Sunday, October 23, 2005

Potty Training = Nightmare?

Is it possible that every parent dreads this as much as I do? Where do you even begin when it comes to teaching your child how to use a toilet instead of a diaper? Amazingly, at least to me, there are widely varying opinions on when you should start this process with your child. Some books give you a long list of signs to look for that will tell you your child is ready and open to the idea of using the toilet. Others say there's no reason a child can be toilet trained by the tender age of 18 months. Shouldn't using the toilet be instinctual, like the cat knowing to use the litter box? Apparently not.

So I log on to my library account to comb the 'card' catalog. Ah ha! Dozens of books on the subject. This will be a breeze. I request 10 or so and wait for the emails telling me they're on hold at the counter of my local branch. The first book I pick up is written by Fred Rogers. Can you go wrong with Mr. Rogers? I open it eagerly and begin to read. Two or three pages in, I decide I can't get past Mr. Rogers referring to the #2 as "BM's". I put the book down and move onto the next one.

I tell myself that this second book will be much better. The first half of the books is a guide for parents, the second half is a picture book to read with your child. Let's skip the advice for parents and go straight to the picture book. It's always better if there are pictures. I feel victory just around the corner as I begin to read...

Let me paraphrase this one. When you're wet, you've made wee-wee. When you're dirty, you've made do-do. Everyone makes wee-wee and do-do. Daddy, Mommy, the mailman, the policeman, grandma, grandpa, etc., etc., etc. And, of course, there are pictures of everyone as they sit on the toilet, doing their business. The 'Daddy' picture is particularly striking as the drawing resembles Gabe Kaplan ala 'Welcome Back, Kotter'. My heart sinks. To assuage my blossoming fears that this will be impossible, I tell myself that W.T. obviously can't be ready for this, since he's just beginning to put complete sentences together. Or is it Mommy that's not ready?

I return the books to the library. We'll try this again in a month or two, when he seems more prepared to take this next step. Maybe next time we'll look at the classics Once Upon a Potty and Everybody Poops.

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