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It’s about time I got around to reviewing another one of those books Elizabeth Pantley sent me. I’ve been meaning to do it for a long time, but life kind of keeps getting in the way. But putting it off makes me feel like a thief.

Anyway, this is apropos because we are gearing up to potty train Owl, so it would kind of be good to have a post reviewing the book, and then another post once potty training is complete to say how well it worked.

The No-Cry Potty Training Solution

Overall, I found this book to be a really good overview of the whole potty training debate.

I loved the little tips she put in about things like why a splash guard is a no-no and how to teach them to wipe their own bums.

But, while I normally love the open-ended, menu-of-ideas approach taken by Pantley’s book, I was actually hoping for more decisive instructions this time.

I have never potty trained anyone, and since my aunt potty trained me, neither has my mother. My mother-in-law actively avoids giving advice (possibly a result of experience? She has many daughters in law).

I vowed to potty train my children young when I was in university, after my Emotions professor went on a rant about her 4 year old un-potty trained grandson and how she potty trained HER son at 18 months, which was standard back then. I want to get going on this, but I need someone to tell me HOW. I could use a bossy voice saying “here’s how you do it!” complete with time-line.

But that’s just not the gentle Pantley way.

That being said, I still found the book to be a really useful repository of information. She covers all kinds of contingencies, from constipation to dealing with bad aim.

I do wish there were some guidelines about which strategies work best for which ages. For example, I would like to set up a motivating reward system, but I don’t know of Owl is old enough to understand. Also, I think a lot of what he needs to do right now is simply develop the habit of going in the potty.

Owl scored a 46 on Pantley’s Are-They-Ready quiz, which means that he is ready for potty training. However, I fear failure and it takes a certain amount of commitment which I’m not sure Perfect Husband and I have hit just yet.

We have decided to enter Owl into “pre-potty training”, which is kind of what we were already doing, by simply talking to him about what we were doing whenever we went to the bathroom and telling him that someday he would do it this way, too.

Then we picked up a new potty seat, because he didn’t like his original one (no handles to grip, and he’s so tiny his feet don’t even reach a stepping stool).

Pantley says that on the one hand, potty seats that go on the toilet save you the extra step of transferring them to an adult toilet later one. I was all about that, because

a) our bathroom is tiny and there isn’t really a lot of room for a potty

and

b) I like the idea of fewer steps.

Besides, the whole concept of a little potty raises one large issue for me, one that no book, not even Elizabeth Pantley’s book, has really addressed:

How the heck do you clean the poop out of a potty?

Owl’s bowel movements are messy, watery, sticky things with the tenacity of peanut butter and the grittiness of dirt (probably because he eats dirt). I can’t for the life of me figure out how I would clean that out of a little plastic cup without contaminating my sink.

We also picked up a couple of “potty books” that he’s only allowed to read while actively sitting on the potty.

We started out with him sitting on the toilet (with his seat) while reading the books and he really liked that. He relaxed on the seat after a session or two, and he actually peed twice after a really long marathon session of nearly a half an hour in which I just re-read the books again and again.

I was super excited, but he hasn’t repeated the process since.

We’re also being really haphazard about when we put him on the potty. We set him there when we have time. He can’t get on and off the potty himself, either, and when he decides he wants to read his potty book we have to come help him up. 

That made PH want to get him his own potty. 

I agreed and we picked up a cheapo one at Zellers for 20 bucks. I like it because it looks like a real little toilet, although it is pretty flimsy and falls over half the time when he gets off of it.

I think we’re going to have to enter a “naked weekend” at some point. A lot of people I have talked to said that it was their key to success – just letting the kid run around naked all day, put them on the potty as often as possible.

I like the simplicity of it – it’s basically like housebreaking a puppy. You follow it around and take it outside often and try to prevent accidents happening in the first place and pretty soon they get in the habit of peeing in the grass.

Pantley mentions the naked approach, cooly giving it pros and cons based on time of year, how much you care about your rugs, etc.

I also like her idea of making a specific potty book based on photos of your own child. Owl loves looking at pictures of himself, so I may use this – but I need to get him using the potty, first!

I’ll give you an update once we really get going on the potty training. I’m thinking the next weekend that PH and I are both home… which will probably be after his second birthday.

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