After rehashing Blank Slate and Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Girls, the final college theory I wanna revisit concerns potty training. I have accomplished this six times and recently have been a life-coach via the cell-phone.
“Did you go poo-poo in the potty? Gramma is so happy with you!”
“You wear big girl panties now? What a good girl!”
“Oh, did you accidentally pee on Mommy’s floor three times today? ”
I knew the tremendous impact of my life-coaching when she pooped in her potty one day, then picked up her plastic cell phone. Her mommy heard her yelling from the bathroom, “Gamma? Poopy! Gamma? Poopy!”
Yes, not only did I potty train my daughter against all the advice I was given in college, I was so successful she actually knew how to potty train her own daughter.
Neither of them are axe-murderers. In fact, none of my six early-trained kids are.
You see, that was one of the comments made during a university college course. They were talking about the horrific impact of potty training a child too early, too scheduled or too harshly. Early training, supposedly, could cause emotional problems and neuroses later in life. The professor actually used the term axe-murderer. I don’t remember the exact context of the reference, but I thought maybe these theories might just be taking the problem a little too far.
He continued to lecture us, asking us to imagine how traumatic it could be to entice a little child to perform on the potty, then you flush their prize down.
I didn’t want to ask him what they thought you should do with the poo, I was mute with disbelief. Another boatload of money wasted on educational crap, and we all sat there, taking it in, not daring to question the authority. I knew they bronzed little baby shoes, but I was pretty sure you couldn’t send in a fecal specimen for preservation.
I wondered why just telling the truth would be so harmful to a child.
“This is poo-poo. It is icky. It has all the bad things your body doesn’t need. When you poo-poo for Mommy, I will flush-flush and make it go away, where icky poo-poo needs to go.”
I totally agree that any child training could be traumatic if you are angry, rude and violent, but I never understood or agreed with the criticism on potty training too early or being too scheduled.
Training early means less money spent on diapers. (If you are green, this is earth friendly, less diapers in the landfill, or less water and soap needed to wash diapers.) If other society’s train their infants from birth, I think we Americans can easily train before 2 years of age. With that said, it isn’t a rule. Each Mom gets to choose when and how she wants to train. I think it is more about when Mom is ready than when the child is ready. But, the main point is that it isn’t harmful to train them young if you train them with patience, love and kindness.
When I trained my girls at 18 around months, my boys at 2 years, I was often told I was trained, not my kid. I’m not sure what people meant, but if a child can warn you they have to potty and go when put on the chair, I am pretty sure they’re potty trained.
Scheduling is needful because when you are training them, you need to catch them with full bladders and bowels. If you go into the bathroom often, eventually you will catch them at the right moment, and they’ll do their business in the potty. They learn the sensation of fullness and the sensation of release. Eventually, you won’t have to be as scheduled, they will learn to discern the sensations on their own. But, it is called potty TRAINING because you are TRAINING them. Regular trips to the bathroom are kinda’ necessary. The first day kids don’t sit down on the potty every time they need to go. The first few days you can pretty much guarantee they will pee and poo everywhere BUT the potty.
Later, the routine of taking them to the bathroom often is necessary because children NEVER have to go to the bathroom if you ask them. They can be standing with their legs crossed, holding themselves, or doing the trying-to-make-my-pee-go-away dance, and if you ask if they have to go potty, they will usually say NO. It’s training. Training them first how to use the potty is only the first step. Training them to actually take themselves potty when they need to go is the next step that can, unfortunately, take years.
I found it amazing, when looking up this theory the other day, to discover some of this early bad advice actually came from the government. No comment.
Through the years of raising kids, my best advice has not come from books or from seminars or from people with initials after their names. My number one guidance has been the Bible. When subjects aren’t covered there, like baby food and potty training, I go to other moms. I go to older moms and younger moms and moms at the same stage. I glean from each of them and compile their advice for what works for me. Not all advice works, but gathering more than you need is useful. Eventually, something will work for you.
When looking for advice on potty-training, don’t look for a highly educated person who has written books. Look for a successful, experienced mom who has a wealth of information to share.
She’ll be the mom with the kid in dry undies.