Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I don't ask you about your toilet habits so back off my kid

When did it become acceptable for one complete stranger to ask another complete stranger if the latter's toddler is potty trained?

For instance...

...The other day in the grocery store. I just ran in to buy a few items when the (complete stranger) nice older lady checking my groceries asked, out of the clear blue, if Chicky was potty trained yet.

Uh, no.

"Oh," looking at Chicky, "Someone's still using baby diappies. You're not a baby anymore. You need to make tinkle in the potty."

Even Chicky was stunned. Guilt from a total stranger? Ain't that a bitch?

Not to mention that, no, Chicky is not a baby anymore, so why was the (complete fricking stranger) nice older lady speaking in baby talk? I tink someone needs to cut back on dere houwers and go back to da home for dere wedicine.

It seems wherever we go these days there's always someone inquiring about the status of Chicky's potty usage. And by "inquiring" I mean sticking their pointy noses where they don't belong. The older, grandmotherly types can't believe that she wasn't toilet trained by her second birthday (oh, the horror!). Mothers of other toddler's want to compare notes and make sure there kid is on schedule, if not doing better, than other kids their age. Mothers of slightly older children want to offer advice - even if you don't want it and you didn't ask for it.

These types are usually the exception, not the rule, thankfully. But then there is my family.


My dad, whom I doubt had too much of a hand in getting me potty trained at the ridiculous age of 18 months, is always the first to gently chastise his only grandchild for still wearing diapers. He's followed by his lady friend, my Nana, and my sister. None of them, I should add, have offered to train Chicky themselves but they're always there to ask what's taking so long. Sometimes I go along with them. Often I stay silent and change the subject.

(I love my family. I love my family. I love my family.)

But here's my secret: I'm in no hurry to have my daughter use the toilet and she, either feeding off my apathy or going on her own timeline, is in no hurry either. And honestly I find it convenient when taking my daughter out to the mall, for instance, that she's still in diapers. No scary sounds of "Uh oh" followed by a trip to Gymboree for some dry pants. Not once have I had to deal with being in aisle 7 of the grocery store, sandwiched between the cans of peas and the spaghetti sauce, and hearing the words, "Mommy, I need to go potty NOW." That will come soon enough, thankyouverymuch.

Nope, I'm in no rush at all.

I'm a fairly laid back person. I believe when it comes to certain matters Nature will step in when necessary, so why fight it? Chicky will use the potty when she's ready. To use a tired old saying, I don't think she'll be the only kid in diapers on the first day elementary school.

I've always felt this way but I will admit the pressure from others started to get to me. What if I was doing my daughter a disservice by not gently leading her toward potty training? We have videos and books and two potties in the house. We talk about the potty, we talk about big girl underwear, but still Chicky is not interested enough to try it herself. What if it was me who was the problem?

But then this weekend I caught Chicky, if you will excuse the cliche Mommy blogger talk, making that scrunched up face that could only mean one thing - she was about to poop. I coerced her onto the potty - okay, I picked her up and ran her to the bathroom, yanked off her pants, and put her down on the pot - where she cried a little at first but then proceeded to talk excitedly about getting candy. Because that's what happens when big girls use the potty. They get candy.

She talked. And sat. And talked. And sat. And nothing came out.

(Sounds like someone's been reading "Once Upon a Potty" too much, eh?)

Nothing came out that day in her diaper either. Or the next day. Or the next. Until the fourth day when she made that face again and I gently encouraged her to use the potty. And she screamed in terror. My little girl was terrified to use the potty. That's when I knew it was time to start listening to her, and to my gut, and cool it with the toilet talk.

Which means, the next time someone suggests to my daughter that she's somehow inadequate because she's not toilet trained the Mama Bear in me will have to come out. I almost feel sorry for that woman in the grocery store. I'll have to make sure I don't go through her line again so I won't feel the need to tell her to back the fuck off.


motherbumper said...

And this is exactly why I love you: we have the same potty philosophy and we suffer the same assvice on potty training from strangers AND family (shame on them all - and hell, no one has offered to start training on my behalf either).

btw - I would probably tell her to back the f*ck off which makes me kind whitetrash - but whatever *shrug*.

Blog Antagonist said...

My kids were both over three when they were potty trained. I let them call the shots. And I, like you, was in no hurry. I didn't want the stress or the inconvenience.

