Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On the Pot

the big pumpkin

I promised a post on potty training last week and I am sure it is not really a topic of great interest to most, but I decided to write about it anyway. My reasoning? Well, it just feels like I am forgetting things as they happen lately, all the sweet lovely things they say, all the huge steps they are taking forward. And this, well, the potty thing, this I do not really want to forget. Even though it can be a bit gross at times.

So, I mentioned eons ago that Owen had started to show an interest in potty training. It started with peeing standing up. Actually it all started with being naked. Over the summer the boys took to being commando. All the time. I mean, we would put clothes on them and within a span of an hour they had removed every item or made themselves so freaking filthy that they could not wear the clothes anymore. What could make them so dirty, you ask? Hmmm, you must not have boys then. Naked as jay birds, they would run around and occasionally pee. Everywhere and more than occasionally. We thought it a sign and gave some half-heartened attempts at potty training. That consisted of buying 4 little pots from Ikea and strategically placing them in each bathroom and outside, investing in a package of pull ups and getting out the stack of clean character underwear donated by a good friend.

Only problem was that they never used the pots and had no interest in wearing anything. Instead they learned to pee standing up, outside, usually in the grass or one of the bushes in the backyard. It was always outside, so it was a little hard to protest. Owen was an immediate expert, right down the posture most guys assume as they, erm, pee standing up. It was hilarious to see. But there was also not a lot of potty use going on. Let me say that poop was not a terrible issue as they are morning boys and they had a diaper change in the morning before ‘naked’ time began. But, yes, there were some disastrous episodes involving poop and match box cars. Enough said.

So, there was really no great progress to speak of. They did not use the pot, but they did start to tell us when they had to go pee or poop. Well, they usually told us after, actually. That cannot really be called potty training, right? I did notice something interesting though. The naked time seemed to give them much better feedback about the whole act of eliminating…they may not have controlled it much, but it seemed as if their awareness of the whole thing started to really form.

Enter September and school. Speaking of school, it is great! And it has been great for the whole world of toileting. I recall some fear on my part that they would:

A) Never make it through the day with all their clothes on and
B) Be found peeing outside in the grass by a teacher or other student.
(To be honest, Mrs B reported it did happen in the first week with Owen, but she found it hilarious and then gently directed him to the bathroom) (Did I mention I absolutely adore Mrs. B?) . But something truly magical happened with school in the picture. Do you know what that is?

A child sized toilet and sink.

There is nothing more magical to them than a child sized toilet and sink. I am wondering why parents spend so much money on useless play items when really we should be renovating our homes to temporarily accommodate child sized things. It was totally on once they identified that this equipment was for them and functioned like the grown up sized items. There is a potty break at 10:00 a.m. at school where each kid goes to their bathroom to try and, for the most part, we get reports that they go every time. And now Owen asks to be taken to the bathroom every time at school. Mace? Not so much, he has his own schedule in the area of potty training. His is the “Not right now” schedule.

Now Owen gets up in the morning and is pretty much in underwear until bedtime. Mace, on the other hand, flips a bit between diapers and underpants…he is a lot less predictable and prone to hide it if he makes a mistake and pees or poops in his underwear. (And just to be clear, they both wear diapers at night because I am not that brave. Not yet).

The current status in training has really brought something to light for me. I see how each of them is at a different comfort level when it comes to this step and we have been respecting that level. When Mace has his accidents, we let him know it is okay and if he asks for a diaper, we put it on. I do not want to bring a negative light to the whole thing and just figure he will be ready when he is ready. And for Owen, if Mrs. B says he is ready for underwear at school, well, I will just have to trust her and send him in his favorite pair (or maybe second favorite pair).

It is funny, whenever I sit down to write these things, trivial as it seems, it helps me process something about parenting. In this case, it reminds me just how different they can be despite having been raised in exactly the same parameters. They each have chosen their own way and we try to consistently respect that. It is awesome to sit in witness of their personhoods unfolding and becoming, it makes something like potty training something I want to remember. There is such autonomy in claiming control of one’s own body and I am simultaneously proud and sad as we move forward into yet another aspect of independence, the Age of the Toilet.


Someday it will seem totally normal for them to go on their own. Someday the sight of them in little underwear with a character on them will not be cute anymore (gawd, you should see Mace pose in his “Purple Car” underwear….both of them showing each other their butt characters…it is hilarious). And that may be just the reason I had to write this.

Though they will kill me when some jilted girlfriend with a broken heart finds this and links it to her FB profile. Sorry, boys.

And now onto the wedding week...so much to do, so little time. We have a full few days ahead, might be a little quiet round these parts. Have a great week, friends.


Goddess in Progress said...

I have to say, much potty talk in our age bracket in the blogosphere these days... I just bought a few dozen pairs of underwear for my kids, and have let them try them on a few times. They like them (and it's the cutest thing I've ever seen, for some reason), but I'm not ready to go all-out with potty training efforts. Truthfully, I think *I'm* at lot less ready than they are. :-)

Vijay Eswaran said...

Wow, love reading your posts.
Stumbled on your blog and love it.

Ur boys are so cute..

Preeti said...

This was such an eye opening post and hillarious at the same time. What a breakthrough with no serious mess to deal with! Our baby is showing signs but still won't tell us she's pooped or peed until after the fact. I keep trying to remember what we did for her brother - he was completely out of diapers before he turned 18 months, but I have to accept the fact that each child is different, even if they're from the same gene pool!!

Sadia said...

Potty training isn't a topic of general interest. Hmmm ... I guess I should give up blogging altogether!

Actually, my girls are now trained. They're in panties all the time. This means three potty stops every time we go to the grocery store. I didn't even know grocery stores had bathrooms until I had potty-trained twins.

A guide on public restroom use with toddlers is what I need!