Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Potty-Training a 19-month-old? (Why no - no, I'm not!)

A couple months ago, I declared and documented my first attempts at potty-training.  Yes, Gwendolyn is young, but she had been displaying definite signs of being able to potty-train.  And I figured it was worth a shot.  Why change two sets of diapers when one of your children is ready for the potty?

After a couple weeks of effort, a resurgence of interest in the potty from the little one, and a successful episode with the potty (which -- yes -- precipitated a wildly-ridiculous but much-deserved "POTTY DANCE" from the Simko family -- emphasis on those capital letters, and the word ridiculous), I've decided to let potty-training take a backseat.

What made me change my mind?  Here are the reasons.

1) The Possibility of Regression

I've heard from many-a-seasoned parent that even if you make great strides with potty-training, a major life event could inadvertently push that "reset" button in your child.  A "major life event" could be something as minor as moving your child into a big kid bed or something as major as having a baby.  Since having a baby is becoming more and more real at our house (34 weeks??  Where did you COME from?), I figured Gwen would probably regress.  When I started, I really thought we'd have more time to train before Birdie made her appearence on the scene, but then I realized...

2) The Reality of Baby

Again, let me emphasize my shock: 34 weeks.  That doesn't sound like a big deal if Birdie arrives on-time or later, because that would mean I have at least 6 weeks left.  But if she were to come at 37 weeks, then my goodness:  we only have 3 more weeks left to prepare.  That sudden dose of reality made me come to terms with the fact that making a solid, consistent effort towards potty-training would just be futile right now, which brings me to number 3...
3) My Energy Level (of lack-thereof)

I have very limited energy right now.  Some days (like today) are great: I've already done a workout, worked for an hour for my freelance gig, spent time with Gwen, and am sitting down to write this post.  It's a good day.  But yesterday?  I changed our sheets and washed the dishes and felt like I'd done enough for the day.  Because I am running on limited energy -- the amount of which changes daily -- I have to keep my schedule very open and flexible.  So if I can't sweep and mop the floors, it's not a big deal.  No one really cares but me (and Gwen -- who seems to have picked up a little bit of my OCD).  But if I was spending all my energy on potty-training, then I think the results would have been frustrating for me, Gwen, and that guy who has to gets to live with us (hi Elliott!)I have to say that Elliott's been a sincere trooper as it is with my irrational outbursts, so I don't think I'd want to put him through much more of those panic attacks.  The bottom line: I need my energy, so I'm shelving the potty-training.

4) Realization: It's Actually Easier to Change Two Sets of Diapers

Another thought dawned on me as potty-training wore on (and maybe it was actually said by a reader): let's say Gwen WAS potty-trained in time for baby and DIDN'T regress, it would actually be a lot more work to have her potty-trained.  Instead of changing a diaper every 3 hours, I'd have to be on the lookout for a potty every hour, and carrying around a stash of emergency-clothes-and-diapers-and-other-needed-supplies.  I'd prefer to just change a diaper every couple hours.  So that's what we're doing.

In Conclusion

All this being said, Gwendolyn is still interested in the potty.  When she asks to sit on the potty, certainly I drop everything and we camp out in the bathroom for a half hour or so.  We even have a basket of books to read in the bathroom whenever she declares it's "potty time."  But at this point, I'm letting Gwen take the lead -- although I do believe that my brief initial "push" has gotten her used to the whole "potty time" idea.  I've heard from many parents that when you're kid is ready, they'll be ready.  And Gwendolyn is very independent that I don't think it will take too long to train her when she's two or two and a half.

  • More thoughts on potty-training?  Are you currently in the process?  Let me know!

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