Thursday, January 3, 2013

Toilet Training & Weaning, Together at Last (?)

January promises to be a big month in Sproutland: I am attempting to accomplish not one, but two major goals. Complete weaning & toilet training. Before you call me crazy for doing them at once, more or less, I'm not expecting the weaning to be a big deal for Sprout. It'll probably be more profound for me, to be honest.

He's ready. He's only been breastfeeding once or twice a day for a long time now. Lately it's gotten to the point where he doesn't ask for 'noms' in the morning or the evening on most days. I offer (mainly out of habit) when putting him to bed, but he's actually started refusing sometimes. So it's to be a gentle weaning: I'm just not offering anymore, but I won't refuse if he requests 'noms'. It's been about three days since he breastfed & the two or three feedings he did have before that were pretty brief.

Breastfeeding has been a very convenient way to comfort Sprout & help get him to sleep, but over the last year he's grown out of needing it for either purpose. I rarely use breastfeeding to calm him down & the last few times I've offered in that situation, he's barely latched anyway. Though it was amazing to have a way to calm him down after he hurt himself or when he was scared or overtired, I don't feel like either of us need that anymore. Cuddling him on my lap seems to do the trick at night & in many other situations.

I'm confident that Sprout & I have benefited as much as we can from breastfeeding. I have no regrets about nursing him to sleep for years--he falls asleep by himself just fine now, thankyouverymuch. I'm proud that we made it to 29 months in spite of the major struggles we had along the way with pain, latch issues, low milk supply, thrush infections, biting & distraction.

So ready to say goodbye to these guys!
Toilet training, on the other hand, I'm not so sure about. Weaning has just been a gradual process over the past two years. Getting him to go sit on a potty when he needs to pee or poo is a major shift from wearing cloth diapers nearly 24/7 since birth. I'm nervous that he's going to dig in his heels & I'm trying to figure out what method(s) are going to work best for him.

We've got two dozen tiny pairs of undies, three potties stationed around the house & I'm preparing to clear my calendar for at least a week to stay close to home & get the groundwork laid. We've had him try on underpants & practise pulling them up & down, which he's not that good at. I made a big deal about them being a 'big boy' thing, which seemed to work with other transitions we've made.

I'm just not sure what to do about nighttime since he seems to be waking up with wet diapers a lot again. For a while I found he was often waking up dry, but not lately. Whether to use diapers if we need to go out is a question too. I feel like it might be better to go 'cold turkey', but I'm really not sure. The one thing I'm sure of is that every kid is different & whatever method I choose will work better if it fits with his personality & how we do things in our family. The idea of toilet training is starting to make me anxious--I want to figure out the best way to do this so that it doesn't drag on forever or traumatize either of us.

However, I am very eager to say goodbye to diaper laundry, rashes, bubble-butt that makes clothing harder to fit, change-table wrestling matches & always having to pack an extra bag of bulky diapers around.

Your advice & experience is welcome--maybe you have an idea that might work for us? Please leave a comment!

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  1. We started toilet training in the summer and we weaned between October and November. For the weaning part, I was worried that I wouldn't have an adequate method of calming/comforting him when he was hurt, sad or sick. And it was so much harder on me. He was ready. Evidently hugging me and being rocked does the trick.

    The toilet training is taking MUCH longer than expected.Apparently this is normal. All of the advise I received was to follow his cues and if he didn't seem ready, don't push as that could set you back a very long time. Jack is a Pro-Star when he's not wearing pants. He will go to the toilet and climb up without telling me, go and climb back down and exclaim "I did it!!!" and we celebrate. Awesome. Except that when he wears anything touching his skin, he pees and poos in it. We have a collection of several types of "big boy" underpants and it's not working for us. Yesterday, after peeing in his diaper, he asked to have a diaper on. Patience. Patience. Patience. :)

  2. I am anxious to find out how he does. I know there is no "one way" to toilet train, but they all eventually learn (even if it takes years :-) ). We will be going through the same thing in six months or so, except we will have a newborn in the house. :-)

  3. I know we've talked about weaning before-it seems to be so much more of an event for the mother (especially when it is so child-led). None of my children remember breastfeeding-even Jonah, and he weaned at 35 months. You've done wonderfully, both of you!
    Potty training was very time-consuming. I know some people advise potty training with naked bums, but the potential for messes is just too great for me to think about! ;) It took the girls some time before they could figure out how to pull up their underwear-they still insist I need to do it for them, although they are perfectly capable of it themselves. Maybe wait to see how long L can stay dry at home, then decide whether to take him out in underwear or back into diapers. Or put a waterproof liner over top of his underwear? Bummis sells those white, nylon diaper covers that pull on like undies. I didn't want to chance having my car covered in pee, so we used diapers when out of the house for a month or so. I kept the kids in diapers at night at first, then about 3 weeks after they managed to stay dry in the day-they started being dry at night!
    We found a lot of clothes that had been put in the outgrown pile could be worn again, once poofy cloth diapers were replaced by thin underwear.
    Good luck!

  4. One thing I heard/read from some reliable source is that it's not reasonable to expect full 100% night-time potty compliance/dryness until around age 5 or 6! This was a huge surprise for me, so I wanted to share with you. Emily has gently stopped wearing diapers in the daytime and then eventually at night time as well. However, I put a few towels and an extra sheet under her part of the bed to absorb the accidents that happen maybe once every week or two. I also still keep a potty by the bed to help her respond quickly when she does wake up needing to go. HTH and good luck. Sounds like you've got a good plan.

  5. Funny, after writing that it'd been a few days since he'd breastfed, he woke up early this morning & asked for noms when he came into our bed. He had a long feed on both sides. So maybe it'll be a bit longer yet...


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