Friday, January 05, 2007

If Animals Can Use Toilets, Why Not My 18-Month Old?


O.K. so the wife and I are going to start the challenge into this vast unknown world scientifically called “crap in the john and wipe your own butt”. Our daughter is closing in on 18-months in a few days and we’re desperate end the diaper thing – not only are they harmful to landfills (I think they kill rats, pigeons, possums choke on the Velcro or the character's images, whatever), but the contents are looking too much like horse poop (maybe somebody else is feeding her on the side, I don’t know) this diaper things needs to end now.

We’ve been asking fellow parents we trust, you know, the ones where their kids seem to be doing fine - mastering the skill and all - and I’ve been skimming the blogs for advice on potty training the last few days. The wife and I have gotten books but they seem to be all over the place, and I question a 65-year old pediatrician whose own kids are in there 40’s – I don’t know about you all but I think that’s a little out of touch with today. My wife and I really don’t read those parenting magazines anymore because they’re all mostly written by freaks who think that a kid showing up to kindergarten in Pull-Up isn’t a 'bad thing' as long as the kid feels “loved” (I’m generalizing, yes).

I want real advice from real parents, so I’m asking for your Jedi secrets, tips, hints, bribe methods, voodoo, tools (tin buckets, Big Gulp cups, plastic thrones with candy dispensers…) etc. I’m open to anything except the ‘letting the kid tell you when she’s ready’ method, because frankly there’s something really bizarre about that to me.

We had a party a year ago and some friends’ 4-year old kid went under a table (she announced to us all that she needed to poop) stunk up the room (pretty much ended the eating thing), and then demanded her dad change her Pull-Up and then asked for ice cream (which she got). Then our 'friends' (who we don't see hardly anymore...) told everybody that she wasn't ready yet to use the toilet (hmmm, I wonder why?) God, I don’t want that to ever happen…

29 comments:

h&b said...

I'm lucky my kids is so regular, he goes every morning at 10.30am. Not. Kidding.

So as long as I go out after that time, i'm unlikely to be embarrassed by a stinky-arse that makes others want to vommie.

We're TT'ing at the moment. It's Summer here though, which is always recommended. Not wearing ANY bottoms at the start makes them more aware of when they're 'going', and they soon get the idea to run to the potty.

IMO.

Good luck !

Alisyn said...

Going naked is my advice, too. But I must say that potty training at 18 months is an exercise in futility. Few kids under the age of 2 or 2.5, in my experience, have the cognitive and physical abilities to "know" when they have to go. I know it sounds tiresome, but your kid really will let you know when their ready to potty train, and you should wait for that signal.

Karen S. said...

I agree not to wait for your child to tell you when he or she is ready. Our son was 18 months when we started. I was very frustrated when we began potty training just not knowing where to start. When I was researching potty training a common theme seemed to be praise and positive reinforcement. I came across a website called www.pottytrainingrewards.com. We hung it in the kitchen and named the little boy on the front of the package, Bobby. My son could not wait to go to the potty so he could push the button, hear the praising message, and get his chocolate reward from, Bobby. It really got my son excited about using the potty himself and it was fun for him. Because he became so involved, potty training was easy. So give it a try.

IzzyMom said...

We tried PT at 2 yrs 4 months and my daughter completely rebelled. Didn't want any part of it and made no secret about it. I left the potty in the bathroom but never ever mentioned the P words (pee, poop, or potty) for about three months. We tried again at 2yrs 7 months and she was much more amenable but ultimately we bribed her with McDonalds french fries and milkshakes. Because we NEVER went there, they were a humongous incentive.

Sometimes they really aren't ready and if you try to force it, it becomes a battle of the wills and since elimination is one of the very few things a toddler can control and you can't, THEY WILL WIN.

In a nutshell, try it and if she's down with it then go for it. If she seems resistant, drop it and try again the following month. When she finally is interested and willing, bribe her like you're Jack Abrahamoff!!!

IzzyMom said...

Oh and Alisyn makes a good point. Very few kids are aware of their need to go before it happens prior to 2 yrs old. It's been my observation that when someone says their 18 month old is completely potty trained, it's really the parent who is trained.... Trained to take their kid to the bathroom 649 times a day, that is.

Darren a/k/a Clare's Dad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darren a/k/a Clare's Dad said...

I don't recall potty training being difficult at all. We brought Clare to daycare everyday and they did it. Seriously though...I think that when kids are ready and understand, seeing other kids using the potty helps a lot. And you just have to keep reminding her and asking her if she needs to go. That or you could use the old stick-her-face-in-the-diaper trick.

bootsy said...

