January 16, 2012

Prelude to a Potty (Training)

I have found, more than anything in my parenting career thus far, that potty training is a hot button topic. It seems to get the hair bristling of moms more than anything I've encountered thus far. I didn't realize this until I started to talk about the "method" I chose to potty train. I was suddenly hit with comments ranging from the "Your children aren't potty trained yet?!" to the "You're potty training them already?!" from the "I would never put that much work into it, you know you don't have to," to the "You have to put more work than just one day. It takes weeks. This won't work, you'll see." The most shocking thing was that so few of the comments I received were positive. I kept thinking, "Have I ever been this un-supportive of another mother? Or this competitive? Or this discouraging?" It felt so often that they were responding defensively - like the "method" I chose somehow made them feel like it was a judgement on the method they chose (or planned to choose). I liked what the author of the potty training book I read said, "As all mothers with toddlers discover, this is a universal, yet unspoken truth. If we get through the experience relatively unscathed, or at least with no facial ticks, we can silently conclude we are good mothers."

So before I post about the potty party days, I wanted to say this:
In the end, I really don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" method to potty train (outside of
abusive methods, which I shouldn't have to qualify, but somehow feel the need regardless).
Children are so unique that I don't think one age, method, reward can be broadly applied to all children as "right." I think every parent has to know their child and, perhaps more importantly, themselves. I picked the method from this book for many reasons, but the main was that this
book got me EXCITED about potty training. It sounded fun. It fit my personality to a T. I kept thinking, "There is no method more perfectly suited to anyone, than this is to me." I figured that
if I had fun, they would have fun, and if they had fun it would be a success! Do I think that every mom needs to plan a theme day for the kids to be successfully potty trained?
Do I think every mom needs to decorate and transform their children's potties?
I did it because I like doing those things, and it didn't feel like a lot of work because I had fun. I don't feel that the overall result is much different than that of anyone doing any other method, but I enjoyed all the steps. So, I would encourage any mom to potty train however they feel most comfortable and in whatever way will reduce their stress! I feel much more strongly about moms sticking together and supporting each other in whatever way possible through the work of potty training, then I do about what method someone chooses!

Some things that I did like about this book that I would recommend to any parent potty training with any method? She goes through ALL of the steps of going to the potty (from recognizing you have to go, to undressing from the waist down, to washing their hand by themselves), and gives you a list of "pre-requisites" that you can work on ahead of time so that the skills surrounding going to the bathroom are already in place and you can focus on JUST going in the potty that day. I loved this. Months ahead of time the twins started working on undressing and dressing themselves, washing their hands on their own, and even wiping (after I had cleaned their poopy bums, of course). It did make the day go A LOT smoother to have so many things already in place. Plus, it helped build the hype because I would tell them, "You are learning a new skill that will get you closer to your "No More Diapers" day!"("no more diapers" is from a favorite book that we've had since they were little). They loved learning new things and knowing they were getting closer to the much-awaited day!
Washing their hands:
get the hands wet, get some soap (one hand underneath to catch, one hand on top to push it out), scrub while singing "Happy Birthday" twice (don't forget to scrub between the fingers!), wash all the soap away, dry your hands completely.
The biggest thing I will say I gained from this method? At the core is an entire day just you and the child being trained - no sibling, phones, computers, non-related projects, or visitors. The day alone with my children, just focus on them and celebrate a new milestone was incredible.
I wouldn't trade those 2 days for anything in the world.

Since there were 2 days completely focused on them, and I've been devoting all of their awake time to paying attention to them and their need-to-potty signs, I'm currently trying to catch up on housework, needing to get groceries, and figuring out our new routine as we navigate the potty world. So it might take me a while to get up each of the potty party posts (I took so many pictures...there are a million to go through...which will also take forever). But they are coming!


Anonymous said...

Kim, it is no wonder you chose the method for potty training as you did because it IS you!!! You love to make everything an adventure and your job as an activities director just enhanced your joy in life and creativity! You couldn't have done potty training any other way!!! As I've said dozens of times--your kids are so very blessed!! And you said a very important truth---each Mom's way is the best way as it is her way! And yes, Moms should always encourage each other as it is a very big job being a Mom. Lots of love always, Grandma

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed seeing the twins at the end of their days and how excited they were. I am sure not many toddlers will remember to much about the day they started training but these two will. Great Job.Each child is differant too so what moms do may depend on how they perceive their child to react. your doing so good as a mom and don't ever doubt it. love to you all. Gigi

Anonymous said...

Kim...the best thing you said in this post was "how a mom knows her child", that is the bottom-line. I think it was great how you had to focus on one twin at a time. You don't get many opportunities to be along one on one. It sure fit your activities coordinator position you had in Boston. I for one think this was a great way to start potty training. No one told me how to do it and I wouldn't begin to tell you. I think you are right "moms need to support each other". So "Keep up the good work, be happy and like you said this is like the last baby thing which "stinks". They are growing up way too fast. I didn't read any one else's comments because I just wanted to say what was on my mind. Again "you are a great mom and Allie & Ry are so very blessed. Hugs & support from NANA :) Yay for no diapers!!

Melanie said...

HI Kim-Thanks for your post. I love the decorated potties. So cute and fun. As this would definitely NOT have fit my personality, you are so correct in that we choose our methods based on what works for us as mommies. I get so frustrated feeling like I have to "defend" my methods when talking to other moms who do things differently. We do need to support each other and encourage each other even if its different than us. I love that you do the things you love and parent using methods that are exciting to you. Congratulations on No More Diapers!!!! Love ya!

Lauren and Jeff said...

I totally agree with your statement here. We are all seeking the same outcome, and whatever method gets you there with the least resistance is what you should do. I also wanted to say that you are not the first person I know to use the potty party method. I checked it out when we were potty training and it didn't seem like the right fit for me and Morgan, but I'm glad it worked for you.