You're wise to ignore everybody else and go with your gut. It works every time.

kittenpie said...

NO, you're totally right - if they are not into it, there's no use in trying. My mom was forever on about whether I was training her yet, from a year onwards, since apparently I was trained at a year. whatever. I told her off innumerable times, and she finally got the hint.
When Pumpkinpie first started out, she then stopped after a month, but we left it alone, knowing there was no need for pushing and that she would be going to daycare soon. When she decided six months or so later that she wanted to, it happened in like one day.

Manic Mommy said...

Oh, great; now you've gone and made her anal retentive.

Seriously? They're ready when they're ready. You can spend six months in potty pergatory or you can just wait the same six months and she'll get there anyway.

Lastly, public toilets are not for the faint of heart. Carry a. lot. of Purell.

Anonymous said...

I swear I didn't even potty train my kids. Like you I gathered the goods - and one day, well, they used the potty.

'Scuse me but the b*tch in me says that you cross your fingers behind your back and your toes inside your shoes (which means you're not jinxing yourself, in case you didn't know) and the next person who gives you ridiculous unsolicited advice you sling back with something awful. (I won't even write it here). It kind of tells people to mind their own f-ing beeswax.

Tania said...

We're in the exact same boat over here, and doing the exact same thing. So far it's just my FIL who bugs me about it. I just tell him to come on over and be my guest at trying.

Amy said...

I wrote a post about this exact thing this summer. And P.S. - The Poo isn't trained. And that's OK for now.

Trena said...

So Owen's only 17 months and we're no where near ready to even start thinking about potty training, but this is what I think: I totally agree with the whole working with the kid's timeline. Seriously, why stress both yourself and the kiddo out over something that's not going to happen until the kid is fully on board anyway? Kudos to you for listening to what Chicky is trying to tell you (verbally or otherwise). As for the lady in the grocery store--ugh. We don't get too much flak from strangers yet, but I'm just itching for my first random comment trying to 'help' me with my kid.

Whirlwind said...

She'll get it when she's ready. Einey was just about three when she finally wanted to go and it was very easy. I'd ask her every morning if she wanted to try the potty and the answer was always "no". One morning shortly before her birthday, she finally said "yes" and she barely had accidents after that. Meenie and Moe trained on their own from watching their siblings.

I have to say, I was a tad dismayed when Moe trained at around 15 months. It definitely made trips out much harder as she felt the need to test drive every single toilet. She still does and at times I long to say just go in your diaper.

Hang in there, when she's ready, she'll tell you!

karengreeners said...

this is EXACTLY where we re at 2 1/2. And I could care less. We'll get there.

josetteplank.com said...

With my first, I was on a Potty Training Program. She finally trained at about 3 years old. It was horrible and stressful and constipation was becoming our enemy.

With my second, I did nothing. She finally trained at about 3 years old.

There's my data sample of two.

I say to follow her lead like you've been doing. I know too many kids who were pushed into pushing and who are now on poop constipation medicines because their will is stronger than their desire for M&Ms. Don't stress. Really. And shame on anyone who approaches little kids and tries to guilt them regarding their bodies.

Lawyer Mama said...

I'm totally with you! I read somewhere that the average SUCCESSFUL potty training happens for girls about 2 months before 3 and for boys about 2 months after. And that's the average. I, thankfully, had so many people tell me "You can potty train at 2 for 1 year or you can potty train at 3 in a week." Worked for us.

Maddy said...

It's definitely a generational thing. You don't see many adults in diapers so eventually.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Sarah said...

I fully agree! I ask her every day if she wants to use the potty (she's 2 1/2) and she always says "No" in this why would you even ask that question tone of voice, and I drop it until the next day. She really has absolutely no interest in the potty, and we are fine with that. Don't listen to the wierdo's that train too early, painfully! It will be easy for you when it does happen.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Oh, I'm getting this in a huge way now, too, since my son is 3 AND he will not talk to ANYONE in public. So, not only is he in diapers, he is mute. Having gone through this twice before, I can only say, don't worry---when she's ready, she'll be ready. I'll take diapers any day than pee on the rug, the couch, the car seat, etc.

Unknown said...

