Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Against Social Beliefs

I am not even sure that I should be posting on this topic... I've made a decision and it doesn't jive with the way our culture does things. (I sometimes feel like many of my beliefs are counter-cultural so why not.. It's my blog.. I can talk about what I want- haha)

I sometimes long to be back in earlier times... simpler times. A time when all of our modern conveniences didn't get in the way. Sure, things may have been more difficult but something is lost when things are given to us and we don't have to work for it. I think the same principle applies for kids growing in independence. I was given my first car from my parents. It was a shiny new Dodge Neon (nice for a first car) and I thought I was thankful! But I have to admit that I didn't treat that car with the appreciation and care that I treat my cars that I pay for and work for now.. Although I loved having a nice car in high school, my children will not be afforded the same luxury.. They will have to work for it! Please don't misinterpret because I am not in anyway faulting my parents.. They wanted me to prioritize school and athletics over a job- which I agree with... I just know that I didn't fully appreciate the gift I was given and I'm sorry for that. Anyway- got off an a little tangent there.. Head back with me to the simpler times! There were no cars so we couldn't drive down our driveway to our mail boxes to get our mail (insert eye roll). There were no computers so we'd actually have to reach out to each other in person or hand write a note!! (I'm totally guilty when it comes to the computer). There were no remote controls so we'd actually have to get our lazy butts off the couch to change the channel! I could go on and on, but I'll get to my point...

There were no disposable diapers, so man kind would just learn to deal which resulted in a "potty trained" baby- well before 2 or 3 years old!

So that's what I've decided.. I'm starting potty training NOW! Riley's only 6 months but as far as I'm concerned, it's a few months too late! A friend of mine who moved to Japan introduced me to the EC (Elimination Communication, AKA Natural Infant Hygiene and Infant Potty Training) idea a year ago and she let me borrow her book "Diaper Free" by Ingrid Bauer. I won't lie, the book made this self-proclaimed hippy uncomfortable with the extreme views, the approach and just how "hippy" it really was. I backed off for a while and figured I'd battle through it like everyone else. But just last weekend, a friend of mine- older mom in her late 30's who I respect and look up to both as a Christian and a parent (and might I add that I don't classify her the least bit "hippy")- was telling me about her potty training experiences. She didn't go to any extreme like the book may have suggested, but she used the principles of EC and had her oldest doing his business (at least #2) in the toilet by 9 months! And all three of her children were potty trained before the age of 2!!! Think about it... All the Third World Countries (Africa for example) don't have the convenience of disposable diapers.. I don't even think they have diapers, period. They carry their babies on their backs as soon as they are strong enough to hold their heads up (check out my friend, Emily's blog about her Ghana trip to see pictures of this) and there aren't any urine soaked backs!! They learn to read their baby's signals and adapt.

The fact that such a strong role-model in my life has successfully gotten three kids through potty training with this method re-opened the idea for me and so I now am jumping all in! I guess I think that the struggles with toddler potty training are more of a battle of wills than the capability to sense the urge or physical ability to use the toilet. I went and bought a little potty today. I was trying to hold him over the toilet but i don't think it's the most comfortable for him and both he and I tire from that so the website that I'm reading suggested the Baby Bjorn little potty.

Before Riley was born, I was gung-ho for G-diapers. Then John challenged their convenience and I caved when I got accustomed to how truly handy disposables are. I am now going to switch to a collaboration of G-diapers and cloth diapers. I figure it will help:
  1. me be able to learn Riley's potty habits
  2. make it not as easy to change his diaper (which will move up the priority of spotting his signs- that's kind of how I work)
  3. make it slightly less comfortable for him when he's got a soiled diaper on (disposables can hold A LOT of liquid and keep the baby feeling dry which is great.. a little too great! I guess I figure that the discomfort of feeling the wetness may get him to want to go in the potty instead of in his diaper down the road)
So here goes. Wish me luck! Or give me flack (which I am totally expecting from my family... love you guys!)

