October 2008

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alex's life book

  • In early 2006, I began creating a life book for my daughter, Alex. Click here for links to articles describing my experience.
  • And for those of you who are more digitally inclined, in late 2006, I recreated key pages of Alex's lifebook for an article I wrote for AlphaMom, using Scrapblog.

    You can see the final digital result (and leave comments, if you'd like!) here.

what's been on my nikon lately

  • And you can view my favourites here.

if i'm not here, i'm here

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When my daughter was Alex's age (a mere 2 months ago) she started telling us when she was going to pee. Particularly when she was sans diaper just before her bath. She would say, "Pee. Pee." Then she would pee. On the floor.

I asked myself the same question you're asking. What did it mean?

Two weeks ago we had another development. She was grunting, and I said, "What are you doing?" She responded, "Poop. Diaper." Then she trotted off to her changing table and asked to be lifted up. Since then she has done that several more times, without me even asking her what she is doing. She just tells me. Not every time she goes, but at least a few times a week.

I can't help but feel that this awareness of her bodily functions might be the perfect springboard to potty training, but she's so young! I don't mind waiting a bit longer, but I also don't want to lose the window and end up changing diapers until she's three. So I will be interested to see the results of your survey, because I am really not sure what to do.


I think every kid is different, but I have Barry Brazelton's advice true with my kids.

Start training at 30 months and you are through at 30 months, start at 18 months and you are through at 30 months.

Again, I am really not trying to give assvice. I tried to potty train my first two way too early and spent a lot of time cleaning up accidents and being frustrated, plus they would feel bad when they had an accident. An important question is whether Alex can dress and undress herself. Pulling up your own pants, and more importantly getting them down, is a key in potty training. Good luck whatever you decide to do.


I know you want all kinds of unsolicited advice on this topic, so here goes!

My mother was the caregiver for my oldest and when Hannah was 18 months old, my mom said she thought she was ready to train because she was giving some signs. Well I didn't know any different and my mother had done it six times, so I let her go ahead. Suffice it to say that it was a painful four and a half years later that she finally got it all worked out.

My current little one is almost two and a half and having been severely scarred from my previous experience, I have not pressured her. At this point it is pretty much self-driven and hit and miss, but it is going well.

That being said, there ARE lots of kids who train in no time and never look back, so I guess all I would say is wait for a few extra clues such as extended dry periods, more awareness of body function, better language/communication skills and then give it a try. It doesn't hurt to try, but don't be disappointed if she doesn't go for it. And if it doesn't go well, take a break for awhile.

There, that's my two bits - you can ignore me now!


Keep in mind this is me writing...and my son is only three months old. Having seen the post from the "Girl Interrupted" incident, I think Alex's comment simply indicated she was well aware of the possibility that embarrassing pix were on their way to the internet. Ha!
Ok, here's the serious part, much love, and encouragement to wait a few more months before hoping for much from your wee one...especially if you're messing with her schedule by flying to England and back within one month's time. You think she's not sleeping well now? Gooooood luck this summer.

dave / higher powered

I always say "Uh OH" when I make that mistake.


When Miranda was about Alex's age, it was clear she was aware of her body functions, and of course always followed me to the potty anyway. So, way back in the olden days we didn't have the plethora of books and internet sites to tell us what to do, so I got a potty chair and when I went to the potty she would come with me. That was also pre-pull-ups days, there were thick cotton training pants that were easy to get up and down. I didn't push asking her if she needed to go all day, she just always went when I did. Voila, two weeks later totally potty trained, no looking back. I guess that was her attempt to make up for the fact that she was up every 2-3 hours to eat until she was 6 months old then difficult to put to bed for the next year.

So, I say get a potty chair and some training pants and give it a totally non-pressured whirl.


I'm not even going to talk to you about potty training my boy. Suffice it to say, we're lucky he was able to enter kindergarten. But I will tell you that my mom claims I potty trained myself before I was two. May such fortune smile upon ya.


And also, (adding to the Brazelton post), she needs to have some idea about the feeling before she pees, so she knows its coming, and she needs to know how to hold it for a few minutes, while she comes to get you and you race her to the toilet. I say, when she starts to say "Uh-oh," and THEN she pees, you might have some faster success in training her. But maybe you should talk to her about it now and see if you can get her to figure out when she needs to pee before she actually pees. And then, when she starts to get that a little bit, you can buy the cotton panties and give it a whirl. Just my opinion, worth not much. Good luck! XO, N.


You did ask, right? I'm not imposing?

OK, then here goes - with my oldest, I feel liek we missed the "window." She showed signs at around 18 months, I ignored them b/c of everything I'd read about the body not being developed enough, that it would take longer in the long run and be more stressful.

