I wrote this blog post and published it on my photography website about two years ago when my daughter turned 2 and I was elated about sharing my new found knowledge on a fantastic book that had helped me figure out how to potty train her – Diaper~Free Before 3 by Jill Lekovic. The post received a lot of positive feedback so I thought I would re-post it here to kick start my parenting book review category.
At the time of potty training my daughter, I was raising her in the UK with a less community based approach than I grew up with in Zambia, so it came as a shock to me when she was coming up to her second birthday that I could have actually easily potty trained her from as young as 15 months (or younger if I’d really been keen). From what I had seen in the UK, most people only start to potty train at around two and a half and generally hold off until the summer before their child starts preschool at which point their child is required to be potty trained.
Thanks to my mother, from the age of about 14 months she encouraged me to put Yara on the potty first thing in the morning so that she could start forming the association of peeing in the potty instead of her nice absorbent Pampers diaper which leaves her totally unaware of any movements. In fairness to myself at the time, I was not ready to commit to the process of full on potty training (believing it was a really complicated process) and also our schedules meant that we traveled a lot, so I held off completely saying goodbye to the diapers and hello to trainer pants until Yara was about 22 months old.
This was prompted thanks to me coming across the incredible wealth of knowledge in the Montessori method of parenting when we enrolled her at The Montessori Place in Hove, UK. It was here on a bookshelf that I discovered – Diaper~Free Before 3 by Jill Lekovic.
Within reading the first few pages I was amazed (and horrified) to discover that I was actually holding Yara back from doing something that would actually bring her a tremendous amount of happiness and self satisfaction – simply being able to use the toilet on her own. The book covers the history of potty training from what life was like before the ground breaking discovery of technology of Pampers diapers in the 70s with it’s ability to take away all moisture from the child so that they stay dry for longer and are also unaware of any movement of their bowels. There’s also some really useful steps on how to loose the diapers and embrace trainer pants with the least amount of pressure on both the parents and the child.
I realised while reading the book that it was an all or nothing matter. So one day I took off her diapers, put on the trainer pants and hoped and prayed that everything I was reading would come into practice and that my carpets wouldn’t suffer too badly. At first it seemed like I was following her around with the potty every 15 minutes to gather up pee and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to leave the house and get the grocery shopping done without leaving a trail of pee through the supermarket isles.
By the end of the first couple of days the length of time between pees gradually increased as her awareness of what was happening down there improved too. If I missed the ques, Yara was very quick to let me know that she wanted changing. It wasn’t always a pretty sight – I can assure you that changing a number 2 in a diaper is far easier than in trainer pants!
Despite all of this, it was an amazingly quick process and we’ve had some of the best conversations while she’s been sat on the potty. They’re precious moments that I’ll treasure. It was a true moment of triumph when she walked toward us with her trousers around her ankles, holding her potty up high to present me with her ‘kaka’! The simple joys of motherhood!
So if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of potty training, fear not because there really is a wealth of knowledge in the pages of Lekovic’s book and you might even be surprised at how fascinating the whole process is…