Tuesday, July 04, 2006 9:08 PM

Potty training to the third power

So here's a little more of what's going on right now: potty training three children, all at the same time. Not for the faint of heart. It's helping to keep my from getting too self-absorbed in my painting and reworking my portfolio - HA!

Training three kids is quite different from only one; you can't spend hours sitting in the bathroom with them being encouraging. I would never leave the bathroom otherwise. We suggest, we encourage, we spend 3 minutes in there unless they really want to stay there. We have 6 potties, all around the house, of varying shapes, colors, and sizes. We have lovely posters I drew for them, with stickers. They get (gasp) CANDY for their successes (my kids eat NO sugar - I knew I was saving this up for something!) The whole enterprise is quite a relaxed affair and will most likely take all summer. I wish it was over already, but it will happen when it happens.

We just ordered 18 pairs of cloth training pants at $70, which sounds like quite an expenditure until you think about how much we pay for diapers every week. (The cloth ones are more like undies, and when they're wet, there's no denying it.) And the fact that Pull Ups, which I utterly refuse to buy, come in tiny packs. And that my kids will treat them just like diapers anyway.

But it's more than that - dig this, which I just pulled up as proof for my brother - I'd already read all of this in a book recently.
Some doctors [from the American Pediatrics Association] say that the products are unnecessary and may even delay or prolong potty training. (In 1961, 90% of children were potty trained by age 2 1/2; by 1997, only 22% were.) Training pants give diaper makers the opportunity "to sell into the market two or three years longer than before...and triple the life cycle of that consumer," says Ryan Mathews, a consultant who follows retail trends. (read more)
My brother admitted that I had a point, but then pointed out that I should buy stock. :)

Some books we dig while potty-sitting:

Time to PEE! by Mo Willems (of Knuffle Bunny fame) It's quite silly. We checked it out for a month from the library, returned it, and then checked it out the same day because the kids couldn't bear to leave it there.

Once Upon a Potty (both versions, boy and girl)- I like it because it names all the body parts simply, although we use real words instead of "A pee-pee for making wee-wee."

Too Big for Diapers - what can I say? It's got Ernie and Bert in it. It's very short, so when you have to read it a bazillion times, you can do the versions we do: as if it's being read by a sheep (and you make the pee-er have to baa every time you turn the page; as if it's read by Beaker from the Muppet Show ("Me me me ME me me meemeee."); or sometimes Sophie sings it like an opera. Yes, we're inventive.

When this is all done, we are having a No More Diapers party. A Potty Party, if you will. Sometimes, when I'm changing yet another diaper because someone forgot to tell me they needed to go, I fantasize about what Martha Stewart would do on that theme. (Muahahahaha.)

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