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Readers offer tips to help potty anxiety

Fri., May 20, 2005

My oldest son turns 3 years old today, and my wife and I hoped he would be out of diapers in time to blow out his candles.

No such luck.

We’re trying not to be too anxious about our “Lil Dunny” taking his next step toward optimum self-sufficiency, but it’s no use, at least for me. (I know he’s close, he’ll sit on the toilet for 20 minutes and then pee as soon as he gets in the bathtub.)

Other same-aged kids are taking notice, and it’s getting to me: “Look, mommy, he’s still got a diaper. He’s not a big kid like me.”

I’m starting to take it as a reflection of my failure as a parent.

I find myself constantly comparing score cards with other parents of toddlers. Yet I take some solace that my son won’t be the first 3-year-old in diapers.

While I have heard the amazing, almost mythical stories of kids who are potty trained before their second birthday, I’ve also heard from parents whose kids are like my son, in no real hurry to leave the diaper days behind.

Our pediatrician assures me the Dun won’t be going to prom wearing Depends under his tuxedo.

Since my family is surely not alone in the battle of the bowels, here are some tips, tactics and testimonials a couple of readers e-mailed me:

Ed and Nancy had these hints:

“Buy cute little underpants for the kid. Show him how he can use the front opening while standing at the toilet. But he cannot wear the great cartoon or animal underpants if he gets them wet or dirty. No punishment, just matter of fact statement that they are for big boys or there would be too many to wash. Put a piece of toilet paper in the toilet and have a shoot-it-down contest with him. This only you can do, dad.

“If the kid is hesitant around the grown-up pot, buy a little wooden chair potty with a removable plastic bowl and set the thing in his bedroom or the bathroom or wherever he feels safe.”

Julie shared this story:

“The things we do to get our kids to use the toilet. Our first boy pooped in the toilet early (by 2 1/2 as he did not like the feel of that in his diaper), however, we could not get him to urinate in a toilet. You would think this would be the easiest thing of all – his body was designed to pee easily, but noooooooo.

“We tried putting Cheerios in the toilet for target practice, giving him M&M’s for each time using the toilet, we tried ‘big boy’ pants – nothing. Then right before his third birthday, while at the baby sitter’s, he was watching ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ He loved any stories where the prince gets to fight the bad guy and win. He told his sitter, ‘I want to be a prince,’ and she said, ‘You can’t be a prince.’ This stopped my son cold and he asked why not, and she said the magic words: ‘Because princes use the toilet and you don’t.’ Well, when I got home, he was full of questions about all the prince characters and whether or not they used the toilet. I said of course they use the toilet. And he said that they never showed that part and I said no, they don’t show that part. The next day he said, ‘I want to be a prince,’ and then went to the bathroom and used the toilet and that was that.”

Julie’s second boy didn’t start pooping in the toilet until he was 3 1/2.

Watch out Julie, my son might be looking to beat that record.

Check out the potty primer in the June issue of Parents Magazine for more ideas.

Mike Club

Calling all emcees: review your copy of “8 Mile” and start shadowmike boxin’ in the bathroom mirror. The annual Spokane Freestyle King rap contest jumps off Saturday at Spokane Falls Community College.

Hosted by the hilarious Mr. Gottahavit, the contest also will find last year’s champ, C-Flow, defending his title.

The first-place prize is $200, $100 for second place.

The tongue lashings start at 7 p.m. at SFCC’s Student Union Building 17. Admission is $3, $2 with current student ID. Battle fees are $5 in advance, $10 at the door. Entry forms are available at Realside Records, 4607 N. Nevada St.

It’s a sugar-free event, which means no suckers allowed.

For more information, contact Shawn Mitchell at 533-4197 or Mr. Gottahavit at 218-9363.

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