Saturday, May 4, 2013

Potty Training: Jamie's book, the baby book, the potty and lots & lots of pee & poop!

My tiny tot is 17 months old now and before this I never bothered to potty train or use nappies and clinically filled the fat pockets of big ass diaper corporations – yeah shame on me! Well I AM a practical mom and wasn’t that the most expected out of me? Convenience? Esp since being a new mom already meant juggling a million things with less sleep & rest? But then I read this book: Oh Crap. Potty Training. And I read how disposable diapers take 250-500 years to decompose and are filling our landfills at an alarming rate. And how 1 year worth diapers = two fully grown trees. And I fell in love with Jamie Glowacki’s passionate, frank, forth right, and sprinkled with plenty of F words style of writing about potty training. She has potty trained thousands of children and in this book she pours out the philosophy, the age, the pitfalls to avoid and more than anything else she gives you the CONFIDENCE to dive right in without looking back! You can do it AND this needs to be done!

So armed with this “manual”, a cute “Prince of potty” book for Manav, a brand new potty, and 2 more body parts in my tiny tot’s vocabulary (where is your penis? Where is your bum?), I began the journey!

First and foremost, I removed any notion of it being messy. Yes, the method calls for selecting a day and ditching the diaper once and for all (Except for naps & sleep) and I even brought out plastic sheets to cover the couches. But really, it wasn’t so bad. I needed a sheet, but only to protect his naked bum from the cold floor. YES I ditched the day time diapers! And it felt good! Not just because it was a teeny tiny miniscule way of saving the planet (better late than never!) or the money we shall save, but because it meant my little baby boy was officially turning into a “big boy” now! Sigh.

So here’s how day 1 began. Stripped him down and stared at his penis all day. Well we didn’t till then know how often he really peed or what signal or body movement he made when he wanted to go! I’d never been so penis obsessed in my life!

Jamie says the quickest & easiest age to potty train is 20-30 months, and although it’s very much possible to train a 17 month old, it simply takes longer for him to connect the dots. So yeah, every time we thought he was going to pee or saw him begin to pee, we would pick him up and put him on the pot. BUT, BUT, BUT, the “connecting the dots” was taking longer than the timeline mentioned (1-3 days? huh! He still peed on the floor on day 4!).

But have I ever mentioned what a cleanliness freak my boy is? He’s the type who follows the maid around when she’s sweeping, cleaning the mirrors and dusting. WITH his own broom and dusting cloth! And he’s obsessed with tissues! Every time something spills he has to run to the tissue box, pull out a tissue, wipe off the floor and throw the soiled tissue into the garbage can. So it wasn’t at all surprising or extra amusing to watch him pee on the floor, and then run to wipe it off with tissues.

Till day 5. (Phew! Yes! Jamie says usually its 1-3 days, but every kid is unique in his own way – aren’t they?). Day 5 is when “I” connected the dots in “MY” head. “The Power of Habit” book says every habit has a cue-routine-reward, which is what we need to exploit when we’re changing a habit. Here, the cue was “wanting to pee”, the routine was “peeing on the floor” which had to be changed to “peeing on the potty” and the reward, ahem! The reward was where things were going wrong!

The reward for my kid was the excitement of wiping off his pee from the floor with tissues! When that’s something he LOVED doing- why would he bother peeing on the pot?

So I changed the reward. The new reward was “carrying the potty with pee in it to the big pot to dispose it off"! Worked like a charm! That distracted him from the obsession of tissues …and yeah, pretty soon he finally “BEGAN” to point at the potty when he wanted to go. AND he would be pretty excited to carry the potty to the toilet (toddlers!!)

Though it’s a still a long way to go and I haven’t followed the Jamie’s method to the T, I completely recommend the book to anyone who is thinking of beginning the process without really having a clue how to (like me!). To people who may think you gotta be crazy to read a whole 300 pages on potty training AND spend a whopping $15 on it: Well there IS that much to be said about the topic! No page is unnecessary. And come to think of It, it’s still less than only a weeks’ expense on diapers!

The potty I used is a plain vanilla one (60,000 Indonesian Rupiah / Rs. 300/ $6). I wanted a one with a slim front and something he could hold on to “while” sitting on it (so it doesn’t slide away). He hates to hover for even an extra second, so no point buying one with a backrest too. The fancy ones were too broad (to stand and pee), didn’t have anything to hold on to while sitting so would slide away, and I really don’t know what’s the point of having music, potty cover and esp a tissue roll holder on it! The simple the better!

The “Prince of the potty” book I got for Manav is totally cute, every time I pull it out to read he excitedly points to his potty. It’s about how he’s become a big boy now and can do his business on the potty. (Although I never read it to him WHILE he's on the pot, he isn't the kind who loves sitting on it least not yet!)

The process is still on. No idea how long it will take. I sure hope it’s through BEFORE our big move to India (3 weeks from now!). Cuz then EVERYTHING will turn topsy turvy for the little fella, new people, new friends, new house, new weather. For someone who loves a routine, it will not be an easy first few months!

The two major take aways from Jamie's book are that (1) consistency is the key , keep putting him on the pot every single time till he starts going on his own & (2) once you take the diaper off, DON’T PUT IT BACK ON (Except naps, sleeps, and er, umm, I even put it on when I go to the mall). It’s a slow process and will take time. I know he will eventually figure it out, like he has figured so much already in his short 1.5 years of life!

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