Fair warning, this is a post about my children's bathroom habits. The squeamish, childless, and just about everyone else will probably want to just go back to Facebook …
Mr. Baby is, as has been frequently documented, a mimic. More than any other baby I've seen, he will watch and repeat everything he witnesses, immediately and often very accurately. Because of this, I've actually been a little reluctant to have him around the bathroom, because I didn't have much of a desire to stand around with an anti-bacterial wipe, waiting for him to finish climbing on and off the toilet. But lately, he's been showing a lot of awareness not just of the obvious outward routine of going to the bathroom, but of his own physical process as well. He tells me when he's wet, he tells me when he feels like he needs to poop, and he tells me when the deed is done, often with a great deal of angst until the diaper situation is corrected.
Now, I've never been lured by the idea of early potty training, but I learned a difficult lesson with my first child. Miss M showed similar signs of waste awareness when she was the exact same age, and at the time I thought, "18 months is too little! She can't possibly be ready. She's just curious about the big, loud, water-filled appliance." And so I let it go. And then, a year later, when she seemed mature enough and I was about over washing diapers, she was not intrigued by the concept of bathroom independence. At all. The toilet was too cold, too high, too loud. She liked her princess pull-ups too much. She was, in general, an obstinate two-and-a-half-year-old, so really, it was a pretty useless time to try to get her to do anything. Per my grandmother's advice, I waited until summer (and dress season) to try again, but she didn't make the full transition until well into the fall, past her third birthday, and that was mostly thanks to her Montessori teacher and a lot of helpful peer pressure.
In between then and now, I've seen some under-twos embrace the potty (metaphorically … I hope) with ease. So in the last couple weeks, when Mr. Baby has staggered up to me, hands on his diaper tabs, saying, "Potty! Pee! Potty!" I've (mostly) taken the opportunity to sit him on the john. At that point, he sits happily for three seconds, then reaches out and says, "Paper?" I give him a square, he balls it up and throws it in the water, I give him a "Good try!" and we're done.
But then, last night, I noticed a new level of … concentration. (Look, I warned you people.) And as I was reaching for the TP, I even heard sounds of effort. I stood very still, tried not to scare Mr. Baby as I focused on his furrowed brow, and then … splashdown! Twice! I don't know which one of us looked prouder, but we both spent a good two minutes smiling and cheering and high-fiving. I think it took a year of cajoling before Miss M hit that milestone, so even if it was a fluke, having Mr. Baby successfully complete the process is a big step. Especially because after he does something one time, it's pretty much ingrained in his system.
Now, I'm still not canceling the monthly 7th Generation Chlorine-Free Diaper subscription (yes, I'm a cloth diaper drop-out), especially since my 18-month-old still needs his size-12mo pants rolled up at both the top and bottom. He's so tiny it's hard to imagine how long it will be before he can actually get himself balanced on a normal can, let alone stand in front of one. So while I'm not discouraging him when he makes the requests, I'm not bringing it up, either. Life is too short to spend half of every Target trip hovered over a public toilet.