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AIBU or is MIL re:potty training?

(122 Posts)
BionicEmu Fri 22-Mar-13 12:04:56

I don't normally post on AIBU because it scares the shit out of me , but this issue is really starting to get to me, so I could do with some honest opinions.

DS is 2.5 years old. He isn't potty trained. We tried a couple of months ago as he was showing an interest in the potty/toilet, but it quickly became apparent that he wasn't ready as he didn't seem to be able to tell when he wanted to go. We have since had DD, who is 8 weeks old, and DS is showing extreme jealousy, and even starting to revert backwards in some areas. So I do not think right now is the right time to try to potty train him either. I have a vague plan to wait until the weather's warmer, so we can spend lots of time in the garden (so saving my carpets from accidents!). I have no intention of persevering with the potty training until he can tell that he needs the toilet though.

MIL has been on at me from when DS was 9 months old about potty training him. Apparently with her son (my DH), she sat him on the potty after every meal until he went. Apparently he was fully trained by a year old (which is at odds to what DH remembers, as he remembers having a horrible accident at a family party when he was about 3, and he also remembers wetting the bed until he was quite old.)

So since DS was 9 months old MIL has been saying I need to sit him on the potty. I've tried explaining that what she did (sitting on the potty until he did something) is not really potty training, she basically just replaced a nappy with a potty. IMO potty training is the child being able to tell when they need to go before they go, then doing their business on the potty. I've also tried explaining that I think there's little point trying until he knows when he's about to go.

All of this is falling on deaf ears though, she always just says "there's only one reason a child isn't potty trained by a year old - idleness!" If I try and explain I just get "it's disgusting that he's not trained, how do you think he feels when all is little friends are trained and he's not? You can't get round this with fancy words and explanations, the only reason is idleness!" FWIW only 1 of his friends is potty trained hmm

I've also said it's not idleness. Idleness basically means lazy, and I'm not lazy, I've made a conscious decision not to train yet. But she just goes on and on about me being idle. She is driving me absolutely mad.

Was the way she trained DH common in the 1970s? Is it just that practice has changed? (Although MIL seems adamant that even if practice has changed, it's changed because every mother is idle. Argh!) DH was born in 1978. I've asked my mum, and she said she did the same as I'm doing, but I was born in 1985 and my sister in 1988.

So please, should I have put DS on the potty from 9 months old? Should I be trying to force him? Who is being unreasonable here?

ZipItShrimpy Fri 22-Mar-13 13:04:59

My Dd was 2.10y when I trained her and it was a ridiculously easy process which took about 10days from start to finish to be dry all day and do all her poos in the toilet.

I am so glad I waited that little bit extra time. Don't let your mother in law bully you. You know best. smile

Oh and ds will practice on the toilet or potty at home and at nursery but nothing happens. He can tell us when he's done a poo but has no idea about wees at all. He's tall for his age so yes I feel a bit crap that's he's still in nappies and yes I'm probably judged but I am still going o wait until hes ready.
Yanbu. proper grumpy about this subject

hippoesque Fri 22-Mar-13 13:05:50

Do it your way and wait until summer. It will be easier for you and all involved as both children will be that much older. I'd just limit my time with MIL if I were you, or if you HAVE to see her just heap on sickly sweet praise about how AMAZING she must have been back in the day to have had him trained so much earlier than child development guidleines state. It'll either confuse or give her the hint that she should shut up smile

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Fri 22-Mar-13 13:06:26

Mine were both three and a half when I 'trained' them. They were almost immediately very reliably dry in the day.

Dc1 didn't stop wearing nappies at night until he was getting on for 6, but again, very, very few accidents. Dc2 is still in night nappies at five and a half - we tried (at his initiative) a couple of times over the last couple of years but he just doesn't wake up when he wets the bed. I'm convinced it's largely physiological, esp night-time dryness, and not inclined to force it. My mother claimed I was wanting to keep them as babies. confused

RenterNomad Fri 22-Mar-13 13:07:12

I do hope she's not saying any of this to your DS: language such as "disgusting" and "idle" could easily go his way, too! Bad enough you're being targetted with such harsh words. Is this your normal relationship?