Once we started in earnest, at maybe 2 1/2 to 3, it took FOREVER and she still has control issues wherein she goes as long as she possibly can, then longer, without emptying her bladder, because her MIND is in control, folks not her body!

Fast forward to baby numero dos, who at 12 months would climb to the top of big sisters potty seat to poop in her diaper. Repeatedly. She's ready, said my step-mother, but I demurred.

At 17 mos, she started attending our Montessori school. Here, the we toddlers (14 mos to 3 years) do not wear diapers. The class is from 8-12, and they wear underwear and when accidents happen, as they invariably will, the teachers say, "oh, you've soiled yourself. let's go clean up and change into clean clothing." There is no pressure to use the toilet (the most they might say is that "the toilet is available"), but gradually, as the kids make the connection between peeing and getting their clothes wet, and as they notice the older children using the toilet, it all starts to work.

My youngest was completely done at 21 months, including overnight, while her big sister still struggles with a dry night.

After school, we had a nanny who would care for my daughter, and three times a week a friend's son would come over - he is six months younger. He watched Hazel, they tried the same practises, and he was done at 18 months.

So that's my theory. Follow the child - if she acts interested, go for it. If you can make the commitment to clean up more than you would have to with diapers, you're set.

Thanks for all your posts of Trinidad - I'm really enjoying them!



I started putting my son on the potty at 11 weeks old. You read that right. 11 weeks, and I could have started earlier, according to everything I read about infant potty training (a.k.a. "elimination communication"). Since he was in the habit of showering the adult who changed his diaper, I just set up a little potty next to his changing table and popped him on it every time I changed his diaper. The third or fourth time I sat him on the potty, he peed, I praised him, and I could SEE the light go on as he figured out what he was expected to do on his little throne. Because of this, he's always known that there is an alternative to going in his diaper, and he's never had any resistance to using the potty. But at 28 months, I wouldn't call him fully potty trained. He's close, he's very close. He's had days with no accidents, and he wakes up dry most mornings. But since he's still dependent on telling us when he needs to go -- he can't quite manage his own pants yet -- and since he can't always be bothered to tell us, he's not quite there yet.

So I have to change his pants (and trousers, and sometimes socks and shoes) 1-5 times a day, and I sometimes have to wipe up wet spots around the house, but I don't mind. We're getting there. And for the record, I don't believe that tiny children can't tell that they need to pee. When he was as young as six months, he would signal to us BEFORE he went. I subscribe to the theory that today's diapers are so good at masking the wet feeling, they disconnect the sensation of needing to pee from the outcome. That's why kids don't say "uh oh" when they piss their Pampers, and that's why most kids don't fully potty train until their parents have bitten the bullet, stocked up on Tide and paper towels, and put the kid in real underpants.

You're lucky, though, because you live in the tropics. It looks like you spend a lot of time outdoors, and your house has tile floors, right? You could just skip the underpants and let Alex roam around with nothing under her cute dresses. Set up a little potty for her (I recommend the simple Baby Bjorn potty; it's a good size for smaller potty-users) and if she uses it, great. If she doesn't make it, it's no crisis.

I've been writing a lot on my own blog about our potty training saga, and if you feel the urge to email me to chat about potty training a young toddler, please do so.


I think it varies by the kid, but in our house, it's never happened before 3. My oldest, a boy, started showing signs of awareness (hiding to poop, announcing that he had just peed in his diaper) right around 3.5, but wasn't fully trained until he was almost 4. He had a lot of trouble with the whole Pooping Thing (long story), that wasn't fully resolved until almost 6.

My daughter trained at 3. She was ready earlier, but refusing -- she liked not having to stop what she was doing to go to the bathroom. When we finally said, "You're doing this," she was fully trained in a month or less.

Now we're on to #3. He can tell me when he's peeing, he hides to poop, but has no interest in using the potty. He's really negative at the moment ("Do you always say 'no'?" "NO!!!"), and I'm not going to work on potty training until he's feeling more cooperative. I also want to take advantage of the summer weather -- letting him run around outside bare bottomed should work really well.

So, based on my experience, she's not quite ready yet, but that she's showing interest is great and an encouraging sign. Why not get a little potty seat and put it in the bathroom? You could let her sit on it for a while before her bath (while the water is running, aren't I evil?), and you may end up being one of the Lucky Ones, diaper-free by 2.


