Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Lazy Parents' Guide to Potty Training

My parenting philosophy is this: take the path of least resistance. Is it difficult to wean your child? No problem! There is this great thing called child led weaning that I dig. Does your child wake up five times a night? Do you pass out when you lay down to comfort your child? That's okay! There is this traditional practice called the family bed that I think I recall might have a great deal of research in its favor. Of course, the verdict is still out in our family regarding whether these practices are actually easier in the long run. Henry, nearing age three, still nurses. Luke still wakes up many nights. And don't even get me started on Henry's supposed night weaning, since, a year and a half of sticking my guns later, he still seems to think he can convince me to nurse him during the night. We'll just call him persistent.

But potty training. Our kids--both of them--have been a breeze to potty train. And our method is this: We don't put them on the potty at all unless they ask or we happen to think of it, which is about once a month. We start this at about age two. Then, around age three (Henry 2 years 10 months, Luke 3 years 2 months) we get sick and tired of paying for diapers. We get sick and tired of changing diapers. We tell the kid in questions that when the pack of diapers runs out, there will be no more diapers. And you know what? With both kids, they have been almost instantaneously potty trained. Luke had virtually no accidents. Henry has had a few here and there, but he basically has it down.

So we have parenting bragging rights: we are really, really good potty trainers. Everyone has a gift, right? Maybe we should become potty coaches. I think it helps that we don't own anything nice and we aren't afraid of bodily fluids winding up on our stuff.

And we can honestly say that our kids are really easy . . . to potty train.


Beck said...

That's how we potty-train, too. The Baby is ENTIRELY potty trained now. Hooray!

so yung said...

I would imagine that once children can feed themselves neatly and, umm, clean themselves effectively between their cheeks, you're done. After that, it's just a matter of waiting them out. So you're mostly there ... almost finished. See, that WAS easy!

I know one very effecitve way to wean Henry ... another baby! It seems like the obvious solution.

Nancy said...

I can vouch that the having another baby doesn't work for weaning. If you can only have one thing done well, the potty is a pretty good place to start. Can you start working on our chicks?

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Laurel and I just read a piece you had in LiteraryMama. Loved it...bug pjs. Sheesh. Hey, I noted that you had just moved from Chicago to c-bus, and I wanted to say, you ought to come around and meet some of the moms in the MFA and english dept. at OSU. (I'm in my 3rd year of fiction writing attempting there, ha ha) There's a good group of Columbus moms who are loosely affiliated with the mfa program, and who would laugh and laugh (and agree) with your assessment of suburbia and its discontents...and I'm sure they'd love to meet you.

Drop me a line? It's gilbert.260at OSU (.edu). I'd love to chat.


Molly Sabourin said...


I saw the above comment from Laurel and clicked on over to LiteraryMama to find your article. Bravo! I loved it!! It was so great to see your name in print. Please give a heads up on your blog if anything else gets published. I thoroughly enjoy your writing.



Ser said...

Thanks, everyone, for the comments on this post and on the piece in Literary Mama. I will try to add a link to this and to anything else I might publish in the future.

Laurel, I emailed you. I would love to meet some other Columbus writer/mamas.

Lone Star Ma said...

Loved your piece on LM!