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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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Potty Training the Not-So-Easy Way

When I began to contemplate potty training my oldest son, I only had two bits of collective wisdom floating around in my head: 1. Boys train later than girls and 2. Children who use cloth diapers generally train earlier than those who wear disposables. Since I was planning to train my cloth-diaper-wearing boy, this left me not knowing where – or when – to begin. So, being a librarian, I of course consulted a book: Potty Training Boys the Easy Way: Helping Your Son Learn Quickly--Even If He's a Late Starter by Caroline Fertleman and Simone Cave, and also did a little internet research for good measure. Then I plunged right in (no pun intended).

First, I switched him from my favorite AIOs (bumGenius Freetimes) to my second-favorite (GroVias), hoping that the natural fibers would help him realize when he was wet. Then we started talking about the potty a lot (although he was already quite familiar with the concept – anyone else forget what it’s like to go to the bathroom by yourself?).

I purchased two little potties (one for each bathroom in our house – the inexpensive kind from Ikea), a toilet seat insert in case we wanted to try out the real thing, and several pairs of two different kinds of cloth trainers: Imse Vimse and Blueberry. I thought my son was ready because he had started regularly flooding his diapers -- I’d had to switch from AIOs to prefolds and covers just to keep his clothes dry – and telling me when he was “stinky.”

It was a disaster. He did not want to wear his “big boy undies” or sit on the potty if he wasn’t in the mood. My strong-willed child refused to do what I knew he could do. I tried bribing – er, rewarding – with M & Ms. I played the “big boy” card. I tried letting him wear regular underwear so that accidents would be a lot more dramatic, but the wetness didn’t seem to bother him. Every morning, there were tears when he begged to put on his “biper” instead of trainers. I decided I did not want to make potty training a power struggle, because I knew exactly who would win, and it wasn’t me. So I backed off.

Then, Daddy played the trump card. He promised our son Hot Wheels if he would go in the potty for a week. Success! We just celebrated his third birthday -- sans diapers.
Now he is happily wearing his “big boy undies” and having fewer and fewer accidents. When he does have an accident, he catches himself so that we just have to change his trainers and not his whole outfit. Tonight I smiled with pride when we were getting his pajamas on and he told me he didn’t need to wear a diaper to bed because he was a “big boy.”

I put his Freetime on anyway. Just in case.

Bio: Laurie Walters is a children’s librarian-turned-SAHM who keeps her storytime skills fresh by reading to her two boys and subbing occasionally at a local library. She and her family live in Michigan, where they use cloth diapers, cloth napkins, unpaper towels…and Cottonelle.

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