Friday, September 18, 2009

potty training post #2, Thumper's experience

So here's the short version on Thumper's potty training experience. Started at 13 months. Got serious at 20 month, finished around 21/22 months.

The long version.

When I was pregnant, I spent some time researching EC (elimination communication). I knew that my mom potty trained us really young and I wanted to do the same because I'm lazy and I did not want to change diapers. There's a lot of information out there on EC. It was all so overwhelming, trying to remember what you need to do, what you need to buy.

Then I had a c-section. So there goes the idea of starting training right after birth. Then I was in a sleep-deprived daze till Thumper was 9 months. I was more obsessed with her getting enough sleep. And I know now that I wouldn't do what others have done even if I could; which is to sleep close to their baby, and take them to the potty when it seems like they're peeing, even in the middle of the night. I value sleep, both the baby and mine, more than potty training. On top of that, there's all this other thing a new parent have to learn, what to feed, breastfeeding, what to dress them, what to do w/ them when they're awake, trying to get them to sleep, etc etc. No time for yet one more routine.

Anyways, my mom said she started w/ us shortly after 1. So after Thumper's first birthday, after most of the traveling was done, we started putting her on the potty. We weren't too consistent. But we tried to do it after her meals (20-30 minutes), first thing when she wakes up, before we leave the house, etc. She didn't really pee in the toilet most of the time. But she got used to sitting in it. And eventually she learned how to say peepee.

In hindsight, this whole period was really just about her getting used to the idea. If you don't go diaper free, you can't know when your kid pees. If you don't know their schedule, you don't know when to put them on the potty. And it's all about you catching pee in the beginning. For us, it was all a guess. And I always seemed to do it right after, or right before she actually peed in the diaper. And of course, for Thumper, she never pooped in the toilet.

But the getting used to using a potty part I think is important. Because around 15-18 months, she went through a "no" phase. She didn't want us to put her on it, and she was adamant about the no. At that time, I imagined what it would be like when they really have a will (2 or 3 years old), and I could see how that would be a struggle of wills. So if I had to do it again, I'd start even earlier, 9 months.

Anyways, I remember the potty training book I read. It said that if you started early, you have more of a chance of finishing training around 20 months. Otherwise, it's 30 months. So around 20 months, and after another round of traveling, we hunkered down for a week. We had the nanny help us during the day. She basically went around with only clothes underwear. It still requires regularly putting them on the toilet. But w/o a diaper, you suddenly realize your kid does have a schedule and it gets so much easier to catch them. And when they see the pee going down their legs, they see what they're doing. And suddenly they connect the words they've been saying all these months (peepee) with an action.

We were 75% potty trained by the end of 3 days. It took another week or two to really get the pee down and have Thumper tell us when she needs to pee. In the beginning, she tells us she needs to pee often. We found that putting the potty in the living room, where she plays most of the time, really helps remind her. We also asked her often after she drinks milk. (could never do it every xx minutes like people suggest) and we'd just put her on the potty after awhile if she doesn't tell us. Usually she pees anyway.

So now, (23 months) she tells us majority of the time. We put her on the potty ourself after awhile if she doesn't. And we're mostly accident free except when she gets excited playing. She'll just pee in her pants when that happens.

Poopy training took slightly longer. Thumper always always pooped in her diaper standing up. She likes to hide when she's about to poop and we always know when she's gone in her diaper. The nanny trained her in this area. She asked her often. And let her poop w/o a diaper crouching down (imagine using those hole in the ground toilets in Asia and Europe). I think she had to learn how to poop crounching down before she learned how to poop in her potty.

For me, that's potty trained. I don't think potty is a kid's priority at this age so I accept the accidents. As long as I don't have to change diapers often, I'm happy! My mom says to start the night diaper training after 2. I know others who are trained before then. But I don't mind waiting as I don't want to have to wake up in the middle of the night to take someone to pee.

Potty training post #1, tools

Thumper will be 2 this month and I can say that she's day potty trained. I was asked about potty training the other day and realized how I have a lot of opinions about it. So I thought I'd jot them all down into different posts.

The firs thing is tools. I thought I was one of those people who was cheap and just have one potty. We have 4 or 5 now. And I've seen other models at my nanny share. I havn't tried all the ones out there, but based on what I have tried and seen, I know what I'd look for.