You should never PT around the time of a new baby, moving house or death in the family. Why distress a child further with further lack of control?

SanityClause Fri 22-Mar-13 13:08:35

There are really sound medical reasons for leaving toilet training until a child is older. Once children learn to "hold" their wee, they become more susceptible to urinary tract infections. Once they learn to "hold" their poo, they become more susceptible to impacted bowels. I read an article on it by a paediatrician who specialised in this. I'm at work, so can't find it just at the moment, but I'll see if I can find it and link to it later.

xigris Fri 22-Mar-13 13:10:31

YNBU with bells on! My DS2 is 3.4 and has only been fully potty trained for about a month. Like you, I have a baby, DS3 who is 11 weeks. In my opinion, there's NO point in forcing them before they're ready, it just creates a load of aggro and stresses you both out. I know a couple of children the same age as DS1 (6) who were "potty trained" way before they were ready, both still have issues with pooing and weeing. My friend has 3 grown up boys (all born in the 70s), for me she is the Fountain Of All Knowledge when it comes to raising boys. She reckons it's pointless portly training little boys before they're around 3 yrs old as they don't have a clue (and she used terries). I think your MIL is seeing things through rose-tinted glasses. Ignore her! grin

MummytoMog Fri 22-Mar-13 13:10:42

no no no no no no no no no. Your MiL sounds a bit unreasonable. I only just managed to train my 3.5 yr old girl (although there was no point in waiting until she knew she needed to go, she never knew. She basically learned how to tell she needed to go by having accidents). DS has a lot of fun on the potty, but he's not in any way ready yet at just two, he's not motivated or interested and I've had enough unpleasantness trying to potty train DD for one life time thankyouverymuch. If they're not ready, they're not ready. It's not idle, it's trying to maintain a pleasant family life without the frustration, weeping and general mess of potty training a toddler who isn't ready remembers the day DD smeared poo all over the living room

Tailtwister Fri 22-Mar-13 13:10:49

Firstly, your MIL is being very rude.

Secondly, no YANBU to have not potty trained a 2.5 yo yet. He's clearly not ready and you are being a responsive parent by recognising that. There's nothing to be gained by forcing the issue and it certainly has nothing to do with you being lazy. DS2 is a similar age and most of his peers aren't trained yet either. DS1 trained at around 2.5, but he was ready and we were done and dusted in a few days.

Ignore your MIL. She's clearly out of touch.

I'm sorry but I mustn't be potty trained either as I'm pmsl at her comment about "idleness". smile

She is unreasonable. You are not.

You can deal with it two ways - let her keep saying what she is and just let it go in one ear and out the other ("Thanks...we'll take that on board when we're ready and DS is ready to potty train") or tell her "Thanks - I appreciate your input but it's not helpful to anyone so please stop commenting on DS potty training". Good luck with the potty training too.

SixFeetUnder Fri 22-Mar-13 13:10:59

My mum was the same, I was born around the same time as your husband and to listen to her you'd think I came out toilet trained. grin

My second child was due when my eldest was fourteen months and my mum went on and on about how brilliant it was that my first would be well out of nappies by the time the second came along confused

I got round it by nodding, smiling and then doing whatever the hell I liked like I do with most of her unhelpful comments as disgreeing would cause and argument and really, only my (and my DH) opinions mattered anyway.

DS1 was dry at 2.5 and it took two weeks (took longer for clean but common with boys). DS2 was almost 3 before he was ready. Your own child will let you know when he's ready.