In olden times when my kids were babies, I didn't even BEGIN training until they were 3. Conventional wisdom 12 years ago was that 3 was the age to start. I'm not sure why it's now two, but it's a lot easier on both the kid and the parents when the child is PHYSICALLY ready as well as emotionally ready. With that said, my daughter was the slowest girl to potty train in the free world. Some day I'll tell you the story of how we finally broke down and took her to Children's at 5. Not a pretty story. But she's totally trained now. No diapers in high school. Which is a GOOD THING.

Two Shews said...

When I started searching preschools last January, everyone would only take Jake is he was potty trained-- he was nowhere near ready. By February, I was resigned that it would be MONTHS before we shed the $30 a week diaper habit. He just had no interest.

Then one day I was folding up some Cars undies and he wanted to try them on. And the next day he wore them to day care. And he wore them every day after that. He had the ability but lacked the will for god knows how long... And then one day, he was ready. I take no credit or blame.

We were in pullups at night for about six months, and then he was done. Still the occasional accidents when he gets distracted, but no tears and no pressure. Chicky will be ready when she's ready, and nothing you do will stop her!

Stimey said...

You're right. YOU know what's right for your child. No one else does. I did some gentle pushing of my now-four-year-old and he wasn't there. So I stopped. And when he was ready, he went from pull-ups 24 hours a day to underpants 24 hours a day in less than 2 weeks. Chicky will get there. And she'll get there when SHE's ready. Busybodies be damned.

flutter said...

would you have loved to have asked that old bat if SHE was potty trained?

Jess Riley said...

Oh man, people are just way too nosy.

Keep on keepin' on...this is one of those "we all get there on our own schedules" kinds of things. :)

Julie Pippert said...

I have been known to reply, "Oh heavens, we don't believe in that style of old-fashioned parenting. Look where it got the world today! So much violence. Toilet training! We prefer to give peace a chance."

And then they decide to Not Engage The Crazy Lady Ever Ever Again.

Using My Words

Lara said...

the only people i ever ask, "is ______ potty trained yet?" are parents of kids i work with, and i only ask because it's pertinent to my job - that is, i ask so that i know if i should be working to encourage potty use or not. i certainly hope (and have evidence to believe) that they understand my reasons for asking and aren't offended.

but yeah, people who are uninvolved in the process? need to keep their mouths shut.

Anonymous said...

That cashier was totally out of line. Both of my boys were past the age of three before they would do more than just sit on the potty for a few minutes. And to me, "potty trained" means being able to recognize the need to go, hold it until getting to the bathroom, pull down their pants, go, wipe, pull back up their pants, and wash their hands. IMHO, until they can do all of that, they aren't really potty trained.

Table for Five

Hannah said...

I am also backing off on the potty training. I tried for a while, but I spent the weekends saying "do you need to go potty?" every 10 minutes to avoid accidents. And after a month of this I realized I was being trained quite efficiently, while all Isaac was getting out of it was flushing three drops down the toilet a dozen times a day. So I stopped. Some days he remembers to go potty, some days he doesn't. I know he'll get it eventually.

I've never had anyone try to guilt him or me, yet. I'd like to think I'd have gone all Mama Bear on that cashier's ass. But probably I'd just have stood there like a gaffed fish, and come up with a scathing comeback that night at 3AM.

Nancy said...

Well, you've undoubtedly read our stories about Rosie -- I think letting her set her own schedule is the best idea for us as well.

That dear old nice lady sounds kind of creepy. Actually, she sounds suspiciously like my MIL... ;-)

Dorene said...

My daughter is over 3 and still not potty trained. She goes when she wants to. I know she can do it. She just chooses not to at times. I honestly did not have the energy to push and did not want to turn it into a struggle.

I am only now starting to really focus her on it (using the Santa card) mainly because I do not want to pack diapers for 2 on our Feb. vacation.

Anonymous said...

I am very sensitive with this...

I hate crap like that.

email said...

All my kids were three to three and a half before they trained themselves. The only one who had to be encouraged even at that age, was my second. But she desperately wanted to go to preschool, and she couldn't be in diapers. So I simply told her that she could go to school if she was using the potty by the time school started. She wanted to, so she did. I'm pretty laid back myself, so I just let them do it themselves. They all do, eventually.

email said...

Oh, and if you see that lady again, ask her if she still uses underwear, or if she uses Depends.

Moments Of Mom said...

