14 thoughts on “Momversation: Potty Training

  1. We’ve been practicing (very part-time) elimination communication since my son was 3 months old. When he was 15 mo. it became clear that something had clicked and he has been in underwear all day long ever since. Sure, we still have misses a few times a week (he is almost 17 months), but it’s still less laundry than diapers were. When we’re home, he’ll let me know when he needs to go by running to the bathroom door, but when we’re out it’s a matter of guesswork & timing on my part.

    I think that e.c. has been great for us, in that it keeps feces off of my baby, and it’s nice for me to have this extra way to communicate with him & take care of his needs. And his tiny underwear is super cute. Though it also means that he’s back to 12 month sized pants because his butt is so small.

    I also think of it this way – if someday I’m old & incontinent & in a nursing home, wouldn’t I want my caretaker to know me well enough to take me to the bathroom when I need to go instead of making me sit in it?


  2. my daughter was so enthralled with her Little Mermaid panties she potty trained in a few days at around 18 months it was magical!! that was almost 20 years ago…


  3. As a urologist: kids potty train when they’re interested.

    Voiding dynamics in children are complex – its neurological coordination, physiologic reflex and a mental progression into volition. The early versus late? Meh. But you would be amazed at the behaviors kids learn early and how the can set themselves in a vicious cycle that leads to voiding dysfunction. It does happen, but whether it happends as a result of early versus late is probably a moot point.

    Simply put, the important stuff: they shouldn’t hold (i.e. every kid on the planet gets distracted, you have to *tell* them to potty in that situation, not *ask* them if they want to – the sensation of a full bladder can be impaired if they hold too much) and they should have daily, soft BMs. Constipation is generally the root of all evil when comes to kid’s voiding issues.


  4. Is there a way to not get the videos to auto-play when I come to the page? Firefox 3. Mac OS-X.

    Also? Potty-training is one of the things that makes me scared to have kids.


  5. Maggie,
    I really have to laugh when people get on the potty training wagon and don’t have first hand knowledge of what they are talking about. This whole elimination communication is all well and good but imagine our entire country engaging in this practice. It is one thing to have an occasional child that has accidents while out in public because that is how his/her parent chooses to potty train but imagine that times a million children every day. I lived in China for three years. This a country that does not use diapers and all the children wear split pants from birth. The parents hold their children over any open pail or hole and allow their children to go to the bathroom. This means you may be shopping at the mall and a toddler is pooping in the garbage pail next to you. Yes, a pleasant experience, indeed. Also, any puddle on the sidewalk is most likely urine so be aware where you step. I am not for the no diaper thing in any shape or form after living in a country that does not use them. Also, any surface that one would sit on, like a bus seat or a restaurant chair might have been soiled by that little bundle of joy that did not have a diaper on. These are the realities of a diaperless society. Believe me I am not exaggerating. Another fact to consider, certain forms of hepatitis is transmitted by feces. In china, Hepatitis is rampant. All it takes is one infected child without a diaper who has an accident and then people are exposed. For public health, diapers are the more hygienic choice. But, in the end, we all must do what works for us. I just wanted to offer another side of the story.


  6. I don’t like Gina Ford’s methods generally, but her Potty Training in One Week book was brilliant. My daughter was potty trained in 3 days at 20 months.


  7. I think that the critical and oft-overlooked aspect of this debate is the point that Jill makes with regards to parent/toileting habits in developing nations: parents pay close attention to their child’s body language. This requires a decent investment in time and patience.

    I don’t think that the argument has ever been against trying to potty-train kids early — but rather against creating negative feelings when it comes to body image and issues of mastery and control. I do think that the general assumption in our society is that the average parent will not have sufficient patience to practice early training without creating opportunities for confrontation to creep into the process — and as child development experts will concur, confrontation has no place in toilet-training.

    Two of my three kids potty trained in a matter of days, well before their second birthdays. It was easy and without stress because we waited until they showed interest when asked if they wanted to learn, and because our reactions were only positive — they were never scolded for “misses” but reassured that they’d “make it next time.”

    Our third child has severe sensory integration disorder. Though he was potty-trained for urination like his siblings, his sensory issues caused severe with-holding problems with regards to fecal elimination. Though we are now successfully past that horrific obstacle, it was an experience I’d wish on NO ONE.

    In the same manner that I would advise pregnant women to develop an “ideal” birth plan, but to keep an open mind in case (it becomes impossible to implement), so would I advise parents of babies/toddlers to rely on the progress of their children to decide if the originally chosen method is appropriate for that child, at that time. As in most parent/child interactions, flexibility is the name of the game — especially with regards to mastery and control issues.


  8. Maggie – I was reading an old post where you discuss eating salads for lunch to lose weight… I wanted to add: I DRINK my salads. 😉 I know, sounds insane, doesn’t it… but I make Green Smoothies (Fruit + Greens + Water + Sweetener in the Blender = delicious smoothie!) and because the blended greens are more bio-available than chewed greens, it increased weight loss + overall health increases.

    Thought you might be interested! I know you love healthy living… and btw, I love your blog. 😀



  9. I’m glad Becky brought up more implications of a diaperless society like China.

    First up: congrats to all thos e.c.ers out there, but e.c. is very difficult for those parents who work outside of the house. Sure, you can do e.c. only on weekends, but there’s a consistency issue and the fact that I’d likely be stuck in the house scrutinizing my kids’ facial expressions and running to the toilet all weekend. At the end, the timing of toilet training really depends on the readiness of the child–and even though my almost 3 y-o poops in the toilet, he’s been stubborn about peeing consistently in the bathroom.


  10. Maggie,

    My mother swears I potty trained myself at 18 months. She was also using cloth diapers. In old school Korea.

    My daughter is one day younger than Hank and she is about 80 % potty trained. By 80 percent, I mean that when something is too interesting (a visit to the aquarium comes to mind), she will squirm but want to stay doing the interesting thing. So then you have to make her.

    Also what works for me is taking her out of a pull up (we still use them at night) and into Hello Kitty panties. She hates getting Hello Kitty wet and actually apologizes to her.

    Since I had been told I had potty trained at 18 months, I decided that we would try that last year. I made myself crazy and my little girl uncomfortable about her eliminations. So after that, I decided to let her take the lead.

    In August of this year, she told me she wanted panties. So we got her them and it took about nine days for her to consistently go to the potty. Every time she goes, she gets to play with a Winnie the Pooh tea set. We used to reward with M and M’s but the tea set works best.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s