Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Potty training

This morning on the Today show, they had a segment on people who never use diapers. By following their babies every move and nuance, they know exactly when the baby needs to go, and put them on a potty. There is evidence this can be done.

But just because something CAN be done doesn't mean it SHOULD be done. What is the point? I'd rather spend time kissing and loving the babies rather than waiting for them to pee. That isn't potty training, of course, it's parent training, but I think maybe that's the point. Do they believe children should live in a world without conflict, discomfort or reality? That can't be a good thing. Think what a shock middle school will be.

I consider myself to be an expert on potty training. I have three sons, none of whom wear diapers.

With our oldest son, we read all of the literature on potty training. We listened to Bob's mother, who said all of her children were potty trained by 18 months. We listened to my mother who said they had a big stake in potty training in her day, because they had to wash diapers and she didn't have a washing machine.

We bought books with anatomically correct children using the potty and shared them with our son. We bought a cute, safe potty chair. We bought big boy pants with his favorite characters on them. Still, he refused to use the potty.

Finally, right before his 3rd birthday, on a rainy New Year's eve when I was pregnant with his brother, we ran out of diapers. I looked at my baby and said, "We are out of diapers. You have to use the potty." He said, "OK." And he used the potty from then on. He had no daytime accidents and very few night time accidents.

So, with sons two and three, we didn't worry. We ignored everyone who said they should be out of diapers by 18 months. We gave them books and potties and big boy pants. And they potty trained themselves when they were ready, around three.

Now, let me say, this worked for us. It wouldn't work for a lot of people. I was home with Son 1 and Son 3, and Bob was home with Son 2, so we didn't have the pressure from day care providers who, quite reasonably, don't want to change the diapers of a half dozen three-year-olds. We are fairly laisse-faire parents (or lazy, as my mother often said when she was angry with me). We shower our children we love, books, paper, crayons, love, and books. We don't worry about where they will go to college (even now that Son 1 & 2 are of college age.) We worry that they will be loving, kind, self-assured young men who take care of themselves and others. And so far, they are, mostly.
I guess we'll keep reading the experts and disregarding at least half of what they say. We'll keep showering our children and grandchildren with love, books, crayons and other things we value. And hope they can hold their own in a world where some kids never wore diapers at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your story about "potty training" your first son because it's almost identical to when my one and only was "potty trained." Like you, shortly before his 3rd birthday I said to him, "I think it's time for you to start using the toilet." And he said, "Okay." And life went on, without diapers. In addition to that, I also had family saying children should be trained by 18 months (maybe it's a Catholic thing?) and telling me how my son's father was trained by the time he was a year old (or some such garbage). Maybe that's why he is so uptight and why my son is so relaxed about life. Hmmmmmm. Something to consider.

jhp :o)