1. Ease of sitting child down w/o taking off pants.
Very important when you're a lazy parent! Apparently some of them require that you straddle. This is not too bad when you potty train later. But if you're holding a really tiny baby, I think it's harder.

2. Ease of dumping.
I love the Bjorn but that would be my one complaint, it's totally gross when you dump it cuz of its shape. I love my Chinese potty because it has a handle and I just pour.

3. Doesn't tip over.
I'm sure most American models don't tip over when babies stand. But something to keep in mind. They should have a pretty heavy base so the butt doesn't take the pot with them.

4. Easy to clean.
All toilets are easy to clean right? Well. I think it depends on where you're cleaning it. If you're like me, you use the sink to fill it with water. If a toilet is too big, it's a bit hard to do that.

5. Appropriate size & height
I read somewhere that it's easier for kids to poop when they don't have to dangle their feet. This kind of makes sense. You wouldn't want to poop on a super tall toilet would you? On the other hand, I also don't like the ones with the little etty bitty pot. What happens if you're a boy? You'd have to scoot back a lot to aim right. It just doesn't seem to have enough space to do both #1 & #2. Though I'm sure people manage somehow.

Anyways, in order of when we acquired them.

1. Potty from Taiwan.

This is the exact same potty I was trained on as a kid. It is very different from American potties. We actually have 2 of these.
Pros: easy for parents to plop child on. Comes in 3 sizes. SUPER cheap! Has handles.

Cons: Doesn't have enough weight on the bottom so kid likes to take it with her when she finally learned how to stand up from it. Not low enough for it to be comfortable. I wondered if it made it harder for Thumper to learn to poop as she had no leg support when she was young. But she learned.

2. Potty from LA Chinatown.
Similar from Taiwanese potty, except newer design. The base is weighted somehow. It's lower so easier for kids to sit. I like this one better over all compared to #1, except it was wider so a bit harder to put under the sink to put water in. Pros and cons similar to #1.

3. Bjorn
We got this when we were seriously potty training. Thumper just would not learn how to poop. I thought it was because the potty wasn't low enough so she had no leg support. But I only used it once and then just gave it to nanny to use when we do nanny share because I hated trying to figure out how to dump since I was so used to having handles. And it turned out that kids do just learn how to poop regardless of whether or not the potty is low profile.

Pro: Nice simple design. Low profile so easy for kids to sit down and get up. Really easy to carry for travel.
Con: hard to dump poop because of its shape. It has a little rise on the front which to me makes it harder to plop kids down.

Our nanny share child wouldn't go poop except in this potty. Probably due to its low-profile design.

4. Pottette
A traveling potty. It's basically one with fold out handles. You can either make it into a regular potty or put it over public toilets.
I think this is a really good tool for when you go out. It comes w/ a plastic bag lined with really thin liners (or make your own w/ pads). But the handles aren't really too long so if your kid has to poop in it it's kind of gross, as the poop will just smear. But really great option for public toilets. Though we've just been holding Thumper over the toilet. I find the sitting on public toilet thing just too gross, esp w/ a toddler who likes to touch everything. But we still use it once in awhile.

5. Potty insert
Got a cheap one at Target with handles on the side. The kid never used the handle part. Like the cushy seat. But I'm seriously looking for one of those real potty inserts, the ones that look like smaller toilet seat. It's a real pain to have to take the thing off when you need to use the toilet. The seat comes with a ring on the bottom to prevent splash, but when you take it out, you take the splash with you usually. Kind of gross.
I started Thumper on the potty insert when she was really young, before 1. But she always hated it till recently. I think it's the whole lack of balance thing. So potty inserts are probably better for when they get older and can balance better.

6. Other toilets
Our friends have the bjorn and potty inserts as well, and many have the pottett. My friend also has one of those that converts to a step stool. They only used it a few times before converting to using the Bjorn and potty insert. It's now just a step stool. I think that one was not useful.

She has yet another one that she got from her mom. It was really cute animal shape. But totally useless because it was in the shape of a turtle and the turtle head was in the way. This means that for a little baby, they had to take off everything in order to use the potty. Totally useless as well.

So, if I had to do it all over again, I'd go w/ the potty I got in Chinatown because it's cheap, it has a handle, and it's sturdy enough. I'd get the bjorn as a second potty if I were training really young since it's low profile. And then I'd get a toilet insert as soon as I can because it's very nice when you just flush!