Karen...it's too early. For the most part, anyway. I DID have a potty chair (my mom called it a throne...wooden, heart cutout in back, book rack on one side, toilet roll holder on the other!) in the bathroom from the time she came home at 14 mos. Once in awhile she would show interest in it, but mostly it was ignored. Then when she was 2yrs, 5mos, she began to wake up every morning with a dry diaper. THAT is a sign of readiness! So we went right to panties in the day, and she had only a couple of accidents. I kept pullups on her at night for a few months, but she really trained herself. She was ready, and that was that! Here's hoping it is that easy for you and Alex! :)



It's hit or miss with Aidan (pun intended). Sometimes he's really interested and tells us, and other times he's too distracted to go on the potty. He'll even say "poopoo" as a ploy to get down from the table at dinner time.
He's two-and-a-half and we're not pushing him. I "go" with the door open when it's just us during the day, and he's always interested in what mommy's doing. I'm trying to teach by example and make it look fun and grown-up, but I really think he just likes seeing my hiney. Just like his daddy. But that's a post for another time.

I'd say that if she's ready, let her try to go, but make it fun and don't have any expectations. Pressure never works with potty training.

Have fun!


I don't believe in potty training anymore. I've seen too many of my friends driven around the bend by it. So, instead I offer my grandmother (mother of 10!) advice:

Set up the potty and think good thoughts, Dear.

My son was around Alex's age when he started noticing that he'd peed in his diaper (he wore cloth, which I think explains why he could feel it.) He'd bring me a fresh diaper and wait. He showed NO interest in the potty (you can try it out at a little friends house so there is no pressure or bad association.) So we waited.

Around 20 months we were reading Once Upon a Potty when my son told me he wanted his own potty. At first he dragged it out from the bathroom and sat on it to watch his videos. About a month later, he put the lid up and started sitting on it naked. One day he said, "I did it!" and sure enough he had peed in the potty (well, mostly on the floor but a little in the potty.)

Within two weeks he was completely potty trained (I recommend the let them run run around nekkid method at that point.) Over the next year he had maybe one accident during the day.

However, at night, in his sleep, he wet the bed about three times a week. That kept up for two years. We took him to the doctor and they determined that he was a very deep sleeper. They said we could try a few treatments at age four or just wait it out.

We waited it out. Until he was, let's see, about 10 years old, he would still pee in the bed about once a month. Now he is 13 and hasn't had an accident in years.

Think good thoughts!


I did daycare when we had our first child, and so I had a potty chair on the guest bath toilet for the daycare kids. One day, when Sahara was 16 months old, I found her sitting on the potty chair toilet with her diaper on. I thought it was cute, took a picture and then took her off. For the next couple of months, we would constantly find her sitting on the toilet. Finally, when she was 20 months old, I decided to try potty-training, and she took right to it. She had maybe 5 accidents total, and that included nighttime. It was a breeze.

With our son, Ryland, I started trying to potty-train him when he was maybe 2.5 years old (could've been sooner), thinking he would be a pro like his sister. Nothing doing. I swear that boy would tell me, "I'm going to wear diapers even when I'm a daddy!" I started to believe him. Then all of a sudden, when he was 3.5 years old, he announced he was going to use the toilet, and he never looked back. We were relieved!

Now we have two almost 18 months old, and I have a feeling that our daughter, Claire will be sooner than our son Ezra. Claire has started grabbing at her diaper when she needs to be changed. She acts embarrassed to poop in front of us, etc. Ezra on the other hand, doesn't seem to realize he poops, pees, or even wears a diaper. I'm thinking he's taking the route of his big brother.

We also have a 4.5 year old that we adopted last September. He was supposedly potty-trained, but he pees his pants a few times a day and every single night. The night stuff doesn't bother me, because it's so common. It's the daytime stuff I don't get. I have no idea what his potty-training experience was like or why he does this, but we're working on it.

My personal opinion (after having Ryland) is that pushing them to potty-train is wrong. They will do it wen they're ready. That doesn't mean you can't playfully set Alex on the potty and see what happens. But I definitely think a "no pressure" approach is best. When they're ready, it will happen.

Good luck to you all!

PS. I always love the pics, and am loving the recipes! Keep 'em both coming!


I cannot add to the wise words above, other than to say that it's down to pure luck!!!

Charlotte (our youngest maniac) managed potty training in just two days when she was 26 months, whereas Issy was around 3 years old before she cracked it (after several attempts). With Issy we tried way too early and paid the price...no doubt you know what I mean.

Charlotte, on the other hand, was shouting wee-wee for a while before we understood what the heck she was talking about. (she also says 'wee-wee' when asking for kiwi friut, which can get confusing) We then put her in pants (er...UK pants) rather than nappies (er...daipers)which seemed to work.

Good luck!!!




Help me someone, I have a situation with my four year old son, he keeps having poop accidents in his pants,and when he does he drops his pants off and starts picking the poop out of his underwear and starts eating it.HELP, I am trying my best to teach him to go on the toilet and that we don't eat poo poo,that it is bad for you. He then gets very upset and tells me that he likes the taste of his poop. I do not understand this, help, I really could use some advise in why my son wants to keep eating his own feces.

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