By Carrie Lauth
Ah, potty training! Go to a local bookseller and you will find dozens of books on the subject. Search the Net and there are thousands of websites with information on how to do it stress free. There are even people who are capitalizing on a parent's frustration with potty training by offering to do it for you, for a hefty sum! I honestly can't imagine anything more unseemly than paying someone to teach my child to "go".
I have successfully potty trained two out of 3 kids so far, baby number 3 is only 14 months so she is off the hook for a few months at least ;)
I seem to be the envy of the playgroups when other Moms see that my 3 year old son has been in whitey tighties for over a year. My oldest was also 2 when he potty learned.
For me, potty training starts with a newborn. Now don't get me wrong...I do diaper my babes (unlike the native African mothers who wear their babies on their backs and who, to avoid being soiled on, learn to read their babies' cues so well that they know when their newborn needs to be held over a bush...no, I'm not kidding!) but I have always used cloth diapers, which encourages babies to train early. I'm not a longhaired, barefoot, off-the-grid hippie (not that there's anything wrong with that, but you're more likely to find me in Doc Martens than Birkenstocks!) but I have been cloth diapering since the beginning.
It has saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars, but I also like the fact that my babies begin to make the association with the uncomfortable wet feeling and the knowledge that they can prevent it. Most babies will wake up dry in the morning at several months of age, demonstrating that they are physically able to "hold it". In my opinion, Pull Ups are evil and yet another invention that some clever businessman came up with that parents now think is a necessity. Along with formula, baby swings, and the like. Pull Ups just enable a 5 year old to keep soiling himself. Research has shown that cloth diapered babies potty learn several months earlier than disposable diapered babies.
So here's Grandma's recipe (and I do owe it to my Mother, like most of the good stuff I know about parenting) for easy potty training, even if you choose not to cloth diaper.
When the inevitible accidents happen, don't scold. Be patient and gracious. This is part of the job. Remember that even if you decide to spring for carpet cleaning, you will still come out ahead if you don't have to buy diapers for another year or two!
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