Here in Canada, one of the requirements for most pre-schools is that your child must be potty trained. Carlo, who turned three last month, is still “doin his biz” in his nappies. So each time some other parent tells me that their child is not yet potty trained, I feel relieved, more so if their toddler is around Carlo’s age or older.
While potty training progress in our household has been painful and slow, I must admit that for me, slow is good! I am not ready to give up the diapers. Yep, you read that right. I’m the one who isn’t ready.
The thought of making Carlo go commando or letting him run naked around the house sans diapers (which is one of the more aggressive potty training methods I’ve read about) scares the $h*t out of me. Cleaning poop from the carpet is NOT my idea of fun.
While we were at Carlo’s pediatrician earlier this month, one mother who was in the waiting area with me asked how old Carlo was and whether he was potty trained. I said he still wasn’t. She told me not to hurry training him. She then said that her 2 year old daughter had to go to the hospital for a bad case of UTI and required surgery. (Surgery!) Her daughter, she narrated, was so afraid of going to the potty, that she would hold her pee and poop in for almost the entire day. So now, they’re back to wearing diapers and she isn’t going to potty train her daughter until she’s three or older.
Dr. Simone, Carlo’s pediatrician, overheard our conversation, and handed us a printed sheet of paper. He told me and the other mom to read this article, “Don’t Potty Train Your Baby”. The article is written by a pediatric urologist who says he has encountered are a lot of cases where babies/toddlers who are potty trained earlier than they’re ready end up with UTI or other issues. In a nutshell, he states “I believe in potty training when kids are ready — when they show an interest and can tell you when they are peeing or pooping — and I believe that few kids are genuinely ready before age three.” After reading, the other mom said to me, “I wish I read this months ago. But that’s why I now ask other mothers if their toddler is potty trained. If the mother says that her child isn’t potty trained yet, I then tell them not to hurry and tell them about what happened to my daughter.”
When it was our turn to see the doctor, Dr. Simone just advised me to put Carlo on the potty after each meal. “Whether he goes or not, it doesn’t matter” he said. “Just get him used to sitting on it.”
“Just get him used to sitting on it.” Oh boy! That in itself was already a challenge.
Eight months ago, I thought Carlo was ready to be potty trained. He would tell me after he pooped and he liked to help me flush the toilet, which I thought were both good signs. So we went and bought a potty seat, the kind you plopped on a toilet so the child does his/her thing directly into the bowl. “Less of a mess” said Cindy, my go-to-girl at my favorite baby shop. Cindy even suggested that if Carlo freaked out sitting up high on the “normal” toilet (like her daughter did), I could buy a $7.00 potty from Ikea to get Carlo used to sitting on a smaller potty at first. She told me that even if he never ends up using it, the Ikea potty was cheap enough that it wouldn’t hurt my wallet.
Carlo used the Ikea potty like a basket. He dumped his blocks or alphabet magnets into it. I once found him dumping his goldfish crackers into the bowl. Did he ever sit on it? Yes, for all of 10 seconds. The seat is too small for my little guy. Accidents would abound if ever we were to use it for it’s intended purpose. Thank God it’s only $7.00!
As for the potty seat? Well, when I first sat him on it eight months ago, he freaked out so much; it took me a good 30 minutes to calm him down. So I hid it.
I brought it back out a month later and I hadn’t even put it on the toilet, when Carlo started to cry. So back into the cabinet went the potty seat.
I tried two months later. Tears. I said to myself to forget it.
Then Carlo and I went for a vacation in Manila. Aha! I figured I had the perfect opportunity to potty train him as I would have more help in Manila to clean up any accidents. We even went to the mall so that Carlo could pick out his own potty. But he cried when we got to the potty aisle. He didn’t want to get within two feet of them and he kept on tugging my hand saying “No, Mama! Let’s go, Mama. I don’t want potty.” Sigh. So much for that plan. We flew back to Canada without Carlo’s tushie ever touching a potty.
BUT!!!! Last week, after a month of following Dr. Simone’s advice of just making Carlo get used to sitting on the potty after each meal, Carlo actually did his biz in the potty!!!! Never have I been happier about a bowel movement. Hahaha. And our strategy of just sitting on it regularly seems to be working. Most of the time, he tells me “No pee, Mama. No poo, Mama.” And we hop off.
He’s still in diapers but he’s beginning to understand why he needs to go to the toilet. He’s getting used to it. And so am I.