Monday, September 16, 2013

We Are a Family of Five Toilet Users!

That's right!  We are a family of five toilet users.  Four of us full time, one of us part time; I'll let you figure that out.

Yep, this is a post about potty training, so you can just stop reading right now if you'd like.  I've found this is a subject that is almost infinitely fascinating to anyone in the throes of potty training (or entering that phase soon), and mind-numbingly boring to everyone else.

I don't think I talked much about Georgia or June's experience potty training, both for fear of jinxing our progress and for fear of the appearance of hubris.  But you know what?  Screw that, because I'm proud of Waylon and really happy about this development, and I think I spend too much time playing up negatives instead of celebrating the positive.  Besides, I don't know how or why I came to be so superstitious that I act like simply mentioning that potty training has gone really well and quite smoothly for all three kids suddenly means they'll be stricken with disease, or flunk out of algebra one day, or whatever.

With no further ado, here's Waylon's potty training story (the short version):  Last week something clicked in his head (or his pants?) and he started behaving as though his diapers were on fire, or made of knives, or full of ants, I don't know.  The point is, he simply would not have them.  He had been wearing cloth all day and a disposable overnight, but suddenly it didn't matter what kind we tried, he threw a fit.  (Like, clawing at his pants to get everything OFF NOW.)  Next thing you know I'm at Target buying tiny underpants, praying extra hard, and behaving like a paranoid person carrying around a ticking time bomb.  I drive with a plastic toilet on board and stop in public restrooms what feels like every 20 minutes.  But he's doing it!  Go, Waylon!    

For anyone interested, here's the longer version of the story:  Popular opinion in American parenting these days seems to be that it's much better to wait significantly longer to even attempt potty training your children.  We've bucked the trend only because Georgia crawled over to a toilet at 15 months old and said "poo poo" (and then went when I put her on it), and afterwards I happened to read an article by a dude claiming that introducing potty training earlier actually makes things much easier.  His opinion, which held true in our case, was that by starting between 18-24 months, you avoid the power struggles between parent and child that can develop with older toddlers who totally get it that this whole potty training thing really means a lot to you.  So, anyway, we dragged out our plastic potties when Waylon was about 17 months old, but didn't push it since he wasn't too interested, plus, you know, we were getting ready to move.  Realtors don't generally recommend plastic potties for home showings.  Georgia and June managed to become "daytime potty trained" (i.e., diapers only for naps and overnight) just before their second birthdays.  It was obvious to me that that wouldn't be the case for Waylon, and I was cool with it.  Everyone had told me that boys take longer, and above all else, I simply refuse to stress about potty training.  Yes, I stress about plenty else, but this?  This stuff just doesn't ruffle my feathers.  June had kids in her preschool class last year that still wore diapers after turning four.  No big deal in my book.  I want to be clear here that just because I'm excited that my kids happened to potty train on the early side does not mean I am looking down my nose at any parent whose kids took longer.  If you find yourself stressing, you can borrow my mantra, "No one goes off to college not having been toilet trained."  This works equally well for "No one goes off to college still in a crib," or, "No one goes off to college eating only Goldfish crackers," or plenty of other things.  The irony here is that I have the only six year old I'm aware of who routinely tells her parents that she is not planning on going to college and has been asking detailed questions for three years now about whether attending college is required by law.  But I digress.

Oh! Forgive my stream of consciousness blogging, but let me interrupt myself here to say - I found the dude.  And a link to his advice.  But here's the thing - his name is John Rosemond and he's a Christian conservative parenting "expert" who advocates spanking and other crap that I strongly disagree with.  So please don't take this as an endorsement of everything he has to offer.
Rosemond:  "Don't start late on potty training"        
I never took a week off work to potty train, though I did dedicate time and effort to it.  Nor did I ever set timers, though I did put the kids on the pot a lot.  I'd say the most helpful nuggets of his advice that I relied on were:  (1) think of potty training like any other skill, such as learning to use a spoon, and give praise accordingly without going bonkers about it, (2) stand in the hallway and say, "I'll wait here while you do your thing and tell me when you're finished," and then step aside and don't stare at the kid all the time, (3) make toilets as accessible as possible, (4) embrace nudity, and (5) embrace a few accidents, because personally I'd rather clean up a few accidents than change another few years worth of poopy diapers.

The artist prefers to paint in the buff. Actually, he prefers to do EVERYTHING in the buff now. I've created a monster.

Waylon has particularly embraced the nudity.  As soon as he got to run around pants-less in the name of potty training, he realized he liked it much better and never wanted to go back.  Basically I've created a monster.  A potty-trained monster, but a monster nonetheless.  He swims naked and screams if I try to put a suit on him.  He throws a fit about his nap and overnight diapers, but I had to draw the line somewhere, because if history is any indication, it'll be a few more years until he can sleep through without peeing.

I only have two regrets about all of this:  that I still have never done a cloth diapering post on this blog (I don't think?  I'm starting to lose track in my old age), and that I never got around to buying Waylon a personalized diaper to waddle around in.  Oh well, I guess it's not too late for either of those things!

I hope this was useful or interesting to someone out there.


Anonymous said...

I use the "no one goes to university doing (whatever)" all the time. It shuts people up pretty quickly, along with reminding them that growing up is not a competitive sport.

TomT said...

"Yep, this is a post about potty training, so you can just stop reading right now if you'd like." I stopped reading, sorry. But I did scroll down for the photo YEAH! too cute! OK I skimmed the rest, sounds like Way-Way is a potty training hero which is AWESOME! Way to go.

Emily said...

Way to go Waylon! And can you remind why cloth diapering is great? I'm losing my cloth mojo the second time around.

Kelly said...

YAY WAYLON! That's awesome! Next time you see your buddy Miles, you might want to give him some tips :)

Sarah said...

Yay! Love the photo :). And love that kid! So I guess the protest in the pool paid off?

I have a similar mantra with the college thing, but more related to adolescence, as in, "no worries, her adolescent peers will train her out of that one."

btw, Waylon's painting skills are also quit impressive ;)

Maggie and Mike said...

Awesome... Waylon, you're the king.

Abe has regressed in the night time area and now is wearing a pull up again for sleeping... oh well... he'll figure it out.

Susan said...

Oh, Georgia! I love that girl. I seriously am praying for her and that she would be free of her anxiety. No 6-year-old should be so concerned about college! Sweet girl. Although, I'm sure everyone would be very happy if she went to Northwestern and got to stay closer to home :)

jessica said...

Congrats to you and Waylon! And man, Georgia is one smart cookie. Excellent questions.