Wednesday, July 30, 2008

let's talk about poop, baby

Daniel's been dry since late January, I reckon, and has been pooping in the potty (and sometimes the Big Boy toilet!) since around mid June.

Staying dry wasn't a challenge at all, despite me doing everything his daycare providers said was a Very Bad Idea. Walking arund with no pants on apparently teaches them to wee anywhere at anytime, but Daniel took to the idea of NOT peeing his pants OR on the floor, really well.

An all week Thomas Fest helped (thanks for the idea, Heather!) A LOT, and worked so well that he's only recently dropped his universal sign for "I'd like to watch a DVD, please", it being he'd drag his potty out and place it in front of the TV before taking his pants off and sitting on the potty whenever the viewing urge hit him.

So he's been quick learner in re the whole Not Dampening His Pants dealio.

I do NOT take any credit for this, aside from going with when I thought the time might be right-ish, because he pretty much taught himself. After all - and this is the basis for My Big Potty Training Theory which is based on a control group of One Only toddler - so it must be right - little ones live to learn, that's all they do and it's all they WANT to do.

And this is how I applied that fact to my theory: Up until a certain age, all bodily excrements are performed under automatic pilot, ie they don't think about it, they just do it. AT that age, they're gaining awareness of when they do it and where they do it, so (and here's more theory) if we DON'T provide them an alternative to crapping their pants, surely they'll then learn TO crap their pants instead? I suggest then, that this is when toddlers become "resistant" to potty training. After all, children learn by repetition (just watch your kid put this in a box and take it out again and out it in and take it out and put it in and take it out add infinitum until he finds something else to repeat until it drives you nuts before moving on to the next weird little, albeit short lived, habit) so if we taught them to use their diaper by allowing them to do so repeatedly at a time when they were gaining an awareness of what was going on down there, then we've taught them well.

If, on the other hand, we provide the means to learn something new, (like, random idea here, USING the POTTY), isn't it probable that they WILL learn at least SOMETHING about the experience at hand?

And that's my theory and why I don't take credit for the (relatively) early age at which Daniel became dry.

Pooping was a bigger transition, and Daniel would hang on ALL DAY if necessary, waiting to poop in his sleep nappy. Every time he did, I did what I thought was "right" and cleaned him up while offering encouragement and advice and telling him all about big boys who pooped in the potty.

Seeings as he knew to wait until he was wearing his catchment device, I knew he knew what to do, so it was kind of frustrating that wasn't he doing it.

So I asked his daycare providers what they thought might help.

(But! Don't be afraid to use ideas gleaned from people you'd ASSUME would have to know fuck all about children because sometimes The Childless DO find the solution you need, because sometimes it's is too hard to see it when you're looking RIGHT AT the problem)


They suggested doing NOTHING when faced with The Righteous Dump.

I do NOT mean they suggested I let him stew in it while he thought about his actions, I mean they meant (what?) clean him up as usual, but do nothing emotionally.

Don’t acknowledge the “accident”, or that it even was an "accident", and avoid providing reassurance.


The reasoning behind this was that reassuring them "it’s okay” (or whatever) and/or telling them that it was “an accident” kind of teaches them that it kind of ISN’T okay, becasue if it really WAS okay, we wouldn’t have to tell them it WAS.

And this can stress them out because all they really want to do is keep us happy.

Additionally, any reassurance beyond “it’s okay” reinforces not only that it’s NOT okay, but that THISWASABIGMISTAKE!OMGOMGOMG!!

Keep it calm, don’t apportion an emotion or a judgment to the experience, and don’t even TALK about pooping in the potty. By now, if they're peeing in the potty then they know what to do and where to do anything more, uh, substantial too, so it’s just a matter of putting the theory into practice.

And my addition to all this is that when they do marry theory with practice, go nuts. Sing, dance, clap, and celebrate THAT moment, and don't worry about the next.

So I stopped encouraging Daniel to poop in the potty, and stopped reassuring him that all kids make mistakes, it’s only time and bla bla BLA, and stopped acknowledging pretty much EVERYTHING poop related.

And he really DID learn to not crap his pants amazingly fast after that.

I'm NOT saying that this is THE way, because god knows I didn't even attempt THE way in re The Pee, and THAT worked out FINE and Daniel is showing no early signs of a future psychiatric need.

What I'm saying (again) is that tis is what worked for us, and it happened to be a GREAT idea suggested to me by THEM, so while I'd LOVE you to thank ME for my brilliance, um, go ahead. It was all my idea. *whistles innocently*

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