Just to remind everyone, diapers don't NEED to end up in the landfill. There's cloth, and now G-diapers for flushing. I use both and they're great.
Good luck with your toilet training and all.

Rebecca said...

Candy makes a wickedly good bribe.
We used M&Ms. A couple just for agreeing to even sit on the potty. And a nice big handful for actually "using" it. Of course, my kids were thrilled to get a sugar-treat, cuz they have always loved sweet stuff.

Sarah O. said...

You are ambitious. My daughter was 3 before she begrudgingly agreed to use the potty. Her little brother was even older! It's not like we didn't consistantly try every trick we could find in baby and even dog training books.

This is a true tale: My 2 1/2 year old son showed so many signs of potty readiness and was certainly bright enough to understand the concept, yet he just couldn't potty train.

Finally, I asked him, "Do you want to use the potty?" He answered (and I quote word for word) "No. Because if I use the potty I won't be the baby any more."

creative-type dad said...

Sarah O. - wow, that's funny and a little scary.

Rebecca - i've heard that idea pop up a few times. I think that's a winner...

bootsy - yes! we've been using gdiapers (part-time) and they've been pretty good. Although they do leak on occasion, they're still a great alt. to regular diapers.

Clare's Dad - Actually, I was planning on using that trick...

IzzyMom - yeah, i see your point. I'm hoping to get my daughter into thinking about it. Hopefully being around older kids will convince her too. Or I can just permanently attach a cup to her butt

Alisyn - a few friends have done the "bottemless weekends' method and swear it's worked. We're planning on trying that...

Ruth Dynamite said...

My kids weren't precocious in the potty training arena, but I do recall quite vividly that both were not ready at 18 months - though the contents of their diapers told me otherwise.

"Every child is different." (cough cough)

Good luck, my friend. Potty wishes, and caviar dreams.

junebee said...

We are only now venturing into the world of THINKING of training Branch and Blossom. First of all, they don't talk yet, so they can't tell us when they need to go. But the pediatrician wanted us to start toilet training them.

Take all those diapers, times 2, and you've got twins. My mother claims I was potty trained at 18 months but my understanding of the latest thinking is not to even try it until age two, unless your child is extremely precocious.

Ben & Bennie said...

My friend, my daughter was a challenge until Ben came along. No advice needed. As long as she recognizes the poop is on it's way then the road becomes much easier.

In regards to your former friends with a 4-year-old pooping under the dinner table: I've heard that is the norm out there in California.

Seriously, good luck! You have a beautiful child from the pics I've seen. There will be days when she's a pre-teen that you'll miss those poopy changes!

Mel said...

I have deliberately suppressed the potty training memories.
No, but really, Izzymom used basically the same methods I used; just patience, repetition, and lots of praise. And the occasional bribe. And did I mention patience? Yeah. Lots of patience.

zikehmama said...

You can absolutely do this potty training thing at 18 months - this is one of the *many* windows of potty learning that exist from birth. All over the world, kids potty train WAAAY before they do here in the States, and it's because the whole "they have no sphincter control before age 2" is a huge myth perpetuated here. Do you think that US-born/raised kids are anatomically any different than those in China, India, Africa? Of course not. It's just a matter of approach - here in the states, we have to potty train because we diaper train first. Elsewhere, pottying the baby is like eating, breathing, and sleeping. Just somethin' ya do.

SO, go for it!!! Remember to:
1) Commit to remaining relaxed, supportive, loving, non-chalant, and matter-of-fact. Bribery is too much effort and not reliable. Focus on the *process* (teaching awareness of one's bodily functions) and not the goal (pee/poop in potty).
2) Commit to working as a team - know the physical signs of having to pee/poop, watch for typical potty times (upon waking from sleep, within an hour after eating) and exploit that knowledge, and and communicate with your child about this to help her recognize these signs too. Do not blame your daughter - kids do *not* want to pee/poop on themselves, even if you think she "doesn't care." She is learning a new skill, and this takes time.
3) Get over the "will there be accidents!?" issue (if it is one for you) - realize that accidents are crucial to the learning process for your daughter (and for parents, too!). Just as a baby stumbles and falls while learning to walk (for how else can one learn to balance/locomote on two feet?!), there will be accidents. Clean them up together, kindly, supportively, in a no-big-deal way.
4) Seek encouragement/support from other parents who believe you can do this. Some excellent resources follow, and even though this approach is intended for younger babies, the strategies *absolutely* apply to older babies/toddlers:
http://www.viviente.com/2005/10/how_to_do_parttime_pottytraini_1.html
http://www.diaperfreebaby.org
Christine Gross-Loh's "The Diaper Free Baby"
Laurie Boucke's "Infant Potty Basics"
Ingrid Bauer's "Diaper Free"
Elizabeth Pantley's "The No Cry Potty Training Solution"

Have fun (it really, really can be a lot of fun!), and happy pottying!

ann said...

