Thursday, March 29, 2007

More on Potty Training

In our attempt to deluge our toddler with potty training education, J picked up a handful (ie. all available) of books at the fancy new train hosting library. And two videos. I know we’re missing a few classics yet, but I thought I’d list the useful ones, with descriptions.

The star of the potty book show is Tinkle, Tinkle Little Tot: Songbook and CD: Songs and Rhymes for Toilet Training by Bruce Lansky. I’m not personally crazy about the cd, but Q happily listened through it several times. The illustrations are appealing and happy. But the rhymes, set to traditional tunes like ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ and ‘My Bonnie lies over the ocean’, are good. Our librarian called it addictive. You can’t help yourself. You end up muttering songs celebrating toilets and pee.

One morning this week, Q snuck into our room, picked up the book and recited my favorite one:

Hush little darling,
don’t you fret,
Let’s clean up,
your pants are wet.

Hush little darling,
don’t you cry,
Someday soon
you will stay dry.

Also good, with very simple visuals and text, is P.J. & Puppy
by Cathryn Falwell.
If you are lucky enough to have a 2 year old ambitiously potty training, I think this one would be brilliant. Parallels a child potty training with a new puppy paper training, complete with mistakes.

Very solid, although somewhat dated photos, is a nice classic by Fred Rogers, Going to the Potty (First Experiences). This is a really gentle, but matter-of-fact depiction of what potty training is all about. Nothing glamorous, but Q has had us read this multiple times.

Which brings me to one I do not recommend. In the Mr. Roger’s vein, Heidi Murkoff (of the What to Expect series for pregnancy, babies etc. series) has done a book on potty training. What to Expect When You Use the Potty has great illustrations and a very appealing main character, a dog, and Q loved looking at it. Unfortunately, it has text sophisticated enough that you might consider using it with a 6 year old. Hopefully most 6 year olds are potty trained, which seriously limits the usefulness of this book. Since Q loved the illustrations so much, we would sit and paraphrase each page, but it was a bit boring and annoying for the adults to deal with long explanations about food becoming energy for our body. It did bring up useful information with nice illustrations, such as where poop goes when you flush it away. But overall, it just didn’t have the usefulness of Mr. Rogers’ book on potty training.

Another fun book, not really about potty training, but often useful with potty training, since after all, we’re talking about poop all the time, is the newer classic Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. Not every adult is into scatalogical humor, but, well, almost every small child tends to develop a sense of amusement about it, and this book is great for addressing the basic concept of food in: poop out.

I should note that I’ve seen some other books in libraries which I haven’t gotten a chance to read and evaluate yet. I’d love to hear from anyone who has read these or found other useful potty books!
Standards I hope to check out soon include:
Once Upon a Potty (Girl and Boy versions, and a video, which might be really useful) by Frankel;
The Potty Book (again in boy and girl versions) by Capucilli;
My Big Boy/Girl Potty by Cole.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Potty Training

Q fell in love with pull ups last week. But J and I agreed that there’s no point in just replacing diapers with pull ups. So after discussion, we decided that Q was showing a lot of signs that he’s ready to start potty training, and we should start a potty educational campaign.

I stopped at the library on the way home. We live in a really small town evidently. They had one potty training book which didn’t strike me as that helpful. (Not awful, but not helpful.) I requested two, and headed home. At home I was greeted by a counter full of library potty training books J had located, plus two videos, and a package of real, honest-to-goodness, underwear.

I got upstairs to see a vision of my son sitting on a potty, wearing a pair of these pants (With dump trucks on them), reading a book on potties. He loves these underpants more than he loved pull ups. We read a bunch of the books, he watched a video with ‘Bear in the Big Blue House’ about potty training, we reviewed the concepts. He talked with his trucks about Mommy pees in the Bob potty (Bob the Builder, in case you’re curious, and no, Mommy’s butt wouldn’t fit), Daddy pees in the Bob potty (ditto), Grandma pees in the Bob potty, Sintya pees in the Bob potty…

Today he insisted to Daddy that he should wear his underwear to the doctor’s office. Daddy grabbed a diaper and spare pants, and let him (with much trepidation). They made it not only through the doctor’s appointment (he’s got eczema, by the way), but also through a grocery store trip. He refused repeatedly to go to the potty while out in public, and when they returned home, he used the potty, had dry underpants, and earned his first sticker. (Thomas the Tank Engine, and I’d like to note that he doesn’t watch either Thomas or Bob at home, or to my knowledge anywhere, although Granmary might have shown him some on his last visit.) He earned a second sticker this afternoon- post “nap”.

