Excuse me, I have a poop question

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we're writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Dear Interwebs and Nets,

I feel like we're on the brink of potty-training. My son has begun to tell me he'd like to sit on the potty after he's pooped. So, I take off his diaper, grab his poop book and set him on the potty where he chatters away and flips the pages of his book. Sometimes he asks that I sit on the big potty and hang out with him, other times he shoos me from the room.

He understands that big boys (and mommies and daddies) go in the big potty and that he will some day, too. My question is this: What's my next step? Should I just let him go commando and see what happens? I'm clueless and I've been unable to find a book on potty training that I like.

Please help!

Sincerely Yours,
Poopin' in Austin

[Ed. note: My original submission included a question about Hollis suddenly stuttering in the last 2 weeks. He's still doing it, but I'm much less concerned than I was. I did a little research and it seems it's all perfectly normal (for some kids) when their brains are thinking much faster than they can make their mouths move. If you have any cents to throw in, I'd love to hear it!]

Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
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  1. Ah poop. The never-ending potty training quest. Here's my answer for you...you may not like it.

    My son is 3.5 and in fact I considered adding a post to this carnival (and maybe I still will) because he has recently reverted back to pooping in his pants after a full year of being potty-trained.

    To potty-train the first time around (when I thought I knew what I was doing) we just put him on the potty at regular intervals. Our furniture doesn't have slipcovers and I didn't want to deal with the bare bum fall-out. We took him to potty every couple of hours until I figured out what his normal schedule was. We had stacks of books and a magna-doodle in the bathroom for him to play with while we waited. We waited as long as he would sit there (or until it became ridiculous).

    If I was you, I would start him on the potty. If he's expressing an interest now is the time to try. If you wait too long he may lose interest again.

    BTW, it took months for him to get it the first time around. Be patient but consistent.

  2. for us, the only thing that worked was getting a seat for the toilet and letting her be a big girl and use the big potty. Couldn't get her to go on the potty at all.

    We did our potty training in the summer and just let her run around naked. sure we had lots of accidents but not having carpets it wasn't a problem for us. no idea what people that have carpets do...wash a lot of clothes i guess.

  3. I would definitely try some nakey-butt time. It will be even easier in the summer. (Well, it might already be warm where you are, not so much here!) Here's a post I wrote about using elimination communication techniques with toddlers: http://www.hobomama.com/2009/12/using-elimination-communication.html — as a gentle way to transition a child to potty learning. It sounds like you're already doing great in terms of following his interest and making potty time enjoyable for him. I would suggest starting to ask if he wants to try at set times (say, before/after sleep and before/after going out). You can always slow down if he wants to.

    Have fun! :)

  4. I had a big long comment written out for your original question (which I see is gone now!). If you are still having that particular problem, email me and I will share our eerily similar experience with Kieran.
    As for potty learning - I agree with going commando. Kieran does quite often and he actually stops himself from peeing now after a few little drips and runs to the potty. Success!

  5. we used cloth diapers and for about 4 months I had two in diapers so I was washing constantly. One day I woke up so frustrated and told myself I would not wash diapers for my older child anymore! lol. so we picked out some fun underwear and never looked back! I think that being wishy washy confuses kids. We were either going to potty train or not talk about it. I have a friend that took almost a year to potty train her son! He knew what he was doing, she just kept putting a dipaper back on him.

    Anyways, we had never given sweets to my son so I can him a chocolate kiss and a bite of ice cream. Said you can have the kiss if you pee and the ice cream if you poop in the potty. And we never looked back. He had just turned two at the time. So my advice is if you want to potty train get rid of the diapers all toghether, and find something they will love and reward them. I am not big on bribes and rewards but this situation called for it for us! lol

    Of course what works for some wont work for others. Just see what works for you!

  6. I'm right there with you, though this is my 3rd kid and for the life of me I don't really remember how I potty trained my other 2. That could be due in part to the fact that I was potty training each of them when their younger sibling was a newborn HAHA! I do have a seat that fits on top of the toilet and both of my girls responded so well to it that I didn't even try the little potty this time around.
    Also, I use plastic (vinyl?) diaper covers with the thick training undies. It allows them the "I'm totally soaked and it's uncomfortable" experience that some methods recommend while helping cut down on the mess. Being naked gives them the opportunity to do their business on the floor, bed, or couch and simply walk away from it without reporting they did anything. That's a nice surprise.

  7. I never used one of those separate potty chairs, what I did was use one of those potty seat inserts that made the regular toilet seat opening a bit smaller.

    I also never did rewards.

    I would just suggest every hour that he try to sit on the potty, even if it was just for 5 minutes.

  8. Throw away the diapers and accept that there are going to be messes for awhile. That was the only thing that worked iwth us. The girl wasn't fully toilet trained when she started preschool so we used disposables and that totally confused her. She didn't know when she could and couldn't pee.

    Good luck!

  9. My kid did the stuttering thing. I'd totally forgotten until now, so I guess it was short-lived and non-traumatic?

    As for potty learning, we do the commando thing. We also set up lots of potties - you can find them for like $2 at IKEA. When kids need to go, they need to go NOW, not 20 seconds from now. Having a potty in the same room is key. Also, timing the potty to when they're likely to go helps - typically right after they wake up, or about 15 minutes after they eat. There's some science-y thing, but it worked for me.

  10. I have a two year old who is only just starting to notice when she has a dirty nappy. I'm not looking forward to potty training. I'll have to bookmark this for later!

  11. Like others have said, I would let him run around naked.
    My oldest would always come and tell us after she pooped that she had to go, letting her run around bottomless when she wanted to helped.

  12. We have 3 boys, and we began our potty training on the very day they turned 3. It literally only took 5 days for them to learn. They were ready, and their muscles were, too.

    We never did the pull ups, or anything. It was just diapers one day, then regular underwear on their birthday. We had spent the year talking about it. And they were psyched.

  13. My daughter's only 18 months and we're not quite ready for potty training yet, so I have no practical experience with this other than remembering ever so faintly my youngest brother and sister being potty trained. But I agree with the advice above that encourages the nudist approach. Easy access just seems to make sense to me! Good luck, momma!

  14. Re: stuttering, my 3 1/2 yo did that for a while and then it totally went away. I think their little brains move faster than their lips!

    As for potty training, the only thing that worked with my girls (and I do recognize that girls can train very different from boys, so take this for what it's worth!) is to just let them do it at their own pace. No amount of coersion or pants-free time or cheers or boos affected them at all.

    Good Luck! It's such a lovely milestone :)