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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?

QuiteOldGal Sat 23-Mar-13 05:39:46

I was a late 50s baby and according to DM was potty trained by 1 so was DB, apparently everyone was hmm. I think we were just constantly shoved on the potty after every feed and in between.
I do clearly remember wetting the bed though so I must have been at least 3 to remember this. DM did go on about DS not being trained early all the while though. DS was ready at 3 in the day and it took very little time to do but he wasn't dry at night until 4-5 so we put him in pull-ups overnight and just tried to be relaxed about it.

Morloth Sat 23-Mar-13 05:54:49

Meh, DS1 trained himself at about 3 and DS2 has done the same (bar the occasional accident).

No hurry in my world.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sat 23-Mar-13 06:11:34

Even the children of truly idle parents, downright neglectful, shitty parents, somehow are potty trained by the time they start school.

I think you can guide and encourage the child to potty train, but they are ready when they're ready.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 23-Mar-13 06:31:42

I think training children in anything is a bit chicken and egg.
some one will impose a sleep structure on the child and say its that that worked and why they sleep.
the child may have just naturally fallen into that pattern anyway. children progress in whatever envionment they are brought up in and will naturally learn to go to the loo.
I have erred to the side of being led by my DD when she was ready rather than forcing anything.
we have had about 3 accidents since she was trained at 3. we showed her what to do, tried potty, special loo seat, and sort of let her come to it when ready.

LondonKitty Sat 23-Mar-13 06:34:42

I think the people who said this is not really about potty training at all are right. Your mil's behaviour is unacceptable. You've told her so before and it looks like it's high time for a reminder. Tell her that you don't find her comments acceptable and if she continues she'll have to leave. I'd be tempted to count her down to 'time out'!!! 'this is your first warning', 'this is your second warning' and then 'out!'. She's behaving in a very immature way, so let her feel it.

Not that I have unresolved issues about my own MIL or anything

<walks away muttering insanely about overbearing mother in laws>

MyDarlingClementine Sat 23-Mar-13 06:39:13

Op I do think your DH is probably right though about your mil being of narrow vision shall we say.
I have found that people who focus on things like your mil - the house and idleness do have a narrow vision and sort of cling to thier own ability to keep things nice and clean to make them feel worth while.
I love that Albert Einstein quote " If a cluttered desk is the sign of a clutterd mind, what the sign of an empty desk then?"

Megsdaughter Sat 23-Mar-13 07:09:12

I had DS in 1978 and i certainly didnt sit him on a potty all the time.

I honestly cant remember how old he was (and I'm sure most Mums in all reality cant remember from then)but I do know he coudnt go to play school unless he was potty trained, which he went at 3, so he must have been done by then.

He wasnt trained tho at 2 as we moved house at that age and I remmber having to stop to change him in the removal van.

He was in terries as well, disposables were like a large sanitary towel that slipped into plastic pants. They were useless and didnt use them.

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 23-Mar-13 07:16:57

Both my DS's were just after their third birthdays. I tried with both earlier but they didn't show interest. With both, in the end it only took a couple of days because they got it. DS2 almost mastered it at 20months but there were just slightly too many accidents.


Jux Sat 23-Mar-13 11:42:12

My MIL was a bit like yours, op. I used to mutter to myself that some people have better things to think about - and do - than housework. I consoled myself that she just had an empty mind which couldn't cope with anything but cleaning and tidying. Helped a smidgin! I did, in the end, make dh do the visits with dd so I didn't actually have to see MIL and pompous vile sFIL at all. DH wasn't too happy, as he found his mum exasperating and hated his stepdad, but he did (eventually!) understand that it wasn't my job to cope with them if he wasn't prepared to.

My MIL is now completely demented, which is very sad, but it has made her much nicer.

catkind Sat 23-Mar-13 12:23:52

She is being massively unreasonable to interfere in how you choose to PT, whatever the PT facts. I want her to be entirely wrong too, unfortunately I don't think she is (except about the laziness - entirely a matter of choice and deciding what suits your family).

You don't have to wait till they know before peeing to PT. We thought we were going to wait for that but our hand was forced for complicated reasons. DS didn't have a clue when he was going to pee, or indeed during or after he'd peed. After about a week in pants (or bare bummed at home, that worked best at first) he was asking for the potty regularly when he needed it. He was 3 though. I think he'd just got into the habit of peeing as he went along in his nappy so he never got the full feeling of needing to go.

We've been sitting the baby on the potty since about 3 months (again for somewhat complicated reasons, and in a lazy only when it suits us sort of way), and at 1 she is starting to "ask" (go and fetch/try to sit on the potty). So while she's by no means potty trained, she's a lot more aware than DS was at 3. And dry most nights if we get her to the toilet before the morning deluge. So I think you really can establish good habits with early pottying. Of course there's every chance baby will rebel as a toddler and still not PT till 3 smile

All of which is beside the point cos your MIL is just being rude. She could reasonably tell you about early PT-ing/pottying ONCE and share how well it worked for her, but if you said that wasn't for you she should d***ed well shut up about it, it's none of her business.

