November 27, 2006

Did I Mention We're Back To Diapers 24/7? Must've Slipped My Mind

So the kid's been pretty much a rock star on the toilet training front since the summer, which we figured was our deadline, since she obviously had to be ready to go to school in September, right? Wrong. Toilet training was not a prereq, it turns out. No problem, she'll just be at the head of the class.

Well, during the first couple of months, the kid was doing fine everywhere but school, where she'd invariably have an accident or two. Several weeks of daily clothing changes [well, 3 afternooons/wk] and no improvements later, and with a crazy month of international travel looming in front of us, we decided to just take a diaper break. Lay off the "all by myself" and the "big girl" and the pressure disguised as praise, and let the kid pick it back up on her own when we get back and settled in Jan.

Even though it's great to be rid of the pee stress and the drop-everything fire drills to the bathroom, it's hard not to feel like a screw-up, if not exactly a failure, as a parent. But not in the "oy, the kid's 2.5 and still in diapers?!" way that all the grandmothers think, or the "my child's regressing, what's wrong?" angst that we've entertained the last few weeks.

No, it's the realization that we've been pushing her feeding her little developmental neuroses; we're the demanding, micromanaging parents we really hope not to be. And as soon as the kid gets back from French class, I swear, I'm gonna make it up to her.


Don't feel bad. My son is going to turn 3 come january and he is no where near potty trained. Hello Mother-Failure-of-the-Year. Everytime I see my parents my step-mom asks if he's potty trained yet.

We had my oldest, a boy, almost completely potty trained when my youngest, also a boy, came along. My oldest was in diapers for almost another year.

I was really upset about this, but at the advice of my doctor, let nature take its course. My oldest is completely potty trained, and it was not nearly as stressful. At two, my youngest is just beginning to show interest.

All children are different, and just because they are not ready does not make any parent a failure.

My daughter is almost 2.5 and was a potty-trained prodigy at about 18 months. Now, for some reason, she's started having accidents at daycare daily and on the weekends goes through 5-6 changes of clothes a day. Who knows why these things happen. But we haven't gone back to diapers because we figure it's pretty uncomfortable to live the way she's living and that she'll figure out what to do faster this way. We just don't make a big deal out of it when she does have an accident, which gets hard sometimes. Hmm, I have a bit more to say about this, maybe I'll blog about it.

oh, man...I have been there. My girl seemed to have the potty thing down at around 19 months. We were pretty stoked. Then, she refused to go on her thrown. Would have nothing to do with it until close to two years. Once she picked it back up she got "trained" real quick. Still in pull ups at night though, but we try ever so often. She just cannot hold it or wake herself up consistently yet. No need to feel bad about 2.5 year old in diapers, no shame in that at all. I hear ya about the encouragement/praise. We struggled and continue to struggle with the "big girl" talk that seems to dominate or at least seem natural at this age. But really, her becoming a big girl scares the heck out of me. At the same time, you can see how proud she is of herself that she is getting bigger. Getting "big" and older definetly means different things to parent and child!

Letting your child just "get it" on the potty is the right move. They will find their way back and when they do it will be complete in a snap.


Don't worry about it! My DD finally got it down 4 days after her 3rd birthday... She just woke up one morning and said " I want to wear underwear now" and that was that!
Enjoy the hassle free diaper days!

You're no way a failure -- you've just learned something really important about yourselves and your kid. As to grandparents and other interested parties, just nod and say "she's doing fine." It'll be good practice for all the rest of her life. It's the kid who's important here, not everybody else's opinion of who she should be and when she should do it.

As a side note, when you're back home, you might consider treating the whole thing as matter-of-factly as possible and dropping the praise stuff. I think you really hit something right on point there with your comment about pressure and praise.

I wouldn't have normally thought to mention this, but my kid (at barely two years old) said -- not about toilet training -- "don't praise me. I know when I do something that's good."

After I picked myself up off the floor, I gave that some long, hard thought. Once I looked at it from her point of view, it wasn't too difficult to see how much pressure praise puts on a kid, though I sure wouldn't thought of it myself.

Shifting the focus to more concrete comments about the actual action rather than a desired result got much better results, and was apparently what the kid preferred.

Stuff along the lines of "you put your bowl in the sink" elicited conspiratorial, happy grins. "What a big girl, you're Mommy's big helper" somehow just pointed out that she wasn't big yet, and wouldn't be until someone else said so.

Not to mention that the "you're so big" stuff seems to imply that the goal wasn't whatever she was trying to do, but getting parental approval, instead. Or that that parental approval was what the goal _should_ be. Apparently, her agenda had a lot more to do with what she wanted to accomplish, not what I thought of it. As it probably should.

Nobody said it would be easy. But, hey, there isn't an owner's manual. Relax and trust the kid, and yourselves. You're all learning this stuff together.

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