My tale of two boys, lot's of peeing in the great outdoors and now...faux butt wiping!
Finally a potty training blog post! Actually I might have more to gain from reading your responses to this post then you have to gain from reading my experience.
I know you must think I'm crazy to say that if I could press "reset" and start our potty training all over again I totally would. So where do I think I went wrong and why would I want to re-train my sons? I'll give you the details on my potty-training woes below...
First let me tell you, I have twin sons, they're 4 yrs old and will be 5 yrs old in October. They stay home with me and will be starting school in August. They are "potty trained" so to speak but that's not technically the name for what they do. Maybe "underwear trained" would be more suitable.
The first way we went wrong was teaching them it's ok to just pee outdoors. Whether at the beach, out on a nature walk, bike ride, etc. we pretty early on just started encouraging them to pee in the grass. This worked great, after all, there's that age where they want to use the public restroom everywhere, just for fun. Public restrooms give me the heebie jeebies so stopping somewhere to let them pee in the bushes just seemed like the preferred way to go.
So what's wrong with teaching them to pee outdoors? Well for starters they now pee anywhere and everywhere and in front of everyone. At home, instead of going to the bathroom they just open the sliding glass door and pee in the grass, on the patio, on toys, on eachother, the dog...you name it! At the playground, zoo, beach, etc. same story. Now I am petrified that when they start school they might try to pee in front of people at recess or on the playground!
Another problem, I suppose because there are two of them, is that when they go to the restroom at our house they go in together and sometimes pee together even though I discourage it and ask them to wait their turn. Bottom line is that they are used to having company in the bathroom. So at a playdate or someone else's house, they'll walk right in while someone is washing their hands and start peeing in the toilet.
Finally, the issue of the butt wiping! With girls it's natural, a non issue, they learn early that they have to wipe themselves and so they are also pretty knowledgeable by the time it's their own responsibility to wipe their bottom. With boys, especially mine, I have wiped for them. They yell "mommmmmmy!" when they're ready, they assume the position, lol, and that's it.
Now that they're becoming school age I am trying to teach them to wipe on their own but it's turning out to be more like "faux butt wiping." No matter how I instruct them they just can't seem to arch their back right and their hand, with toilet paper, does not really come close to wiping anything at all. None the less, they're happy with the "faux" wiping. They ball up as much toilet paper as possible and then wipe everywhere but where they need to, then toss the clean toilet paper in the toilet and flush!
Now you must realize why I wish there was a do-over. Perhaps if I hadn't encouraged them to pee in the bushes, or allowed them more privacy, or taught them to try and wipe for themselves when they were younger then I wouldn't be in this precarious situation?
If you were hoping my story would help you with potty training I apologize. I am obviously the one in need of advice, but at the very least you can learn from my mistakes!
So let's hear it! Am I the only one who's trying to "potty train" already "underwear trained" boys? I'd love to read your comments.
-Julie, the Cloth Diaper Geek