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AP and potty training -- questions

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  • AP and potty training -- questions

    Hi -- I am wondering what approaches to potty training other AP-oriented moms have taken.

    My daughter just turned 4 and is not yet potty-trained. She doesn't even want to be potty-trained. My husband and I have half-heartedly attempted to train her, but we're not motivated to push the issue either. In fact, I know one reason my daughter likes wearing diapers is that she likes the TLC she receives from mom and dad when they change her. I am reluctant to break her of that attachment she feels towards us.

    Will she eventually decide to just use the potty when she is good and ready? Or do I need to keep nudging her, in spite of my reluctance to do so? Of course, all our friends and neighbors think it's scandalous that our 4-year-old is still in diapers (if only they knew she still nurses, too! ;-)).

    Again, I am wondering what experiences other AP moms have had with potty training and if there really can be a "child-led" approach to this the way there is to weaning, independent sleeping, etc.

    Thank you!
    Becky J

  • #2
    In our experience we felt less willing to deal with clean-up issues that potty training actually requires at first to really get too into it. Our son was rather ambivalent about it to. We kept waiting until it was warm so he could run around pantless. Then he just went wherever or would ask for a diaper to put on to go. She sound like a kid that doesn’t want to be made over or obviously 'trained'. A four year old is different developmentally then a younger learner so you might have to discover what motivates her. Maybe suggest that today we will stay home without pants --then say if she feels like it she can sit on the potty. Very undramatic, almost like you don't care.
    You could you have an NVC style conversation with her about it. See this link if you are not familiar with it. After all she is older and better able to understand and communicate.
    Good luck!


    • #3
      Becky J,

      We were in a similar situation. At 2 1/2 he was interested and did start using the potty without any suggestion from us other than reading a couple of potty books and having a potty available. Then at some point he decided he did not want to potty train. His potty training was not our most AP experience. What finally "worked" was having a potty party (not a potty party like in the book, just a party to celebrate him potty training) Here is our story :

      At 2 DS seems to be potty training easily and of his own initiative. DS can annouce that he is going to pee, run downstairs grab the potty, bring it upstairs and pee in it. Mom thinks this toilet training thing is not so hard.

      DS refuses to potty. Mom attempts to address and understand potty refusal issues like a good AP mom. Mom does not make any progress in this area or have any great insights into DS 's psyche. Mom also purchases "fun underwear" and reads more potty books to DS. DS is NOT INTERESTED. Mom has low moment and decides to bribe/reward DS for potty usage. Mom feels too yuck about bribery and can't quite do it so she asks DS if he would like to be bribed/reward. DS declines. Bribery attempt abandoned.

      Mostly mom and dad attempt to do nothing about potty refusal, figuring he will do it when he is ready. Mom and dad vow to not even mention the potty. Months go by, a year goes by.

      Finally when DS is 3 3/4 mom and dad decide to try something. They tell DS that they are going to have a potty party with presents and cake and fun and he is going to stop wearing a diaper. DS is enthusiastic.

      Potty party day comes. DS is not impressed with his toileting themed gifts. DS is not impressed with attempts to get him to wear underwear. Family attempts to go out, DS refuses to wear underwear, parents refuse to put on diaper. Family at impasse. Mom learns lesson #1: cannot force DS to potty train against his will. DS thinks of a compromise and decides to wear pants without underwear. Family celebrates and enjoys being released from the cult of underwear.

      Day continues uneventfully with a few "do you have to pee" reminders. DS declines. Mom finally realizes that DS is refusing to pee and has not peed for 5 hours. Mom learns lesson #2: Cannot force DS to potty train against his will (see lesson #1). Mom and Dad explain the dangers of not peeing ie. bladder infections. DS decides to pee.

      Things go smoothly after this. DS is effectively potty trained after the weekend. There is of course some accidents including the brief but legendary pooping on the carpet phase but generally the deed is done.

      Becky J, though what we did worked, I don't feel great about it in retrospect. I don't feel horrible about it or anything but I always wonder if there was a better way. A way he could have gotten there more on his own. Was the potty party any different than a bribe? Did we gently nudge him into potty training or did we pressure him? Did we just need to wait another few months?

      I'm looking forward to hearing about your approach.


      • #4
        With my girls I was a micromanaging fool. I was just talking about this today with some local mamas.
        With Ronnie, I did nothing. I mean nothing other than read a few potty books and leave the door open when I or his Daddy was using the bathroom.

        A few days ago he decided this was for him and that was that.

