Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Contemplations: Potty Training.

 Yesterday's post clued you into what's been happening in our home these past few weeks. 
Here are my accompanying contemplations. 

When Avi was 1 and 1/2 years old, I felt on top of the potty training thing. We had been doing Elimination Communication with him since he was just 8 weeks old.  I was confident that we were making good decisions and what we were doing was working. Now that Avi is 2 and 1/2, I look back and realize a few mistakes I made that caused a little bit of a halt in being diaper free. (And sure, I know that I could have done "everything right" and we might still be where we are, but nonetheless, maybe my experience could help someone else).

My biggest regret is that we first purchased a toilet seat (which sits atop the toilet) instead of a freestanding potty chair. Now, I had gotten to know Avi's cues pretty quickly. Seeing him begin to grunt and become red faced, I would pick him up and carry him to the bathroom and lift him onto the toilet. This worked fine until he began walking and didn't want me to pick him up and carry him to the toilet. He began to say something to the tune of, "Avi walk himself". And then I would hold his hand and we would walk to the bathroom together. But still, he was dependent on me to help him onto the toilet. "Avi walk himself" was soon replaced with, "No, no, no".  It wasn't long before he began to prefer to poop in his diaper. I felt horrible. Hadn't we come so far? Sometimes I'd go 10 weeks without having to change a poopy diaper. And now he was pooping in his diaper??? Where had a I gone wrong? In the moment it wasn't completely clear, but I also wasn't completely oblivious. So I finally bought the freestanding potty. In hindsight it's easy to see -- of course, a child needs a potty chair that is his size. One that he can sit down on without any help.  

And then when Avi turned two, I got a little over zealous in my own efforts and created a paradigm for him to "hurry up and grow up". More about that here. I put on my own breaks and just left the matter of potty training well alone. Though he did continue to sit on the potty (the potty chair and the big toilet) every now and then.

After about a month of slowing down, I began to communicate even more with Avi. We talked about him growing bigger and that someday he wouldn't have nee-nee (breast milk) anymore. And in the process of three months of talking, Avi, at 28 months, was ready to be done with nursing (and so was I)! That was last October. It was a beautiful ending to nursing that we did together via discussions. And over the last two months, we have been talking again... this time about the potty.  

In that time, I did more research, talked with other mamas, and read books (I like Diaper Free Before Three the best). Last week, I went on a potty training supply/readiness binge:

  •  I ordered another bjorn potty (got sick of carrying the one we had upstairs and downstairs) and even let Avi pick which color he wanted.
  • I ordered a travel potty for the car.
  • I ordered two mattress covers for his bed.
  • I bought a new wet bag and dug out our two old ones (for wet/soiled underwear on the go).
  • I set up the diaper pail again (for wet/soiled underwear). 
  • I bought a dozen or so more cotton trainers and unders
  • I got about a 1/2 dozen waterproof training pants (which we wear over the cotton underwear when we go out of the house). These are a godsend!
  • And I arranged a meeting with Jenn, myself, and our nanny so that we could all be on the same page about our approach. 
    He likes his privacy. Thus I'm often checking in on him through the crack beneath the door. 
So Avi is no longer wearing a diaper, (except for nap and bed), and we are all finding our new rhythm which includes using the potty (a lot!). Our first outings without diapers were hugely successful which helps me as much as it helps him. I can see how this gentler shift is so much better for Avi and for me/us (and my patience). And I can also see how this is, indeed, a shift and see him testing his boundaries a little too. All part of the process. 

I'm grateful for the place we are in, for the communication that is happening (amongst us all) and for the milestones we are reaching. I feel like we are finding our way again. 

Last night:
Ema: When the timer goes off, it will be time to head upstairs to brush your teeth and get ready for bed.
Avi: And sit on the potty.
Ema: Yes, and sit on the potty.


  1. Yay Avi! Welcome to the club!

  2. when my 4th was a wee boy he was like 100% going on the potty by his 2nd birthday. i was so proud of myself, and then for some reason that winter he had no interest in the toilet at all, and so for another 4 months or so he was in diapers and as soon as it warmed up (which here in AZ is like feb lol) he went back to the toilet and was fine. very weird. lol and thanks for the link on organic underwear for little guys. fiona has been showing signs of maybe, possibly being ready and i have wanted to get her organic cotton that didn't cost a fortune!

  3. I remember that time so well. It can be such a struggle to find the right rhythm for everyone.


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