08 Potty Debate

So I haven't given up. I've been seeking counsel from my family over the last few weeks over potty training. It's been an issue that can be frustrating and full of guilt. Today, I've moved my laptop into the baby room and I'm sitting at her little table. She's making a whole heap of mess painting with watercolors, but today I said even if I have the computer in my lap, I'm going to focus on Amelia. I got most of my homework, maybe all actually, done so I could focus on this little one. I'm with her every day, but sometimes between her teachers and my work, we just don't have the time to hang out enjoyably. It doesn't help that I've delegated her to training pants and plastic undies during the day and diapers at night. But instead of that awful method of making her sit there all day until she does her business (yes, I tried that, if you didn't know based on an article I read), I'm just letting her have accidents all day long so she knows what an uh-oh is. And even though we haven't had any actual productive trips to the potty, we have had her recognizing that I'm wet and I need help now, not 5 hours from now thanks to my super-absorbant pull-ups. We've also had her pull me into the bathroom for her to sit on the potty once. She doesn't respond to me asking her if she wants to go. Her two year old stubbornness lets me know that its her decision, not mine. Me forcing the issue sort of made it worse for someone like her.
Granted, this isn't clean and it is more work. I have a pile of wet and dirty clothes soaking in the bathroom and getting hand washed every night. But that's okay, because she's recognizing the discomfort of soiled clothes, she's trying to make a decision on what to do about it, she's asking my help to remove the discomfort, and slowly, but surely, she's seeing the toilet as a place that will relieve discomfort.
So I'm nixing the syndicated old man specialist that wrote the article that showed up in newspapers all over America in early January. I've gone to Caring for Your Baby and your Young Child by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the BabyCenter.com Bulletin Boards and even though I'm a New Yorker, my newspaper of choice, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, who has a potty training secrets board/blog.
What I've determined, accidents have to happen in order for there to be success. Harshness and forcing the issue doesn't work because a strong willed child will always win, unless you want to resort to child abuse. Patience is the absolute key. Patience, patience, patience, patience, patience. Also, having a little faith in your little one to figure it out because they will. And they say a potty trained child doesn't just happen in a week for most folks. A parent can start the process in January and may not see absolute mastering of the potty until the many, many, many months down the road. So the showdown debate is actually over, to be honest. We can say she won, but now I know that there was no contest. Amelia, like most kids, will figure it out when the time comes. Pull-ups certainly don't expedite the learning process so the debate should really be between training pants vs. pull-ups. In this household, training pants certainly seem to be making their point clearer than any diaper ever has. It sucks to pee on yourself.


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