How the hell did this happen?


Potty training. Potty learning. Blah blah blah.

It’s been on my mind for about a year and a half. We have gone through a phase of bribing with chocolate and constant pestering from me to just try peeing and see if they need to go. None of this has worked. It has been extremely difficult, but I pulled back from the whole thing.

Dear friends (ah, you probably know who you are) started potty training, maybe before the kid was ‘ready’ (whatever the fuck that means!!), and are still doing it months later. I admire that. I have neither the persistence or motivation to do that. Especially with two at the same time.

So I was like, ‘Eh, some other people seem to think kids will do this themselves if you just leave them alone. I’ll try it, and let’s hope those other people aren’t full of shit.’ This idea meshes with the way we live our lives – why we won’t be sending them to school, for example. Our kids have known their ABCs and numbers for about a year. Both recognize and name letters and numbers. They can add and are great with patterns, colours, and other math-related skills. They have ‘paper’ on my laptop – a document saved for each of them where they can ‘write letters.’ We live in a house of books, of a mama who likes to write, of magnetic letters and numbers. None of this needed to be taught, at least in the traditional way. Kids are like sponges and just sort of soak things up.

But speaking of soaking – though I was so convinced of our choices to home educate, to baby led wean, to free wheel and deal and just go with the flow – potty learning was the one thing I had a really hard time with. I just didn’t trust it.

Yesterday – and I’m still not sure what happened here, I need to ask TMD – Coconut just decided that she was going to pee on the potty. We knew she was probably ‘ready’, aside from a nasty hatred of the potty and toilet. But out of nowehere, all her pees yesterday and today were on the potty. She had one accident today. And, get this, girlfriend even POOPED on the potty.

She has bad poop problems. I’m sure that you are all like, ‘Tell us about the poop! How do you like that book on withholding and constipation you treated yourself to?’ and I’ll get to that in another entry. But, suffice to say, poop doesn’t come easy. I think her second dose of laxatives made it pretty impossible for her to NOT poop tonight, so it was easy to grab a potty and she just did it. No asking for a nappy.

(Please, Coconut, if you read this one day forgive me for telling people these things. But I tell them these things about me, too, so maybe I’m an equal opportunity oversharer.)

I don’t say any of this to brag. I say it to show you how perplexed I am. Because while I was holding back, I had sort of also decided that if neither of them got themselves out of nappies this summer, maybe I would hold Naked Week 2012 in late August to help them along. But, ya’ll, it works. Leave your kid alone and they will probably get out of nappies sometime before they get their first job. And we don’t use cloth ones (sad face goes here), but I’ve heard that cloth nappies help speed things up even more.

But really, what is the race?

This is their childhood. And so much of ‘modern’ parenting seems to be about parental convenience or, possibly, insecurity. Snort and Coconut will get things right, in their own time and way. If they are reading Shakespeare next year, great. If they aren’t, who cares? They will get there in the end. Our kids learn to sit, stand, speak. How to communicate and interact with the world. If they are capable of these grand feats, why shouldn’t they be able to undertake other things?

I guess my job is getting out of their way and letting them do it. Trusting the process.

For the time being, I don’t know what to do next. Go on with our ordinary life (given this will be the first week with a car!)? Stay home to better support her? Whatever I do, I’m going to not offer nappies again. She is in pull-ups for the night, though she has been dry through the nights for a long ass time now. But I guess I just keep subtley reinforcing the idea that it’s Underwear Time, without somehow making Snort feel bad that he is in nappies. He doesn’t seem to care yet.

From my point of view, I’d MUCH rather support one kid at a time in this. And I think once she is really good to go, he’ll probably follow soon after. But see, here I go again – arranging, scheduling, anticipating.

No. Stand back, Mama. Stand back and let your children amaze you.

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4 Responses to “How the hell did this happen?”

  1. funkykarmamagic Says:

    I seem to remember my girls training themselves at some point but that was a long time ago, and don’t remember the time frame…however…it seems like most adults arive at their adulthood being potty trained so don’t sweat the swmall stuff!
    Blessings, janet

  2. mamacrow Says:

    (((HUGS))) It took me four kids to trust it would happen! To be fairer to us, with the first three we had external deadlines for toilet tranistioning to be completed by…

    If you leave them to it, in my experience it tends to happen later than when people are enforcing it, so for my kids, more like 3 to 4 than 2ish. However, when it happens it takes a matter of days really. I think it’s probably much easier for my little ones as there are so many other people in and out of the toilet that it’s fairly normal and natural – I don’t use a potty, just a seat that has a smaller child seat inbuilt and a secure stool.

    Statistically, girls are ready earlier than boys, but when it came to my particular girls and boys, this hasn’t been the case.

  3. PottyMouthMommy Says:

    I got lucky with my first kid- I hadn’t even thought about potty training when she started staying dry through the night… so I went out and bought a potty. It hadn’t even occurred to me to start training yet… :S With little sis, we bought a potty ’cause she was showing signs of being “ready”… I think we got her to go twice- and then the BAD poop happened… it’s been months since then and she’s only started wanting to sit on the potty again in the last week or so- and I feel very “meh” about it. I’ve gotten a lot of comments from people who are horrified that I won’t have her trained by the time baby brother comes around but I couldn’t give a hoopty-loo about having two in diapers! And she’s not even two yet for crying out loud!! She’s in no hurry and neither am I!

    Kudos to you for being such a cool, laid-back mom! It’s so refreshing to read about someone who parents more like I do- who’s not trying to keep up with the Jones’ constantly and making themselves nuts with worry over whether they are doing everything “right”. (even though I know you, like me, probably have your moments when you are terrified of messing your kids up!)

  4. Mel Says:

    I had it easy: when my son was 2.5, he received Thomas the Train underwear for Christmas. He wanted them badly, so I explained that if he wore them, he needed to use the toilet. His first day in underwear was Christmas Day, and he didn’t have any accidents. I think the most important part of it, though, was that when the novelty wore off a few days later, I didn’t put him back in diapers. Another two or three days, and he was back on track, motivated, and we never looked back. He wore pull-ups at night until about three months later, when he asked for underwear at night. I spent all summer waking him up in the middle of the night until his muscles got strong enough to get him through the nights, but it was all very worth it.

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