I read a book once…the diaper free baby…I was intrigued and immediately went out and bought a potty. My goal was (and still is) to help Isaac become aware of his body.
My philosophy/approach is this:
- allow I naked/undie time…the more they better.
- do not yell or punish or get upset about “accidents.”
- watch and be aware to help him learn.
- praise, praise, praise when the potty is used.
- if an accident happens, address it.
- do not force, if Isaac wants a diaper he gets a diaper, if I’m not in the mood to handle any of the above, Isaac gets a diaper. It must be positive for us both.
I call this learning and not training, because I’m not forcing it, I do not have a time frame, but mainly it’s my mind set, maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I’m not training him like I would train a dog, I’m helping him learn to listen to his body and how to respond to it.
Now, that we know my thoughts on this, lets go back to a year ago. That is when I read the book and that is when I bought a potty and we’ve been putting Isaac on the potty ever since. Most people would probably say “You are crazy! A year of potty training!?! He wasn’t ready.” But here’s the deal…we’ve been using the potty, but not all the time. I put him on it in the morning, or when I need to go to the bathroom. It was something to occupy him and help him get used to. We (I) would talk about it. It became a part of life with him. We’ve gone through stages where we used it more than at other times. We’ve had a screaming kid in a restaurant at 11 months because he didn’t want to poop in his diaper.
This summer, I’ve tried to give Isaac more diaper-free time. I know his poop schedule, so once he had his morning poop, I’d let him run free until after nap, this would give him a few hours. We even got a new, bigger potty and a potty seat for our toilet and invested in a few undies for him to wear.
If I pay attention well to Isaac, we wouldn’t have accidents, but the fact is, most of the time I’m working during that time and my attention isn’t 100% on Isaac, so I would miss the subtle cues he gives…like coming up and tugging on my arm or resting his head on me.
Fast forward to the Sand Dunes just a few weeks ago…something happened to my 19-month-old on that trip. He grew and learned so much. We came home and he has been a talking machine. Add to the fact that we are now learning signs and he can communicate so much. This week, he has learned to say and sign “potty.” It’s a good thing he has the sign too, because his word for “potty” sounds a lot like “bye.” 🙂
Things that make me smile this week in potty learning:
- Isaac yelling “potty!” and signing “potty,” seriously, so cute! Even in public.
- Isaac backing up to the potty and missing several times.
- Isaac peeing and yelling “YAY!” and clapping and picking up his seat and bringing it to me.
- Isaac pooping on the potty without my knowledge and running across it sitting there an hour later and remembering running into the room I was in screaming “YAY” and clapping. Guess that is what it was for.
- Isaac saying “Uh Oh” any time he pees or poops anywhere besides a potty (ie his diaper, the floor, his undies).
I never knew teaching a child how to know when and how to use the potty could be so fun and rewarding. I think it is just as good for Isaac. I know a lot of people struggle with the whole potty teaching stuff, but I think in the end it comes down to mindset. On days when I can’t make it positive for whatever reason, I have to just put Isaac in a diaper, it makes life better for us both – even if he insists on taking the diaper off.