Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


This is a post about potty training. So those who think the whole thing is gross and you don't really need to read about it until you really need to, please close the browser as you leave :-p.

Just list the things you do each day. Now imagine doing most, if not all of the things for somebody else. Welcome to motherhood. Its certainly not easy, but its not impossible. The fact that many women have already done it doesn't mean that they didn't find it difficult themselves. Some women act like martyrs, leaving everything they love for doing the "duty", while others have a cavalier attitude - they tell everyone they found it too easy. Both kinds irritate me. Yes I am a mother, doesn't mean that I have to sacrifice everything I love because of that. Nor does it mean that if I rant about it, then I'm not a good mother. I don't know why women feel that if they crib about all the things they do for their children, then they are not ideal mother material :-p. If you shout at your child, then you are not a good mother. If you get frustrated and want to be away for a little while, then you are not a good mother. Give me a break! Motherhood is nothing to be scared about, because we all have the capacity, the ability. But you have to accept that frustrations are also part and parcel of the whole thing. And if you lose control now and then, its nothing to be ashamed of.

Before I got completely side-tracked (is that an oxymoron by the way? :-D), I was talking about how if you want to introduce a new thing to your child, it means extra work for you. For example, I have been thinking about brushing Snugli's teeth in the nights, but putting it off, just because its going to be another thing I have to do :-p. So when I actually started to think about potty training (PT) Snugli (she was around 13 months then), I thought about the whole thing several times. It'd not only mean lots of extra work (for both Sri and me), but also never-ending frustrations. But we had to start sometime. In US, people have this view that PT should be started only when the child indicates that he/she is ready. I'm sorry, but I don't get this. You feed your child/sing songs to them/play with them without thinking whether they are "ready" or not, but you want to wait for the PT? What nonsense!

As you can see, the US child psychologists and I, certainly don't get along. In India, people don't "wait" for anything. Since the floors don't have carpets, children are usually taught very early to pee and poop (I hope I don't have explain the words, or I'll die of embarrassment :-D). They are not put in diapers (which I don't entirely agree on because cleaning the clothes is another work to do :-p) and first they learn to do it on the floor and later in toilets. I didn't want to wait because I personally believe the earlier we start, the easier it'll be for Snugli to get used to it. Some kids are genuinely scared of the toilets, so if you get the child used to it before this fear comes in, then atleast one hassle avoided :). I read a couple of books on early/late PT and decided that I'll give it a try for a fortnight. If things were too tough, then maybe I'll give it a break and restart after a couple of months.

And so it began. I bought a child toilet seat lid which you can place on the normal toilet, so that its comfy for a baby. You also get entire child potties here which you can place anywhere in your house to train your child. They say, if the child sees the potty, then maybe he/she will get an inclination to sit on it {rolls her eyes}. But I find the whole concept weird. I repeat, what nonsense! You have to teach your child to go to the potty, not that the potty will come wherever you are :-p. Coming back to my story, I started placing her on the child seat, once a day. I didn't expect her to do anything, but if and when she did, I started making a "sssssssssssssssss" sound. I checked her diaper now and then and kinda got a rough idea of when she peed and started scheduling her potty visits after meals and nap-times. And whenever she did something in the potty, she got a whole round of applause/good-jobs/hugs :-D. Another thing I did was to switch her to pull-ups (diapers that are like underwear, you can pull them down and up when needed, considered really good for PT) during day time. I really think they are helpful.

I still can't believe I'm writing all this. It kinda feels weird. Each time I write "pee" or "poop", I'm like, why the heck am I doing this? Feels kinda embarrassing, maybe because we are not really used to talking explicitly on such subjects. I'm somehow determined to do this, because there are Indians like me here in US, stuck between the so-called system and the Indian way. Even if one of them reads this and gets "inspired", its totally worth it! Yeah, its a lot of work and I still don't know whether to call it a success or not, but its something we have gotten used to now and so has Snugli. Anyways going back, in the fortnight, things kinda fell in place. It worked most of the times as long as we maintained the timings. But if I got involved in some other work and forgot about the timings, then obviously it did not. But the major accomplishment as far as I was concerned was that she sat on the potty without any fuss. After sometime, she'd get tired, but I made it a point to get her down immediately after she peed/pooped or as soon as she started fussing whenever she didn't.

Slowly she started learning the terminology. She'd pee as soon as I started saying "sssssssss" and when asked how to pee, she'd say "sssssssss" herself. She'd drag us to the restroom when asked where is potty. The poop part was a bit more difficult. Sri had a bit of a success when he did some sort of grunting, but I never did for a long time. She was unpredictable in that, and it has been the cause of lots of frustrations. For example, after sitting on the potty for half an hour and not doing anything, she'd do it in her diaper as soon as I got her down. I tried not to be upset about it, but I have to confess that she has gotten more than a few scoldings on that regard ;-).

As of now, things are on track. She knows what to do when we say pee or poop, so does it in the potty most of the time. Its not really saving us any diapers because she's still too young to have any control over the functions as such (they are supposed to get the control by the age of 2 years). But its great that she goes to the restrooms whenever we ask her and tries to pee/poop whenever we ask her to. Basically she has awareness of the concept and thats all that matters. I don't really make her sit there for longer times, because I know that she tries. I have to mention here that I have been lucky to have Sri with me for the whole experience. He warned me in the beginning that things may not go as well as I expect them to, but has never complained about having to take her to potty or even cribbed about the frustrations :-D. We did skip the PT for our 5-day Seattle trip as I didn't want to carry the child seat and use it on planes/hotels. It didn't really pose a problem, because she got adjusted to the old routine after we got back.

Recently, I have also started to try and train her for the nights. She goes to sleep at around 9:30 to 10 PM these days, so I place her on the potty just before we go to sleep (at around 11PM). She pees without fussing and without waking up :). For more than a fortnight, I have made it a point to get up at around 3PM in the night and take her to potty again. But its so damn difficult to get up at that time, I tell you. I keep telling myself that its only until she gets that instinct of calling out to us whenever she needs to go, but its still challenging (talking of which, I haven't been able to get up at all for the past 3 days :-\). As I said, you have to teach them how to and for it to work, you have to be willing do the work. I think its going really well so far, hopefully we'll see the fruitfulness of it all in another 6 months or so :-D.

BTW I said sometime back that I was feeding organic stuff to Snugli. I just wanted to mention that I am sorta proud to say that now she's on the same diet as us. I switched her to the normal veggies a long time back. I was basically worried about the growth hormones in the milk and the curd, which is why I went for the organic ones. But recently I am seeing more and more store brand milks certifying that they don't use growth hormones on their cows, so about a month back, we finally made the decision of getting ordinary milk and curd with the no-growth-hormones-clause :). So I can say finally I feel true to myself and my conscience feels clear in that matter :-D.

1 Comment:

Soumya retorted...

This is a milestone yaar. Good job, the three of you. I guess motherhood is a series of frustrations and elations.
Really liked the part about "you go to the potty and potty doesn't come to you", and the part about "when they are ready".