Oh ya... He peed in his potty today- YAY!!! (right now it's basically just me guessing when he might have to go, and sitting him on the potty till it happens.. here's the exciting part- when he goes, I make a cueing noise that he will eventually associate with relieving himself)
Celebrate little victories!


Pam said...

No flack here. I think we've talked about this already. If you have the time and drive, I say go for it! I think it's just another way of approaching the inevitable potty-training.
I told you my ultra-hippie friends are doing it and it's working for them. What are your cues by the way? Psss and pthh?

Jim said...

Potty training before crawling? Actually, I have a feeling that he is going to stand up one of these days, start walking and say "Mom, I want a steak!"


You go girl!! Can you come and potty train my guy next????

Snakeye said...

Careful about how much you pull technology into this argument... the intelligence of mankind progresses faster and faster everyday thanks to the conveniences of modern technology: ie, freeing up time where you'd be doing other things in your life instead of moving forward intellectually. I guarantee, as a whole, you didn't have nearly the skilled and thinking people back 100 years ago as you have today.

I mean, you car example is ok, but it is a little extreme... I personally don't choose to get my mail via driving. if you take that and run with it, then why do we have dishwashers and laundry machines in the house? Or gas powered lawn-mowers and powertools in the garage?

Anyway, aside from an argument with holes in it that you presented along with the diapers, I say "hells yeah!" It definitely won't hurt to get the potty training out of the way a little earlier!

Now the car (or lack of car) for the kid on the other hand? Have fun with that one; but then again, you have 15+ years to ponder your strategy still...

Snakeye said...

BTW: you know there are places out there that you can move to allow you to practice what you believe in: amish communities, an earthship community, or even a commune (there's even one in Phoenix here).

Mom said...

Congratulations on little successes!! It heightens your awareness of when Riley 'goes'! BTW... How old do you think you were when you were potty trained??? You were both potty trained before you were two, with the exception of occasional nighttime 'accidents'. I'm not sure we can compare to undeveloped countries. Many of those tribes are malnourished, live in arid climates, may be somewhat dehydrated a lot of the time ... they're just living life as it was dealt to them, doing what comes naturally and what they learned from their moms and grandmoms.

My sense of your blog is more 'getting back to closer family dynamics' than modern machinery, and about how one appreciates 'things' more when they realize the value placed on the very things they take for granted. You're right: earning IS better than gifting but you have to look at the big picture, the whole situation. (As a girl, you needed reliable safe wheels for going to college, so it made sense to get something that would last until you were on your feet and could earn your own.) As a young adult looking for furniture for a first apartment, the pricetag was a real eye-opener and shed a whole new light in viewing furniture items at home and at other homes I visited! I wanted to take care of those things more than I took care of the new dresser set that Mom and Dad got for me (because I just hadn't understood the value of what Dad/Mom had to work 'X' number or hours or days or even months to provide NEW for me!! Until kids are old enough to understand that, they don't associate what they see as 'fun' with damage to someone else's property and don't sense the cost. Your thoughts should cause Riley to 'appreciate' some things at an earlier age, but because of immaturity (normal), don't think one lesson necessarily extends to understanding other related things!! You'll be eating your share of "crow"... I've had an ample helping over the years!!

AnnaYoung said...

Hey Cheyenne! While I would be somewhat bummed that I wasn't able to light the fire under you, I'm so glad you have someone you respect and admire to look up to and talk to about this!

I bought Clara some Poquito pants. I think the company is out of business, but they're just training pants like these only without the pocket (absorber is sewn in). I put Clara in those sometimes to help her feel the wetness (if we miss).

Don't get discouraged when Riley starts getting more active. We went through a LOT of diapers when we moved and when she started crawling and now walking. But we're getting there! Good luck!

(PS I saw your blog on Sarah Cross' blog, hope you don't mind!)

Anonymous said...

GO YOU! I'm definitely all for going with instincts when it comes to potty training for little ones. Who knows? Maybe you'll have all kinds of wonderful success and when the time comes for me to have a little one I can ask you all kinds of fun questions. :)

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