You know, its not worth forcing the issue. She'll do it when she's ready and the incentive is right. For my oldest it was stickers and her 3rd birthday, for my younger it was M&M's, Candy, Stickers, Preschool, a new Teddy bear, and more M&M's, and her 3rd birthday, but honestly I was ok with her staying home with me another year.

Good luck, and next time let them have it!

Anonymous said...

My older boy, who will be 6 in two weeks, took forever to potty train. We started on New Year's Day 2005 and we were finished at the end of January 2006. He's a stubborn child, has been since his first breath. He will fight with strangers over what color the sky is, so I was not surprised that he used the toilet only when he felt like it.

My younger son actually woke up on his 3rd birthday back in June and decided to potty train himself. He's always been the more easy going child. I don't remember when he quit having accidents, but I do know that he's been out of pull-ups for 2 months now.

It happens when it happens, and it all depends on the child (which it seems that you already know!).

Wendy said...

You can always just say, "Why no she is not potty trained, but she did just finish reading War and Peace. What is your little drooling potty trained kid up to?"

Laural Dawn said...

I HATE this pressure.
My son was not ready at 2. He was not ready on his third birthday. But, then when he was about 3 years and 3 months he was ready.
We toilet trained him in 2 days. Nothing magic about it. He was ready, interested and had the physical ability to do it.
Within a week he didn't even use pull-ups for naps or bedtime.
I watch my friends who are toilet training younger kids and they are fighting with them. They won't poo on the potty. They cry. They have accidents on purpose.
I'm not judging, but to me that seemed to be against the point.
I hated people coming up to Matt and telling him he was a big boy so he should wear underwear.
Do it when you and Chicky are ready - not when others are.
And, really, you don't want to toilet train while pregnant. Poopy diapers are one thing - poopy underwear is a whole other thing.
(sorry for the long comment)

Anonymous said...

I found diapers and pull ups to be my biggest enemy, once I put her in big girl panties she would use the potty. (we had some accidents). She loved going potty in her diaper even after she was trained. I think the older generation had kids diaper trained earlier because they used clothes diaper. It was uncomfortable for the kid and a big hassel for mom.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with letting them train on their own. My Mom try to use glycerine suppositories on my son to "train" him to poop on the toilet. He could shoot those suppositories out his ass in seconds flat with NO poop to boot!
My 4 year old grandson will only poop in a pull up. He wears underwear all the time and has no "wet" accidents, but refuses to
poop on the potty. Oh wait, he did poop twice on the pot when he was told his reward would be a trip to Toys R Us. It worked, he got a new train, and then the next day refused to go on the toilet again. When his Dad told him that he would take the train away, that was ok- "i already played with it".They do it when they are ready, and that's all there is to it. The refusal of parents to submit only results in constipation!!

Heather said...

Little old ladies are obsessed with potty training because they have lost their ability to hold it and are back in diapers themselves. snort.

Was that mean of me?

Really, do they think it's their business? Start asking them if they wear depends yet.

Ohhhh, more meanness from me. I'm sorry...I had a late potty trainer and got so. dang. tired of the question of "when?".

Susan said...

Why must people always be in our bizniz? It's annoying. I'm glad you're telling them where they belong.

P.S. I am NOT looking forward to the potty training.

Susan at Working Moms Against Guilt

b*babbler said...

What *is* with people and the random "advice". Yikes! People are so facking rude.

It really makes you want to wallop people. Seriously.

Miri said...

That was completely out of line!!! I have been trying since 18 months, every other month, to see whether my now 2 1/2 year old daughter would be interested in using the potty. But she just isnt. And when I tried to make her sit on the potty every day for a week in the morning when she usually goes, she got constipated.

I have truly given up and hopefully she wont go to 1st grade in her diapers....and if someone asks me now I just say she isnt ready yet.

Christina said...

Isn't it just great when people do that? Makes you want to smack them.

We get questions about it all the time, especially since Cordy is three now and looks like she's four. People can't understand why she's not using the potty, and then when I tell them she still has no interest, they imply that I'm clearly not trying hard enough.

I'm not trying. We talk about the potty, and if she wants to go, she knows where it is. She'll get it eventually.

Badness Jones said...

I tried putting my girl in underwear when she was 2 and a half. And she'd just poop in the underwear. Then, one day, she told me she was a big girl and she didn't need diap-ees anymore....So I sent her to preschool in underwear and bit my fingernails all day at work....but she was a big girl and she was ready.

