving the house or taking a nap, for instance).
I knew he was making progress when at his grandparents one day I took him to go potty and noticed he had only peed a tiny bit in his training pants, indicating that he was learning to hold it until he was in the proper place. I knew he was making progress when he actually started saying “yes” some of the time when I ask if he needed to go. I knew he was making progress when at home and bottomless, he started to pee and then held himself like he was trying to hold it in, and then ran to the potty. I knew he was making progress when on Sunday at my in-laws he came to me and told me he had to go (that’s a big deal because that’s the house of non-stop playtime). He was definitely making progress when he started, in the last couple of days, to go sit on the potty on his own before he started to pee (he’s still been pretty good all along about pooping in the potty, but I was still happy to see him go for poops, too, because he was doing it on his own). And today, I knew he was making progress when he went halfway down the stairs, said something about having to go, grabbed himself and ran back up the stairs and peed in the potty. Hallelujah!
So long diapers! I’ll see you with the next baby (maybe :) ).
Well technically, we still put a diaper on him at night, but he rarely wet at night to begin with and hasn’t since we started the potty-training. He wears training pants for naps, but hasn’t wet those either. He sleeps in our bed, so I’m just being over-cautious. I’ve put away about half of his training pants, and over half of his diapers (left some for night and some for cleaning up misses). It feels so good to be pretty much done with those. It feels good to be folding up the the laundry and come across several pairs of cute little boy undies. I love that there isn’t padding all around his cute little bottom anymore. He can tell the difference. I don’t think the underwear has directly encouraged him to use the potty, but I do believe it’s made him feel more grown up and given him more confidence for using the potty.
Oh, and the praise thing. The book said to make using the potty a positive experience and I realized that over time it’s become a rather mundane thing for him. So I started interacting with him more while he sat there. I made positive comments about what he was doing. “You’re peeing in the potty! Look at that big pee, look at that nice poop.” Every time he’s told me he’s needed to go or when he’s gone on his own, I have given him the most positive feedback of all, even saying “Good job” sometimes. I don’t praise him for actually going. I don’t say “Good job making a pee!” Eliminating itself doesn’t need to be encouraged because they have enough intrinsic motivation to do it anyway (at least if they’ve been EC’ed), but using the proper receptacle, in our case, certainly needed a little something to help motivate him.
He’s not all the way there yet, but at least we are out of diapers. And he definitely seems more confident than when we started. It’s been 12 days, and I do not miss diaper laundry.