        I am somewhat sad. He is my last one and I loved the baby diapers.


        • #5
          Oh I was so sad too EcoMaMa to have my daughter decide it was time for her to start using the potty..I was CD addict!!!!!
          I pretty much ditton on EcoMaMa
          Our experence with both children.... we let them go themselves.....DS did not start until he was 4 and DD went a little after her #3 birthday.
          I find the more I relax about the thing I want changed, envision it done and occuring the way I need it to be, it changes much quicker and with less hassle


          • #6
            How did it work out?

            I would like to know how this worked out?
            I am currently struggling with my 4 yr old son. He is supposed to start school next year and I don't have the financial freedom to home school or pay for private school. I have been trying to 'wait him out' but he just does not seem interested. He has been getting better with his dressing skills the last month or so - so we seem to be on the path, but I am nervious that we are cutting his time short to when I am going to have to force him. He has been successful a couple of times for 'prizes' but when the prizes stopped flowing, he lost interest. Someone suggested to me that I take him out of the pullups and put him in underpants and have him change and wipe himself after accidents and I think that is my next step once he gets really good at pulling up his pants.



            • #7
              My son is in a phase with pottying too. When he's at daycare (two days a week) he tells Miss A that he needs to go to the potty, and brags to her that at home he doesn't use the potty, he gets to use his diaper. So he knows how to use the potty, when to, etc. He potties here before bath and bed and such, but still just runs around peeing on the floor.

              I think that he knows that mama and daddy love him even if he pees on the floor, but isn't so sure about daycare. I feel like ick telling him big boys pee on the potty and all the other things that people say, so I'm quite content to wait until he's ready.

              I'd love to hear everyone else's stories.


              • #8
                Here's our two stories (so far):

                With my first, he seemed interested around 15 months. We didn't have appropriate supplies and hadn't guessed he'd be interested that soon, but helped him on the potty and with his clothes. He'd walk up to the potty and attempt to take his pants off (consequently, we've moved to elastic waist pants for him and for his sister once she was 6 months old). At some point during this time, he had a potty trauma where I was getting him out of the bath and threw my back out. I put him down hard on the toilet to avoid dropping him in the tub full of water with my suddenly limited mobility. I couldn't walk for a few days afterwards. The whole thing was scary for him and he did not want anything to do with the potty, so we did nothing.

                At 2, we attempted to get rid of diapers and put him in cotton underpants. I was inconsistent though and frequently ran out of cotton underpants or towels and dug out the cloth diapers. He became dry overnight, but pee training was slow gowing. He did catch on by 3 though. Helpful things for him was letting him tell me when he had to go, reminders made him resistant and clothing he could operate independently. Setting up his potting environment to include things he could do himself and things he enjoys (he had a box with coloring supplies and books to look at on the potty).

                At 3, he regressed at started having poop accidents frequently in his pants. I believe what happened was at the time of my daughters birth some unplanned things happened including giving birth in a different state than planned. He ended up staying overnight with grandparents (for the first time) for two nights (he could stay in the hospital but chose them over the scary hospital but got to sleep all snuggled in between them). Anyway, he ate a lot more processed food than his body was used to and ended up being very constipated. We ended up eventually giving him a suppository to get it out and avoid further medical complications. He had a quite painful bowel movement, but got it out. Ever since then, he reflexively tries to hold his poop in. We've tried lots of things I didn't want to do - like rewarding and having him clean up his own mess.

                He just turned four and we have not made any progress. We have a doctors appointment later this month to rule out any medical reasons (I think it is only fear of a painful bowel movement, but won't hurt to check if there is a medical reason). I believe this is impacting his self-confidence in preschool.

                The newest thing we have decided to try is implementing a routine sit-on-the toilet time. We are a family with a lot of routine/rhythm to our day. For the first 2 years of my son's life we did not have a rhythm at all. We eventually decided to start a routine to our day and sleeping times and it is now instrumental to the way we go about our days. I'll admit that the parents did decide to start a routine, but the kids help us with setting the routine (the baby we just observe and try to figure out what things she needs at certain times naturally and then do them at the same time everyday...barring nursing, as she nurses on demand). Anyhow, we've started doing a sit-on-the-toilet time where a parent reads to him every morning after breakfast. This is new and he hasn't "had results" with it yet, so I don't know if it will ultimately be helpful or not. It seems helpful right now though.