CecilyP Sat 23-Mar-13 12:25:52

She sounds priceless, OP; have you thought about writing a book. If you can put a bit of distance between you and her, you might be able to find her less upsetting.

Regarding the potty training, I would definitely leave it till DS is more settled in relation to DD. While I know that holding a baby over a potty from about 6 months was the norm until the 1960s, I am absolutely sure that by 1978 that was no longer usual at all. Do you have any photos of your DH at aged 1 to 2? They might reveal if he was wearing a nappy or not.

I really can't understand how a child can be fully trained at 12 months; even if they can walk or crawl to the potty in time, they wouldn't be able to manage their own clothes. Therefore they would have to be able to alert their mum to do it for them and be able to hold on while mum stops what she is doing in order to organise this process. Perhaps you could ask your MIL for details of how this was managed?

Inertia Sat 23-Mar-13 12:51:57

Bionic she sounds like a nightmare. I would just keep calling her on it every single time - find a single phrase to repeat over and over . (e.g . MiL your comments are rude and spiteful, please do not use them around me and my family).

Sock - that's awful sad

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 23-Mar-13 19:00:27

Inertia it was a long time ago and screaming in her face helped make me feel better and stopped her bickering about me refusing to treat my children how she treated me.

Weirdly nowadays (even tho I won't ever leave her unsupervised with my own children not even for a second) she is much better in general and wouldn't dream of advocating some of the things she did to me.

Airwalk79 Sat 23-Mar-13 20:19:40

You don't need to explain anything about potty training to her. What she needs telling, is that your children are exactly that - yours! And she has no place pushing her ideas onto you. She had her turn when she had her children, and now it's your turn.

Mapal Sat 23-Mar-13 20:32:30

Stick to your guns, trying to potty train before he's ready will just make the whole process longer than it needs to be. I had the same pressures from parents but waited until DS showed interest in sitting on the potty, coming to.the loo with us. He was about 2.7 and it was quite an obvious and sudden change in him. I took his nappy off and he did about 3 wees on the floor before he started to get it, by the end of the week he was dry in the day, a few weeks later I realised his nappies were dry in the mornings too so took them off him at night and bingo, no more nappies and not one wet bed ever!. I do think we were quite lucky, he was a dream. But I also think that by waiting we caught him at the optimum time which helped.

storynanny Sat 23-Mar-13 21:37:19

Your MIL is rude. Even if she was "right" about potty training, it is absolutely none of her business. Although I agree with other posters it is a generational thing, it is still rude, I can't imagine passing any comment on my grandchildren s potty training as it is not my place
I was a 50's baby and apparently I was out of nappies by the age of one. When I asked my mother how that could possibly be as I surely couldn't articulate my need to go the toilet at that age she said " it was simple, I took you out of nappies, put you in knickers and every time you wet them I smacked your legs, you soon got the idea" well, that could explain why I have suffered from various bladder problems all my life!
In my limited experience, the later you leave it, the quicker they get the idea.
Your baby, your ways.

TokenGirl1 Sat 23-Mar-13 23:44:29

My dh used to say to his mother "fabulous, you can do that when you have your next child. With our child, we like to do it our way".

Mil was 60 when he said that to her so obviously no chance of having another child but it drove the point home.

Mil was never as bad as yours but after a few responses like that from dh, she is not as vocal in voicing disapproval. She's generally pretty sweet and means well.

Dd not trained until 3.7 and ds at 3.0 is due to be trained in a couple of weeks.

Trust your instincts. She maybe has an inferiority complex and is trying to prove that she was a better mum than you are (obviously not true)?

What's you relationship generally like with her?

Creameggkr Sat 23-Mar-13 23:54:22

What has it got to do with her though?
I can't believe you put up with it at all. I'd tell her to mind her own flaming business.

theskyonasnowynight Sun 24-Mar-13 00:22:35

Of all the young children I have known, only one wasn't trained by the time he started primary school. He was very young for his year, and his parents had tried a few times without success and didn't want to push it. First day,he trained himself, was fine by the second day and nary an accident since. That's the latest I've heard in an NT child but absolutely not a bad outcome. Don't stress.

LadyWidmerpool Sun 24-Mar-13 00:46:13

I think your husband's the one who needs
training. Doesn't do housework? With two
small children?

1944girl Sun 24-Mar-13 00:59:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NigellasLoveBuns Mon 01-Apr-13 23:23:01

This could be about my MIL. When DS was approx 18 months she started on auto repeat that when DH was 18 months she used to sit him on the potty while the family had their meals. How nice. No wonder DH has issues about privacy when going to the toilet. I just ignored it for a while and then after the 100th time I told her we were going to wait until he was ready. She still kept on but I just ignored it. We waited until we thought DS was ready and it worked out ok. Just waiting for the story to be rolled out again with DD. time to ignore again.

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