Yay for you for listening to Chicky and letting her do it her way!

Redneck Mommy said...

I was such a tight-ass over my daughter using the pot that potty training was a nightmare for both of us. Second time around, I learned and nature eventually took it's course with my son. He learned to use the pot before he was three...when he was ready and not on my time frame.

But can I just say how I would fork over some of my coveted Girl Guide cookies to see you tell off the next ever so helpful nitwit who decides to stick their nose in lil' chicky's diaper?

Cuz I'm betting you look hot when you're annoyed.

Julie Marsh said...

Oh great. Now I've added another chip to my shoulder where CJ's concerned.

Having watched well-meaning friends perform a half-dozen changes of clothes on their not-yet-ready toddlers in the space of a single afternoon, I decided to wait until Tacy told me she was ready. And I'm following the same course with CJ.

Alex Elliot said...

Who wants to clean pee off of a couch and have a newborn to take care of? Seriously, it sounds like you're doing everything right. I waited until my son was ready (3 years and two months) and it was no big deal. It was over and done with by the end of day two. The last thing I wanted was for him to be potty trained before his brother was born because of the above-mentioned need to clean pee off of the couch, help him, and take care of his newborn brother..and the c-section...there is just no reason to potty train until both kid and parent are ready.

Suzie said...

"Nope, I'm in no rush at all."
Amen sister! You are one smart cookie.

SUEB0B said...

I got no dog in the potty training fight, but I am just here to say: I am sick of assvice. Sick of it.

My luggage was delayed at the airport because I had a last-minute plane change, so I had it delivered to my folks' house (because they are always home). Last night my dad spent 20 minutes telling me my luggage was too heavy, why did I need all that stuff for a 3-day trip, what did I take...


Jen said...

Clearly, you are not reasoning with your daughter.

If you were, she'd be trained by now.

But my kids were constructing the DNA helix with their Duplo blocks before they could walk, so what do I know?


Anonymous said...

Okay, People actually do ask me for advice--i am a director of early childhood services for a non-profit organization, so some people think I know what I am talking about--but plenty of others don't. So this is what I tell parents--lighten up. No child goes to college in diapers (or breastfeeding, which my mother thought my son was going to do). Most of the time, kids know when they are ready and we need to watch for the signs that they are telling us. Like when they say, I want to use the potty. If you start trying to toilet train a child before he is ready you will be struggling and battling with your child until he is ready. Also, every child has a different way of learning and managing this. My son trained easily. My daughter--I knew she was ready but she was pretty stubborn. When she was close to 4, I said, okay, now you wear underwear. 11 years later she is still wearing underwear and she is still stubborn.

Trust your gut. Go with your instincts. You know your kid and you know yourself. If you reach a point where you think it is really time and it is not going well, I know someone with many years of experience who swears by the book "Toilet Teaching." I think it is out of print, but you can get it used at Amazon.com.

She swears by it. I don't. We are both right.

ewe are here said...

I'm with you. My toddler is 2 1/2, and he's balking at using the potty regularly. So be it. We'll get there when we get there, myob world.

Kara said...

As I'm the last one here, A-to the-MEN to what everyone else said and here is my potty training confession: I used to have summers off and the summer kiddo was two we travelled a lot- like a different bed every week, if not several beds per week. I knew she was going to have to be trained to move into the "big kid room" at our three-room daycare (babies, potty trained toddlers, preschoolers) once school was back in session, but the LAST thing I wanted to do that summer was have to pull off the side of the road in Northern Ontario or find a convenient sand dune on the beach somewhere if she decided she had to pee. So we waited until the last two weeks of our vacation to try potty training. Week 1: Potty training in a rented hous in Nantucket. We went cold turkey- no pull ups, excpet at night. The first couple of days she wet her pants a lot, but we limited ourselves to Childrens Beach (with a handy bathroom), the house, and downtown (a short walk from our house, also with conveniently located potties every 10 feet). We carried lots of clean undies and pants with us. We plopped her on the potty every 90 minutes whether she needed it or not. One more week at home and she was trained. I always felt a little guilty/ lazy for doing it this way, but in the end (heh) it was the right thing for all of us.
Like many before me have said... she won't go to kindergarten in diapers. You guys do what feels right for you.

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