You've received tons of good advice. Now it's all up to your kid. (And, in your moments of frustration, you can check out funny kid quotes about poo and more here. And, thanks for joining!)

moe "simon metz" berg said...

forget the diaper. just stuff the kid's pants with sawdust and shredded newspaper. works like a charm and you'd be surprised how long you can get away with it before a concerned friend or family member calls child services.

T. said...

My daughter hopped on the pot all by herself... Really. Not bragging or anything.

Well maybe a little.

But my son got even for her. We tried everything, even the M&M's, and nothing worked.

He was terrified of pooping on the pot.

He'd cry, kick, scream and try to plug up the dam if you know what I mean. Finally, one day, I had a poop and showed it to him and told him that when I flushed the toilet the poop was off to visit Grampa and Gramma.

It was like I said the magic words.

All of a sudden he wanted to go on the pot and do his business. He waved bye bye and had to call grampa. That was an um, interesting phone call!

So, my point to this highly embarrassing tale is: you never know what's gonna float your kid's boat.

Good luck! May the potty-gods be with you.

sourpatchbaby said...

I'm sorry I have no advice to give you. Yes I have loads of younger brothers and cousins that I grew up with...But for some weird reason in Hispanic countries people feel compelled to train their barely one year olds (and sometimes younger). Their method consists of sitting the kid in the throne and not letting them get up until something comes out the other end. And I mean not letting them up. I remember seeing little cousins sleeping and eating in the potty, just because they hadn't gone. When you think up something, let me know.

Diana said...

Look, you got a shitload (hehe) of comments on this one!
We are in the middle of potty training, which is where the daycare is doing most of the work for me and he consistently goes there because 'all the other kids are doing it.'
At home, I have to bring it up. SOmetimes he just says no.
Or just pees on my bathroom floor during his bath...

mamalang said...

My son started showing signs of readiness at 2...and for a year, we tried every trick known to man to get him to go on the potty...bribery, songs, examples, cheerio targets, etc. Finally, one sat morning just after he turned 3, he woke up, ran in our room saying "I gotta pee!" and went. THat was it. He was potty trained. Made me want to scream.

My older daughter would still be wearing diapers if we would have let her.

Waya said...

As a mom of 3.5 kids, my first son was potty trained at 3ish. Guilty! I'm one of those moms who's waiting for the kids to be ready. Sorry Tony.

My 2nd son was potty trained at 2.8 cold turkey. And now my 21 month old is not potty trained yet, and again...I'm waiting for her to be ready. Although I did try a few times putting her on the toilet to "test" her out, but nope...not a drop. So, again, I'll wait for her to "tell" me.

I guess if you feel like your daughter should be potty train now, then do it cold turkey. Good luck!

kittenpie said...

It was the Dora underpants that did it. That and peer pressure. pumpkinpie saw some other girl at daycare had Dora underwear and informed her teacher she wanted to learn to go to the bathroom too so she could wear Dora underwear. So I bought her some, overpriced as I think they are, and there she was.

But they do have to be ready to some extent in that they need to be aware of what's going on down there, so if she tells you when she's going or has just gone, that's a good sign.

creative-type dad said...

T. - I love that idea! Except she wouldn't care if if went there. Maybe if it was a message to Elmo- she would go for that.

Jonathon said...

Dude, I'd love to offer something productive, or insightful on this, but potty training sucks. That's the best I got.

Arwen said...

When I no longer travel for work, I am totally going to try to toilet train my cats, because, I figure, it will be easier than teaching my daughter when she was 3.

zikehmama said...

Don't know if you've taken the plunge (hope you have!), but how timely that there was a spot about Diaper Free Babies on CBS News just recently - http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=2396334n

Agree with you that there's just something off about waiting until your child's ready -- mostly because babies are born ready to go on the potty. It's truly the parents who need to decide they're ready to help their kid use the potty. It's really cool that brand new babies are quite obvious about having to go, just like they're quite obvious about being hungry. It's just our recent culture (thanks, disposible diapers!) that has simply forgotten over the last 50-75 years this fact that babies like using potties over diapers. So we now teach them to use diapers and then wonder "hmmmm" when they resist going in the potty when we start it at age 2.5, 3.

Hope you're enjoying the enhanced communication and the process - it really is fun! Focus on the enjoyment of the process and everything will fall in line. :)

creative-type dad said...

zikehmama - thanks for the information!