Thursday, April 19, 2007

Potty training theories abound

As I've mentioned before, my 29-month-old daughter has total control of her bodily functions and talks the potty talk like nobody's business, but she'll only do her business in a diaper.

Josh and I read Toilet Training in Less than a Day and The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Potty Training Problems, and we agreed that the old-fashioned approach of the former probably wouldn't work for Z since it was largely focused on potty education and avoiding accidents--two issues we don't need to address. The second book pointed out some mistakes we'd been making. It recommends against talking about "being a big girl" and "making Mommy proud," since sometimes kids don't want to grow up so fast--they want to hold onto some of their babyhood. Instead, we let Z pick out a nice new potty chair from Target and gave her lots of opportunities to practice going on it. She taught her teddy bear how to go and spent lots of time pulling her underpants up and down. She wore panties most of the time, only switching to diapers for naps and bedtime and the occasional "I need a diaper" gotta-go-right-now emergency.

But as much as she enjoys showing off her underwear and her potty, we're not seeing any progress in the actual use of the potty. So we asked my midwife (a mother of 5) if she had any insights. Her advice? Tell our daughter that she isn't ready for underwear. Say she's still "a bit of a baby who needs to wear diapers and as such, we're putting all the potties away until she gets bigger." No more taking her special potty to daycare or showing it off to friends and family. She can't have it until she's ready to really use it.

Basically, Hillary recommends a healthy dose of reverse psychology. She says all the hard work is done: Z knows how to sense an urge and control the flow, and she's got the mechanics of flushing and hand-washing done. We just need to wait for her to decide she's ready to pee in the potty and we should be home free.

Anyone want to take bets on how long that'll take?