Beamur Fri 22-Mar-13 13:11:07

The way your MIL potty trained was not uncommon in the 1970's - I'm a baby of that era and my Mum told me (many many) times that I was 'potty trained' by the time I was 1. I think we now call it 'elimination training' and someone upthread described it as replacing a nappy with a potty - that's about it, you basically put your baby on the potty at a time they are likely to poo/wee anyway and it goes there instead of the nappy. This was back in the day of pretty rubbish cloth nappies with associated lots of washing and nappy rash, so the quicker babies were out them the better.
But you're right, there comes a time when a child understands their body better, recognises the feeling of needing to go and if you can read those signs and respond to them you're likely to find making the transition out of nappies much easier. I totally agree with you that there is an emotional side to it too and personally I think many babies/toddlers understand this is a big deal on some level - some are ready to do it and others need/want to be babies a bit longer.
Your MIL is being rude not to let this go, it's not up to her how and when you and your DS do this. If she won't listen to your reasoning, then try not to engage her on the topic! A simple, 'we're doing it this way' and don't try and justify yourself perhaps?
My DD was over 3 before she stopped wearing nappies, I think she understood what was going on for quite some time before that but got terribly upset if I tried to persuade her there was another way...

xigris Fri 22-Mar-13 13:13:42

Sanity the "poo holding" is exactly the problem both the children I mentioned in my previous post have. Both are under a paediatrician and are on two types of laxatives. Both also have a lot of anxiety about pooing on the loo and regularly have accidents at the age of 6.5 and 7

ukatlast Fri 22-Mar-13 13:14:49

I think I can reassure you with this....from my own experience with one son who was hard to potty train and one who trained himself. I did nothing differently.

FWIW my Mum was of the opinion that those who claimed their babies toilet-trained early had merely 'trained themselves to catch it' iyswim but she thought 3 was the latest you should leave it.
Most girls are probably ready by 3 and boys slightly later on average (my pfb still had one accident in Reception - young in his year) but as every child is different, you should take your lead from the child and remember it is not' a competition.
I also think with my pfb there was a stubborn desire 'to remain a baby' - he too was really jealous of his baby brother (who trained himself at 3). I could let it all happen in its own time as I was SAHP and an older Mum immune to any external pressures.
YANBU at all and your MIL is. Tell her to mind her own business.

OxfordBags Fri 22-Mar-13 13:16:49

Caffeinedrip, I think 'dim' was quite apt! This MUL is talking bullshit. It'sphysically impossible for a baby to be potty-trained at 9 months.

OP, I am older than your DH, and whilst it was the norm to potty-train at 18 months (or have girls sorted by 18 months), we now know that it's actually physiologically and psychologically better to wait - wait until each child is ready in their own time, more importantly.

You need to get tough on MIL - or rather, your DH does. Why isn't he (politely or not) telling her to fuck off with this nonsense? She sounds like she has a real bee in her bonnet about it. If your DH can remember having accidents, esp. in public, and she's lying about howpreposterously young she trained him at, then I reckon that she actually had a hard time potty training him, and was probably told she was idle, useless and so on and made to feel bad about it. She really sounds like shehas massive issues about all this and is working out her painful feelings via you.

If she won't shut up, you need to tell her that her constant bringing up of the subject, and her insulting you (idle? What a cow!) is making seeing her a thoroughly miserable experience, and therefore it is counterproductive and harmful for Ds for you to keep doing so. Make it clear that if she doesn't drop it, she doesn't see him, or you. Tell her that everything she is saying goes against medical research and current parenting advice, AND not only that, it is none of her business!

She feels no qualms about insulting you, get tough and put her in her place. If Ds hears any of this, it's going to make him feel ashamed, which is awful and would actually put him off trying to potty train. Stupid woman (her, not you). And if he does hear it, then she mustn't see him then.

OxfordBags Fri 22-Mar-13 13:17:49

MUL? There's a curse on people typing MIL correctly on this thread grin

Inertia Fri 22-Mar-13 13:19:39

Your MIl might well have sat her baby on the potty at 9mo. I bet she had to do that for months, if not years. If you start to toilet train your child when he is ready, then it could be done and dusted in a few days. She says idle, I say efficient, effective, and appropriate to the needs of the child.

