Tag: parenting style

Child Sitting on Potty

Montessori Inspired Toileting

Child Sitting on Potty

We’ve been “potty training” for about 6 months now.  I’m using quotes because a) I don’t think we’ll be at 100% toilet use for a while and b) I don’t really like that term.  He’s a person learning an essential life skill, not a cat refusing to use the litter box.

No matter how you handle it, toilet learning is a hot mess.  Sometimes literally, like when your kid poops in the potty and immediately puts his hand in it.  Or when your kid gets up and runs down the hall with poop falling out as he runs.  Thank goodness for tile floors!

My toilet learning method is heavily influenced by Montessori Toilet Learning (examples here and here), and Homemade Mothering’s Potty Training Manifesto.  Sure, it’s not for everyone, and every child is different.  You know the drill.  This is what’s working for us, and hopefully this will be helpful for other mamas out there.

I gradually began changing the diapering routine when he was about a year old.  Why?  Because he HATED lying on the changing table.  Every diaper was a wrestling match!  So I changed him standing up in the bathroom.  Then I put a potty in the bathroom, and would have him sit there for a moment before putting a new diaper on him.

The real fun began when he started walking at 14 months.  He was already used to seeing and sitting on the potty on a regular basis, so I started taking him to the bathroom frequently throughout the day, regardless of whether I thought he had a dirty diaper or not.  It was definitely hit or miss for a long time, but it became a mostly successful routine. We would go as soon as he woke up, and before/after we did anything (eating, leaving the house, naps, etc.).  If he didn’t want to sit down, I just changed him and we’d move on.  Lately, if I suspect he does need to go I’ll bribe him into sitting with a chocolate chip, but I try to keep the whole thing pressure-free.

So where are we at 20 months?  He’s recently started wearing training pants at home, and he’s learning to pull pants up and down.  He usually pees in the potty, as long as i take him there frequently.  He knows to tell me if he has to poop, but by the time we get to the bathroom its often already…out.  If we do make it in time, I distract him with books and poorly-sung songs to keep him from getting up and running off mid-poop.

A quick Pinterest search for “potty training” returns tons of advice for fast potty training: “3 days or less!” “Potty trained in 1 week!” “Potty train in 24 hours!”.  Every time I come across pins like these, I start to feel anxious.  Am I doing it all wrong?  Should I be rolling up my rugs and letting him run around naked?

And then I come back to my real life, with my un-Pinteresty house and my not-yet-2 child who actually does use the potty fairly often despite my relative laziness in “potty training” him.  And I think we’re doing just fine.  Maybe the 3-day roll-up-the-rugs method would be better/faster, and I guess that’s still an option.  But for now, the slow and steady method is working for us.

How did you handle potty training?  Let us know in the comments!

Pregnancy Delusions: Reality Bites

Almost every mother I know (including myself) remembers exactly how they wanted their pregnancy, labor and delivery method, and parenting philosophy to go down before they experienced it. They envisioned a flawless labor of their choice, streamlined breastfeeding, smiling babies, a doting husband, a full night’s sleep at 4 weeks, good behavior in the grocery store, and back in their size 6 jeans in two months sans stretch-marks (or some other idyllic variation). This is what I’d like to call Pregnancy Delusions of Grandeur.

Like a moth to a flame, women fall for it every time (typically in the 2nd trimester when we are particularly cocky). And this innocent air of presumption is often accompanied by the universally judgmental thought, “that will never happen to me” OR “my child would never cry like a wild banshee during a flight” OR “I can’t believe she is using formula–I will NEVER do that.” This, my friends, is known as a steaming pile of horse shit.

Okay, let’s concede that there are some mamas out there with such strong convictions that their follow-through is as impressive as that net catching a floater in their home water-birthing bath. Everything works perfectly for them. Nothing ever goes wrong. And they fart glitter clouds of cinnamon and sunshine. KUDOS, you dedicated lovely ladies!

No way. NO. WAY. Ugh, I’m depressed.

*HOWEVER* For the rest of us hot messes, these delusions of grandeur get a cold splash of reality when we fall short of our expectations. And this happens often. I remember one of my friends being so convinced she was going to breast feed for 24+ months, come to find out her boob reduction was also a boob juice reduction and after 2 weeks she mom-guilted her way over to the formula tub, God love her. Another had the ultimate confidence that she would birth her baby naturally. And she naturally begged for an epidural after 26 hours of labor.

If Julianne looks this bad, one can only imagine what real people look like. Hugh, on the other hand, actually looks good for once.

I myself was shocked to learn I couldn’t get pregnant the very month we decided to go for it. Or when I finally did become pregnant four years later, I was floored that I would be forced into labor 10 days early with a pre-eclampsia scare. I was stunned to discover that breastfeeding would be extremely painful for a solid 2 months. Or that I would get depressed when I stopped (no one tells you this!). Or that my sweet husband wasn’t getting up with me at night (thanks, honey). I could go on. But the point is: reality bites the big one. And the faster you can adapt, the slower the wrinkles may come.

Look. I’m not suggesting to not prepare. SURE! Do your research. Hell yeah, try to make informed decisions, whatever you decide to do. Home vs. Hospital. Vaginal vs. C-section. Natural vs. Epidural vs. um, Orgasmic? Free-range vs. Attachment vs. Helicopter vs. Authoritative vs. Slow Parenting. It doesn’t matter.

Awe. Pretty Alicia (slow pat on head).

Figure out what you think you like and what is best for your family. And then just know that undoubtedly those plans and decisions will be thwarted at some point. Your “experience” will be tainted (yes, I said taint). Your philosophies will be tried and found wanting. And your mom-guilt over this supposed failure will smack you down every time.


Depressed yet? More like FREED, hot messes! Because this is actually not failure. I’ve since realized it’s all part of the humility and humanity of parenthood. The submission of your strength, will, and beliefs to the best-known, most humbling parenting philosophy there is: SURVIVAL.

So beware. Be aware. Adapt. Try to release that white-knuckled grip. And let go of some of that mom-guilt (and judgment). Your crow’s feet will thank you for it.

‘nuf said.


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