Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Potty Talk

So, Tuesday night after Craig's big fundraiser we headed across the street to Buy Buy Baby. If you've never heard of it, it's basically a Bed Bath and Beyond, but with all baby stuff. It looks exactly the same as BB&B, right down to the shelving and pricing placards, but everything is for babies. It opened up here a year or so ago, too late for my baby registry, but in time for pretty much everything else. The pricing and selection seems similar to Babies 'R' Us, but they tend to have some different patterns for their strollers and car seats, among other things. It's just nice to have another option, particularly one that offers up lots of coupons like their sister store :) Anyway, I had been meaning to go there to return something I'd had forever (bought a sleep sack before Jacob would have needed it, and by the time it would have fit him he didn't need it anymore--luckily it's something they still sell so I got the full amount back for it) and I had some coupons that I was ready to use if I found the right items. I wanted to get a good wipe-off bib for Jacob to keep at daycare, since I had been sending cloth ones since he started there and was sick of cleaning them and making sure he still had some available. The one I got was cheaper than I thought it would be, even without a coupon, and is totally wipeable and BIG so it should work well for lunch, craft time, etc. So then I turned my attention to the potty section. Ugh.

Jacob is not ready to potty train. I know this for a fact. When you read articles online about "readiness signs", he's pretty much only showing one--interest in the toilet. Maybe one and a half, if you consider that periodically he'll grab his crotch and indicate that his diaper might be bothering him. But even when he does that, if you ask him if he needs a change, he will say no. He'd rather sit in poop than go through a diaper change, apparently. Over the weekend he did tell me a couple times that he had poop, but we've had a couple false alarms on that since, so I'm not getting my hopes up that it's starting to bother him. We're a long way away from him being dry overnight or him telling us before he has to go, and quite frankly, I'm ok with that. Even though shelling out $20 every week or two for diapers isn't fun (by my calculations it's probably over $700 a year based on the size he's wearing now, not counting the $1-2 off every time when I use coupons), diapers don't really bother me. At least, not compared to accidents and frantically trying to find a bathroom and wiping a butt I can't see very well. We'll get there, but for now I'm ok as is. Even still, considering that Jacob had been saying "potty" for a while and daycare even put him on it once with no luck, I figured we should at least start moving in that direction. I was a little surprised that daycare would randomly do that, but I suppose peer pressure can be a good thing. Anyway, Jacob's definitely noticed the toilet lately and when we ask if he wants to sit on it, he usually says yes. Of course, since we don't have a potty or a potty seat, it can't be comfortable having us hold him up, so nothing ever happens. We've only done this a few times, often before bed or before his bath when he's already stripped down to a diaper or less. He does seem to like the concept, though, because he's not squirming or complaining. Yeserday morning after one of the false alarms I thought that maybe Jacob saying "poop" instead meant that he had to poop, so I let him try. When we were telling him to push it out, he did tense up and at least seem like he was trying, but no...nothing.

So all of this is what brought me to the potty section of Buy Buy Baby the other night. There's such a variety of items to choose from for your pottying needs. You have the cadillac of potty chairs--those sporting characters, music, flush sounds, and even their own toliet paper holder. Then you have the middle ground potty chairs--those without the bells and whistles but still more significant than what you might have used as a child. And then you have the ones that are little more than glorified, ergonomic buckets. Sure, they might have some pretty colors or a basic theme, but for the most part they're just molded pieces of plastic. Beyond that, you have the potty seats that go on your toilet, to make the hole smaller. Some come equipped with a ladder, while others are conected to a real toilet seat, so you can just replace yours completely with one that has a potty seat built in. There's a wide variety prints, colors, and styles, and a wide variety of prices ranges here as well. For anyone who knows me and my issues with decision-making, this was a challenge. The last thing I want to do is spend $20 or $30 on an unreturnable item, find out it's not going to work for Jacob, and have to go back and spend more money...with that much more anxiety built in since one thing already didn't work. My personal preference would be to get a seat for our toilet so we can just flush it all away and not have to clean a potty. However, I know that compact, portable potties are nice for traveling, which apparently is a must have in the early potty training days. However, most of the potty chairs come with a removable seat that can go on the real potty, so it's a nice two-for-one, just in case one works better than the other. I still need to double check with daycare to see what they use. I know they often have low to the ground toilets, so my guess is that they use a seat on that...but I'm not sure. And for consistency purposes I'd lean toward what they use. There are so many things to consider--how much space it takes up, ease of use and cleaning, whether or not Jacob will be interested in it, and the price, among other things. And eventually, I just couldn't commit. And at the moment, I'm glad I didn't.

While I did shake my head at myself a bit when Jacob started saying "potty" again yesterday morning, I could only think back to what happened when I got home Tuesday night and assure myself that not buying was smart. Why? Well, once we were home and Jacob was in bed, I headed to the computer to look up reviews. I figured that if there was a clear winner, it would come through in the Babies 'R' Us reviews right away. Surprisingly, there wasn't. It appears that, like most things having to do with babies, it depends on the baby...or in this case, the potty-training toddler. And apparently it's a whole different ballgame for boys than it is for girls. The biggest issue seems to be the splash guard/deflector shield element of both potty chairs and potty seats. They're postitioned at the front of the seat to prevent any random sprays of pee, particularly from boys who don't know to tuck their stuff down yet. And in most cases, they don't work. They're either not big enough to delfect spray or they're oddly positioned, to the point that they end up breaking off or getting in the way. Anything having to do with those shields seemed to be the prevailing complaint in all the reviews. So I guess we'll just have to take a chance on one of the ones with the least complaints and go from there. And if it means that we have to go back and buy something else, I guess we'll have to deal with that, too. Fun stuff, eh?

In other news, Jacob turned 22 months on Tuesday. Only two months until his second birthday, which is both mind-blowing and stressful since it means we have another party to plan! Jacob has been quite the handful recently, so we're pretty sure the terrible twos have hit us a little early. As I alluded to earlier in the week, we get a battle from Jacob about almost anything, from putting down his hockey stick to eat or sleep, to putting on his coat, to walking in public. He won't listen when we tell him "no" or "stop", and even laughs and does it more. It's one thing with little stuff, but when it's hurting us (like when he starts kicking or hitting--which apparently he thinks is funny) or potentially hurting himself (like when he won't stay away from the stairs in our backyard that go down to the basement), it becomes downright scary how oblivious he is. And I'm not sure how to shock him into understanding that. I've tried a spanking here and there, but that's not working either...and I don't really want to rely on that anyway. Craig is headed out on a long roadtrip this weekend and I'm getting a little nervous about dealing with Jacob's antics all weekend without blowing a gasket. Thank goodness the weather forecast is looking good on Saturday, because we can spend some time out in the yard and maybe hit up the zoo. Anything that doesn't involve the repeated issues inside with throwing balls or swinging hockey sticks sounds good to me. Sunday, however, I'll just have to deal. Should be interesting...

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