You shouldn't force the issue- particularly not now, when there's a new baby on the scene. Your DS needs extra love and reassurance, not extra pressure- he doesn't need to do big bot things at a time when he probably feels that his position has been usurped.

I wouldn't bother explaining anything to MIL, you don't have to justify anything. If she trotted out that speech to me I'd be tempted to respond along teh lines of "And there's only one reason why people criticise other people's perfectly valid and up-to-date parenting choices- rudeness!" (Though you could equally substitute ignorance. And swear as well .)

DontmindifIdo Fri 22-Mar-13 13:22:55

your MIL is being rude, next time I'd call her on that, how about: "You know what MIL, I'm getting a bit sick of you calling me lazy because I'm not going to potty DS until he's ready, there's no way you can mean that any way other than being rude and calling me a bad mother, I think it's time we left/you left before I say something rude back."

(I'd also make it clear that only one of his friends are dry and the bulk of children you know aren't dry at 2.5 years old anymore)

noblegiraffe Fri 22-Mar-13 13:26:07

"Well I was planning on doing it when the weather gets a bit better, but if you keep banging on about it, I'll leave it until she starts school"

ukatlast Fri 22-Mar-13 13:30:24

Shocked at the 'baby cages' - that's almost like an April Fool it's so bad.

Pilgit Fri 22-Mar-13 13:55:15

someone mentioned Gina ford up thread (excellent for potty training) she also said don't attempt an older child around a new arrival as a) stressful for the parents and b) (and probably more importantly) too much for the child. dealing with having a new sibling, knackered and distracted parents and then all the emotions caused by those things - to add potty training to the mix would be too much for even an angel! wait for warm weather when he can water your garden....!

Waiting worked for us. 2.5 is very young for a boy to train nowadays.

Nobody that doesn't have to care for a child (eg childminder, parent, nursery nurse) gets to have an opinion on whether that child is ready to train, imho.

flossieflower Fri 22-Mar-13 14:29:59

My DH never pooed in a nappy apparantly, he was dangled over a potty from birth so MIL could catch them as she 'knew when he needed to go'! He was placed on it after every feed (only fed four times/day from birth too and he slept through the night from birth). He was totally out of nappies as soon as he walked (12 months) and dry after that. According to MIL that is- one of her friends happily tells me about DH weeing himself at a party aged 3.... He was born mid 70s. I think it was very common back then- doesn't mean it was in the best interest of the children!

MIL was highly critical that it took my boys until they were 2yrs 9 mths. I tried to ignore her and avoided her as much as possible- if you can do the same please do. I'm sure that MIL takes it as a personal insult when I do anything differently to how she did it- like it is a criticism that she did it wrong. She was most offended when I was surprised that DH was on neat cows milk at 6 months.

FWIW DH still sits on the loo for hours after meals, I entirely blame MILs potty training technique. I think he genuiniely doesn't know whether or not he needs to poo- he just has to sit there for ages and see if it happens!!! Hardly ideal!

JustinBsMum Fri 22-Mar-13 14:36:25

Gosh, I would be concerned about the jealousy of DD and not the potty training.

My DS was much slower than DDs at being potty trained (think he was fully 3)so I wouldn't rush and def wait until summer but help him adjust to new rival first over anything else and ignore MIL .

Nobhead Fri 22-Mar-13 14:36:49

Don't bother trying to explain to MIL the reasons why she is wrong- you have already tried and she isn't listening to you. Adopt her approach- be rude. Repeat this phrase:
"I'm sorry why is it any of your business? You did it YOUR way with YOUR children and I will do it MY way with MY children. End of discussion"
She sounds like a right cow bag-idle indeed. Get DH to tell her to back the fuck off.

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