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.

1 comment:

Evenspor said...

Hi. I wasn't sure where to reply to your qustion on my blog about Montessori equipment.

Do you want the knobbed cylinder blocks? The best price I've seen on a full-sized set of knobbed cylinders is Grandpa's Montessori on ebay. He usually has a set up for less than $100, including shipping. He has one up right now:

There's also this set in another ebay store for a pretty good price:

You could also check out discount suppliers like or in the US or in Canada. is a little more expensive, but I have heard that their quality also tends to be a little better. Check their bargain basement.

I have heard many people say they wish they had just bought one of the classroom packages in the first place, so that may be something to look into as well.

Hope that helps,