When I ask parents about how their kids became clean, I generally get some confusing mumbling that ends up by: ‘I don’t really remember; it just happened’. This concerns me greatly. It sounds a lot like when I used to ask about labor, delivery and C-section. The confusing mumbling, the ‘I don’t really remember’; all this because it is perhaps the goriest thing that can ever happen to you. Could potty training beat being in labor?
Note: I apologize for the lack of originality of this post. There must be thousands of similar posts out there in the blogosphere but I really need to write about it… to exorcise the crap (literally) out of my brain.
DH has been pressing me to potty train G & P since they have been able to walk. He has solid arguments:
• Diapers alone have cost us $7,000 so far (to this we have to add the cost of wipes, diaper pails refills, diapers sacks, ointment etc.)
• The amount of time we spend changing diapers is …absolutely ridiculous. And while I welcome the exercise that I get from lifting them and placating them onto the changing table, DH and I have grown very tired of fighting every single freaking time to wipe pipi and caca (French words for pee and poop) off their butt. Changing diapers should last 2 minutes top but instead the following one sided conversation takes place almost every time:
-‘Stop kicking me.
– Eeeeee (high octave scream)
– Stay still for god’s sake. Do you think I really want to be here cleaning up your butt? Don’t you think I have better things to do?
– Stop kicking my face or I will tie your ankles. OK, if you don’t stop turning around I swear I will leave you here with your poop and you are gonna have to do this on your own. I said STOP!!!!
So yes we are indeed very motivated to potty train our kids. However, I honestly don’t know how the hell I am supposed to do this. I have a horde of younger siblings and cousins. In the Lao culture being an older girl in a clan means you are defacto a kind of for free surrogate mother. I thus I knew everything about changing diapers, preparing baby food, milk bottles, rocking babies to sleep. But potty training? No idea. I just don’t fucking remember.
Anyway, every 2 months since the twins turned two, we have been adding a new weapon to our ‘War against the pipi caca’ arsenal: potty seat, padded toilet ring, pull ups, stool to get on the toilet seat etc. We even paid for a 3 days potty training camp at their day care. They came back with bags full of dirty clothes and underwear god knows how long some of these have been in the bag.Yuck. All this investment…but still kids never really showed any sustained interest in the toilet bowl.
DH has his mind set on this issue though; and I won’t be able to get out of this one. So here we are making the big jump in the land of ‘pipi caca’ but alas without holding hands, it seems. We indeed disagree on how to handle the situation.
His approach: let the kids run around naked all day long, not react to accidents and let pipi and caca on the floor for them to understand the consequences, what comes out of them, and hope they’ll be somewhat embarrassed and thus go themselves to the bathroom.
My approach: 7-11am at home without diapers, let the kids have their normal activities outside with diapers on, 6-8pm without diapers, nighttime with diapers. If there’s any accident, I will swab the thing off the floor immediately because seriously yes my house is a mess but turning it into a dog kennel is a dangerous boundary I would rather not cross. And I also ask every five minutes if they want to go to the bathroom. I also rush to get them to sit on the bowl as soon as one of them starts wincing. Thinking about it this whole thing might be more exercising than changing a diaper.
In short, the kids were understandably confused like hell and results were catastrophic in our first ‘training’ day. G peed 6 times over the floor and pooped once in his underwear (I had to wash the underwear, wash G entire lower body, wash the toilet bowl; suddenly 35 cents a diaper did not seem that expensive…). P kept everything inside for 5 straight hours, no fluids in, no fluids out. Major case of stage fright, I reckon. As for L, he washed his hands with his brother’s pee. Total failure.
I am starting to think that somehow parents go to sleep a la Sleeping Beauty and that when they finally wake up, their kids had stopped crapping in their pants and learnt how to eat with a fork (proper table manners training should probably be next on my to do list…).
The icing on the cake came when, after hours explaining to G that urine comes from his body and he needs to release it in the toilet, G showed me water leaking from the neighbor’s plant containers upstairs onto our backyard and said happily: ‘pipi, pipi, pipi’
I looked at DH and said: ‘he thinks the neighbor or God just peed on us and that seems ok. We are so fucked’.
I started to read the book written by Michel Cohen, the French pediatrician who owns and runs the practice the kids go to aka the ‘hip’ ‘ pediatrician superstar.
Here’s what he says about potty training:
‘Okay, get ready for this. No matter what you may have heard or read, toilet training is unnecessary. Children learn to move on from diapers, not because they are run through drills but because they become sensitive to the increasing discomfort of marinating in their own dirty diapers. Just like any other milestone, this occurs naturally as a normal part of a child’s development, and it does not require training‘. Hooray…I may let them in diapers until they are 6!