Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Success and Failure: A Potty Post

First the success. We went to the bookstore recently. One of my and Nola's favorite activities. Nola grabs a few stuffed animals, plays with the train table, and even looks at a book or two. I grab a book or magazine and watch her play, occasionally stopping to read her a book when requested.

We usually go just the two of us. It's not too exciting for Violet. But all three of us went recently, and while we were there Violet told me she needed to poop. Not in so many words, of course. She looked at me intently and grunted and grunted. She stopped. I said, "Violet, do you need to go potty?" She grunted and grunted some more. So I took her to the potty and she pooped!

Slight coincidence? A little bit. But it's evidence that she does recognize the feeling of needing to go, without immediately letting it loose. If I hadn't taken her to the potty right away, she probably wouldn't have waited, say, until we got home. But it was a good chance for her to start learning that we will take her to the potty if she communicates her needs. Get it? That's why they call it elimination communication. She communicates to us when she needs to eliminate. Fancy sounding words for such a gross part of life.

Lesson learned? A few little grunts really may mean "Take me potty, please" in Violet talk.

And now for the failure. Violet woke from a morning nap while I was teaching my preschool Spanish class here at home. I quickly went and got her and ran back to class. I didn't take her potty like I usually do when she wakes up. Then I proceeded to go on with class and completely ignore her. She was happy in her bumbo seat. When class was over I picked her up and got a nasty whiff of number two. Sure enough, she had pooped. I can't be sure, but I don't think she was poopy when I got her out of bed or I would've smelled it. It was rather foul.

Lesson learned? If I want her to use the potty I have to offer it at predictable times, consistently. At this age the goal is not for her to be able to "hold" her elimination, the goal is that I will take her when she needs to go. We're still working on our communication (like the success story above) so right now we are relying on routine. I have a feeling she was waiting for me to get her out of bed before she pottied, but when I didn't take her like usual she thought, "Well, I'm not holding this forever so guess I'm going in the diaper." Also, she may have been showing signs of needing to poop during class but I was ignoring her. I wasn't communicating with her. It's a two way street, that communication. If she's communicating, I have to listen.


  1. That bookstore story is seriously cool.

  2. The principles you are learning about communication are true in every area of the parent/child relationship. If she is going to communicate, you better listen. And it won't always be through words.

    Good work!