There was a moment last week. A small, tiny, infinitesimal moment where I wondered:
How young is too young to start potty training?
As mentioned in the Top 5 Skills Mastered by Lil Diva at 17 Months post, Lil Diva will plop for me – and only me as it turns out – onto the changing pad to have toxic waste removed.
One day she repeatedly plopped and rolled onto the changing pad without any prompting. I thought she might be trying to tell me she needed a change, but she was completely dry.
For two minutes.
Then her typical “cop-a-squat-and-grunt” routine went into play and voilà: One filled diaper.
At 17 months old, she tried to show me, “Mommy, I have to poop.”
I was in shock.
The idea that a child before the age of 18 months not only knows when “shit happens” but is willing to inform their parent and not run, not hide in a corner, and only emerge when coated in their feces – it blows my mind.
If you check any potty training tag for my blog, you will see why: The Tackler was A Hider. During almost nine months of potty training, I think he deposited excrement in the potty about five times.
Instead, he would wait. Patiently. Plotting. Then, when I dared turn my back to care for his sister, put him down for a nap, or take him to anywhere with a hiding spot cloaking him from my view – he would let it drop. In the pull-up. In the underwear. In the diaper. He didn’t discriminate.
He just required privacy.
Then one day the sun came out, something clicked, and he began using the potty and not his pants – months after grasping the concept of peeing in potty.
He still demands privacy. Now that I’m fairly certain he won’t use crap for graffiti purposes, I’m more than happy to give it to him.
But this glimpse of a child – my Lil Diva – whose first instinct is not to run and hide – it’s like discovering the ending to your favorite movie was incorrect then switching it with the new “special edition” copy – it’s wrong simply because it contradicts everything you were taught to believe.
So I wonder. Was it a sleep deprived day dream? Did I imagine her signals?
I wait. Will she ever do that again, or will she return to her previous ways and cease all diaper changing cooperation?
I dream. I fantasize that my Lil Diva will prove to be different in the Potty Training Arena and out of diapers by age two.
I ask you, dear readers. Do I dare attempt potty training at this age? Is it worth the hassle on a child who only speaks about ten words and is very likely to instigate NAKED TIME if taught how to pull down her pants? What skills should she have before starting?
I’m running the gauntlet blindfolded here – my son three years old before he displayed any sign of potty training interest: i.e. the bribery prizes won out over diaper convenience.
Any advice, tips, tricks, hints, or “beware of” information is greatly appreciated from those who have “been there, done that, don’t care to ever do that again.”
Meanwhile, back to my fantasy where she somehow trains herself….
UPDATED 3-13-11 –> Important Potty Training Update here.