                For my daughter (11 months), we tried something different altogether and are practicing EC (elimination communication). It feels very child-led and natural to me. She peed in the potty 5 or 6 times yesterday and pooped in the potty once yesterday (more than I can say for my 4 year old). Potty times are sweet with her. I put her on a baby bjorn potty when she wakes up and anytime I go. We sit and smile at each other. She always tries to go (now, after we've been doing this awhile). I really don't make a deal out of if she goes or not. She's even started looking around in the potty to see if there is anything in there or not. She wears a combo of prefolds and pull-up cotton underpants that snap off (tinkle time trainers), and is sometimes naked at home. When we go out she wears wool longies (or wool weather appropriate covers) with elastic waistbands. She already starts to copy me and tries to pull up the trainers. I've chosen things she will ultimately have success operating and given them to her now so that when she has the motor skill to pull down or up her pants she will have success.

                Pottying with my daughter is what feels most natural to me right now, though I'll admit fully that EC is not the only way to have a natural pottying experience. I don't feel like putting her on the potty is pressuring her or adult led (at least not in a negative way). She didn't ask for a diaper either. I don't feel like putting her on the potty is any different (at her age) than putting her in a high chair or a car seat.


                • #9
                  AP and potty training questions

                  My kids are still in the training phase. We use diapers at night still. My son just today he is 4 did #2 on the potty. My girls are almost 3 and have been using the potty for about 6 months with a few accidents, but again diapers at night.

                  For our trip we leave this Sunday and will be using a diaper or pull-up for the plane trip, but will still ask them if they need to go, they like to be out of diapers/pull-ups if they are wet. But really would rather not have to worry about a possible accident should they forget or cant go when we go to the bathroom.

                  Just take diapers if she is not comfortable doing #2 in the potty yet. It hasnt set my kids back at all, we use them at nap and bedtime still.


                  • #10
                    I feel like a total failure when it comes to potty training. When our daughter was 8mo. we started trying EC, but found out about it from some guy my husband works with and didn't really do any good research, or learning how. So that was good for a little while we really thought we were doing well. Then it went downhill pretty fast. Then she got sick and had a really bad bowel movement that was painful. I tried nursing her while she sat on the potty which was not good. So we gave up for a while. Then we tried again, and she began to really refuse the potty and act very scared of it. Then she started to show interest again, when one of her friends potty trained so we tried the whole 3 day potty training thing which made us all exhausted and cranky and didn't feel AP or right to us at all. Then we got some cloth trainers and did the whole sticker chart thing, worked for a few days and then she decided she didn't want to do it anymore and stopped telling us. Next we moved on to bribing with candy, not effective at all. Most recently she was telling us when she had pooped and saying that she needed to go to the potty we would take off her poopy diaper and let her sit on the potty, we got lazy and decided the clean up was way more than we had energy for and we stopped doing that, because she was never telling us until after she pooped. We have come up with nothing and are expecting baby number 2 any day so we have kind of put a stop to any potty training efforts, but I really dread taking this on again and feel like I just haven't been able to find a good method. Now she finds it hilarious when she pee's on the floor and will take her diaper off randomly and run around the house and hide so she can pee on the floor which is frustrating and makes me think we need to try again, but I can't imagine it's a good time to potty train being full term.


                    • #11
                      We decided to wait until DS was ready, and I think we've gotten there. He turned 3 one month ago. Even though we've had potties around the house for more than a year, he never ever peed or pooped in one. We didn't push it, and he would sit on them occasionally, would always come to the bathroom and watch us, and so on.

                      About two weeks ago I realized he was finally outgrowing his BG 3.0s, which he's been wearing since he was about 4 months old. So I decided to pack away all the diapers and put him in disposable pullups. He watched us put them all away, and I told him that he was now too big for diapers. The NEXT DAY, he said he wanted to pee on the toilet (we have a toilet seat with a built-in kid seat; he still won't go on a little potty), and he did, for the first time ever. He didn't want to put another pullup on, so we've basically gone pants-less around the house ever since, and he's been peeing and pooping in the potty with no issue. He'll announce he has to go, then he goes and does it, flushes, and doesn't need help. It's crazy!

                      When we're out of the house he wears a pullup, and he has gone on public toilets a couple of times, to my surprise. He won't tell me he needs to go then, but if I have to go, he'll sit on the toilet as well. When he's playing outside, it's very hard to get him to come in and use the toilet, so he'll go in the pullup then.

                      I have no idea if this means he's well on his way, but I'm happy that the one pack of pullups we bought is still not gone! I'm not sure if putting the diapers away made a difference, or if it was a coincidence.

                      This was probably not much help, but it's been my experience so far.