Just my Thoughts

Potty Training

I know you all are thinking what could a woman whose “baby” is 15 need with potty training.  Well, it is not that I am helping teach a new young person to use the toilet.  It is that I have some theories on it and some practice in it also, having six children between 15 and 25 who all use the toilet.  Although, to look at the bathroom floor, I may need to re-institute the Cheerio process (see below).

I was 23 when my first child was born.  My then-husband was the youngest of eight and all but one of his siblings had children.  His closest-in-age sister was pregnant at the same time I was, delivering her second child, a girl, three months before I delivered my first, a boy.  I mention the sex of the children because there is a difference in potty training boys and girls.  I also mention my then-sister-in-law as she was very helpful with my breastfeeding.

There the story begins.  SIL called when her #2 was just about a year old to tell me she was potty trained.  I thought back to all I had read because, like Kristen at Motherese, I am an avid reader and read everything I could get my hands on about potty training.  I think I recall even telling her brother it was good she was trained to haul #2 to the potty whenever Mama thought #2 had to go.

Photo from BabyAge.com

I was asked many times when I was going to start potty training #1.  And, the summer before he turned 3, I did.  It was fantastic.  He was 2 1/2.  Letting him run around the backyard naked – is that a theme this week? – with the potty chair next to the wading pool worked marvelously.  He learned that if he went in the pool he would have to get out and go inside as the pool would have to be cleaned and new, cold water put in it.  #1 did not like that cold water.  He took to using the potty chair and had no issues when it was moved inside nor when it was put away and he was using the big potty.

This was not without problems.  He didn’t like going to the bathroom once he started preschool.  The problem was he had to be potty trained to go.  Not to be deterred, I let him have an accident or two at preschool.  The teachers – hope Karen and Kelly and Carol are not reading this – were not happy so I, then, took to sending him in one of the first Pull-Ups.  My personal opinion on Pull-Ups is not one you want to know.  He finally decided he liked school and stopped peeing during nap time in the afternoon.

There was a little issue of aim.  Bigger boys aim all over for the joy of me screaming at them to clean up the bathroom floor.  Little boys do it because they don’t know how to control the flow.  Big boys have “pissing matches.”  Little boys have accidents.  To help with #1’s aim, I used the Cheerio trick.  This was not my idea and I don’t recall where I got the idea from but I put a Cheerio in the potty chair and he had to hit it.  Still thinking I need to reinstate this policy so the floor is not icky in the bathroom.

Then came the twins.  For those of you who can’t keep track of my children – I know I sometimes forget who they are and their birth order, I never had just two children.  I went from one to three in with the birth of twins in January of 1987.  I thought I had been a good mom to #1 so figured I wouldn’t get the whole potty training push with the twins.  On top of that, the only in law who was having a baby at the same time was in Georgia so not close by and it was her first.

Lo and behold, I was wrong!  For their second birthdays, Gramma gave the

Found at http://pottytrainingsolutions.com

twins training pants.  I don’t even know if they still sell training pants but they are very heavy cotton with extra padding/reinforcement in the crotch area.  I thought maybe it was time.  Stupid me!  It was the end of January and I thought potty training would be a good idea.  I must have lost some brain cells in delivery.  On top of that, I had had a fourth baby so there was a little one also crawling around the floor.

Needless to say, I learned I should trust my gut instinct.  The twins were not ready.  My hardwood floor shone like you would not believe.  No, not Murphy’s Oil Soap.  Urine!  I mopped up more urine than I could believe.  When my one SIL came to visit and asked how I kept my floors so nice, I told her – urine.  She laughed and said, “No, really.”  It took a while but I convinced her it was really urine.

That summer we loaded up all four kids – the twins still not potty trained – and drove cross country to visit my mom and my step-dad.  This trip was a three and a half week trip with many planned stops and great fodder for a future post.  Of course, the twins decided that they wanted to use a potty about Indiana on the way to California.  That was a treat!

In the mean time, I had a friend who decided that paper training worked for her puppy so she was going to try it on her son.  I kid you not!  She put newspaper on the floor in the bathroom.  Once he had done peeing on the paper, she put the potty chair on top of the papers.  She would, each day, move the papers and the potty chair closer to the real toilet.  It worked for her but she had managed to paper train a puppy, something I have no experience with at all.

The gist of this goes back to what I wrote about Language and Parenting in January.  You know your child(ren) best.  Do not worry what the “experts” say or how I did it or how my friends or SIL did it.  Do what feels right to you for your child(ren).

8 thoughts on “Potty Training

  1. This post is so funny! I wish I had read it a few years ago when I was struggling with training two boys back to back (literally. They are 10 months apart in age). And when you said, “I may need to re-institute the Cheerio process” I was actually just thinking this the other day. My boys are 5 and 6 and it’s no longer “fun” to try to make it into the toilet. Now they pee together, using their pee streams as “lasers” and try to hit each other’s stream. Boys!

    1. I do get the lasers! It gets worse once they are teenagers or maybe it is college that is the worst. You get them all trained and then they go away and no one cares if they hit the wall or the floor.

  2. I could not agree with you more. My youngest is the same age as 2 of my sibling’s first and I laughed a little to myself when they started training 1.5 years before I did. They all were completely trained at about the same time.

    I had learned my hard lesson with my first and decided to trust my own instincts after that.

  3. I love this Cheerios idea – and Jane’s boys’ laser competition! We’re going to focus on the sitting down business first, but these are obviously key items to keep in mind down the road. 🙂

  4. By the way, my husband is also the youngest of 8 children. Weird, huh? I’m the oldest of 6- he actually has brothers older than my parents.

  5. I started with Ben when he was 18 months old. 18 MONTHS OLD! Were we NUTS or what? He really did have all those signs you check off according to the experts…and he did pee and poop the first time we sat him on the potty. However, he continued to use his diaper for the next year and a half…it seemed that either was fine with him. So at 3, when it was time to start preschool, and the baby was born, we did “Diaper Boot Camp” as my friend called it. We threw out his diapers with him, put him in big boy underwear, and spent 2 days cleaning and washing til he got it. With Aidan now…we’ll start whenever he damn well feels like it!

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