I’m kind of flabbergasted. I’m not expecting that we’re suddenly on the Potty Train, but I’m amazed at how ready he seems to be to switch over. I have to remind myself that we underestimate his abilities and understanding. Which might be a hint that the future baby will not be as much of a surprise as I think.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Toddler Competencies

In a typical toddler burst, Q is suddenly proficient at a new batch of skills. And as usual, with a new batch, we've learned that we need to retrain ourselves. Forget potty training, it's more practical to learn how to unscrew caps. Q's been practicing with the sippy cup lids. This is an unforeseen consequence of reverting to sippy cups in order to keep the cats from their scavenging tendencies, burying their heads in a rainbow of plastic cups left temporarily on the table.

Getting dressed now takes approximately half an hour, or longer. Not only does Q want to pick out his actual clothing, and put it on himself, but he also wants to select his own diapers. He climbs onto an overturned can and peers into the diaper cubby, examining each one carefully till he finds a 'nice' one. "This one Mom!" He eventually clambors down. "It's got tigers on it!" Yep. Identical to every one that was rejected...

On the rare morning when he manages to pick out his own clothes and get dressed without being prodded, he emerges with a huge, shy grin, oh so proud of himself. I don't have the heart to tell him everything is backwards. Surely it doesn't matter. Much. The zipper in the back is odd though.

On an intellectual level, one of his interesting new skills is the ability to sneak, and the understanding of its usefulness. It used to be easy to keep track of Q. If he got quiet, we'd call out to him and he'd cheerfully volunteer that he was going to clean the kitty litter, or work on the computer. In the next stage, we could track him by his footsteps or random items dropping to the floor. A long stretch of quiet typically meant that either he was filling his diaper, or he was reading.

As a side effect of avoiding naps he has learned the advantage of silence. He's discovered that by crawling from room to room, he's nearly noiseless. If we don't hear him, we naively believe he's napping and we're less likely to interfere as he removes our toothbrushes from the medicine cabinet and begins to scrub his Bob the Builder potty with them.

But the subtle skills he's picking up on are the best. Sunday we said goodbye to J as he headed off to work. He gave Daddy a kiss (only air kisses, evidently he's European), and a hug. I gave J a kiss and as J opened the door said, "Love you, honey." J stepped outside, "Love you too." The door shut, but before it latched, Q gave it a good shove and called after J, "Love you, Daddy!"

Saturday, March 10, 2007

To Market, To Market, To Buy a Plum Bun...

With some great effort to create obstacles for ourselves, all three of us spent four (plus) days apart last weekend. I went to Florida to visit my parents, with the intent of having one last easy trip, sans toddlers and babies, before the next kid arrives. Q went to visit his Grandpa and Granmary. (Where he is doted on and generally indulged with tons of attention, new adventures, and so much fun that when I asked once, as we drove away, if we should go home now, he simply said, "No.") J stayed home, worked, and built a shelf in the kids' room.

Q and I arrived home within about an hour of each other on Monday. The three of us hung out in his room as he frolicked on his bed, played with scrap lumber from the shelves, and generally expressed delight in returning home.

It's a relief to be home. I have my family, my own bed, ample pajama bottoms that can accomodate my ever-spreading know the comforts you arrange for home to have. My favorite cereal, flannel sheets, cold weather...mostly things that if they were vitally important to me, my mother would have been delighted to provide. (Well, not the cold weather, or picky high maintenance items, but still.)

Watching Q bounce on his big boy bed, I began to sing a droning song I made up for him on a sleepless night last fall. J and I had left him with Grandpa and Granmary for a whole weekend alone, and the re-entry had been difficult. At about 3 am, he woke and wailed till I took him downstairs and rocked him, reciting nursery rhymes and familiar songs. Eventually I was so tired that all I could manage was a monotone: "Mommy and Daddy and Q... Mommy and Daddy and Q... Mommy and Daddy and Q..." We've sung it off and on since then, and as it has no melody, harmony, or musical ability necessary, even Q has been known to hum it to himself.

Hearing me sing it on Monday, he broke into a big smile. He didn't acknowledge it, or sing along. But it was evident that all the family puzzle pieces were back into place.

Home again, Home again, Market is Done.