Thursday, June 23, 2011

Failing the First Test for Potty Training...

He's a big fan of the hammock this year.
 So, I'm not sure why I can't get my head around Elliot's swings (which I think are somewhat normal?).  We had such a rotten last week.  Then, Renee found an article with some basic tips on dealing with the terrible twos-- most of which we were already doing, which was very reassuring.  It specifically mentioned grocery trips as an example with some little ideas that might help.  My last trip to Target with Elliot ended with several screaming fits and too many attempts at standing up in the shopping cart.  I applied these little tips in my trip today, and voila, had a beautifully easy trip with Elliot.  Feeling all confident and relieved, I emailed the article to some friends with toddlers.  Then, we popped in on Claire and Diane this afternoon, with me knowing that Elliot hadn't had a snack (but we were trying to get out the door fast)... too many attempts at shoving Diane and then not being able to share his scooter resulted in us leaving in the midst of another tantrum.  C'est la vie!  I really, truly should be used to this manic, Jekyll and Hyde nature of babies that only gets exacerbated with toddler-hood. 

The other funny thing-- I'm reading this book on potty training that my sister swears by.  Lots of specifics, very intense, and this method is only supposed to take less than a day.  When I read it, I was thinking, "Sure, that makes sense."  The method was derived from a method developed to train mentally retarded adults who typically could not use the toilet on their own.  It involves a doll for illustration and getting the child to "train" the doll first through lots of positive reinforcement.  There is no reliance on an adult being told the child has to go, but only reliance on the child developing the ability to go on their own when needed.  It is perfect logic on the page.  I'm super curious to see how Elliot responds. 

I'm diving in when I have lots of isolated time with Elliot in August. 

Anyway, the story related to the title (I've digressed...): The book gives three tests to see if your child is ready.  One is dexterity- are they ready to manually pull up their own pants?  Yes.  One is bladder control- not sure on that one, but we think so.  The last one is "Instructional Readiness."  The authors give about 10 questions/instructions for the child to respond to.  If the child is simply stubborn and can do the task but does not, they are too stubborn to start this training yet. 

I decided to give a casual run-through today. "Elliot, Mommy's gonna give you a little test. Wanna try?" He was super into the book, but not super into my instructions. First question, "Point to your nose."  Geesh, he's been doing this for several months, so no problem right?  His response, a very defiant, "No."  I ask again, nicer, closer to him, following all the protocol of making sure he's looking at me, using his name, etc.  This time, his "No!" is accompanied by a march across the room.  I scooped him up and cackled aloud while telling him, "You're going to drive mommy nuts!"  He responded by cackling with me and we turned it all into a laughing fit. 

I know for sure Elliot can do these tasks.  He has been for months.  However, it looks like Mr. Control falls into the stubborn category.  The other things on the list are pointing to other features, sitting down, standing up, accompanying you into another room... pretty simple stuff.  If the child can complete 8 of 10 of these instructed behaviors, he is "considered intellectually ready for training."
The prognosis does not look good, however.  The book goes on to say that if stubbornness is an issue, "you cannot depend on advancing age to solve it.  The other problems-- of bladder control, coordination, and language development-- are usually solved by simple waiting.  Stubbornness, on the other hand, may very well increase with age.  Until this general stubbornness is overcome, you should not attempt to toilet-train." 
I was thinking about the new guidelines a few weeks ago about rear-facing carseats.  The new limit recommendation is 2 years, but that it is more important to go by the maximum weight on the seat itself before flipping it.  Well, Elliot's is 40#.  He'll be 7 years old before we flip his car seat around!  And by the looks of it, he might be 7 years old before we get his stubbornness under control enough to potty train! 

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