Saturday, October 31, 2009

Outsourcing the potty training

Have I mentioned that the secret to having a peaceful mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is having a major language barrier between the two parties that makes them not even really attempt to communicate?  I'm so not kidding about this. I like and respect my mother-in-law. She has survived more horrible life experiences than I could ever imagine surviving. She instilled in my husband most of the values that I respect in him. She is a truly great woman.

But, she is (I'm pretty sure), a 70 pound thinner, Chinese-speaking version of myself. (If you're new here- that means a type A, VERY strong-willed woman).  Which means it's definitely for the best that we communicate through Daniel, who conveniently forgets to pass on any potentially controversial topic.

I have known for a while that my mother-in-law has been making comments about Ethan not being potty-trained. Again, for any new readers, Ethan is almost 27 months old, doesn't talk in any way that I can actually understand, denies having a dirty diaper even when it can be smelled from outer space, and has expressed nothing even remotely approaching interest in the potty. Oh, and he's just like me and his grandmother, incredibly strong-willed. Therefore, I have opted to not start potty-training yet.

Then came the plans for me to go visit my parents with Vivian, in January. Daniel can't take off work and I can't travel alone with Ethan and Vivian, so Ethan is staying here and Daniel's parents are going to come down from Canada and stay with him while Daniel works. And soon after that plan, Daniel's mom made a comment to Daniel (which he passed on to me) that Daniel and his brother were both potty-trained by their first birthday.  So I suggested that maybe his mother would like to use the time that she spends with Ethan in January to potty-train him.


As I see it, this is mostly a win-win situation.
1) Ethan gets potty-trained and I am happy because I don't have to deal with it and Daniel's mom is happy because she potty-trained him and that silly daughter-in-law didn't.

2) Ethan behaves exactly as I expect, and refuses to do anything on the potty, and maybe Daniel's mom will stop talking to Daniel about the fact that Ethan is too old to be in diapers.

What I fear is that Ethan will go in the potty for the time she's here, and then will refuse to do so when I get back, because he's in a giant power struggle with Mommy. Then there will be comments like "well, he was doing just fine when I was there" and such.

I've decided it's worth the risk, to just let her try, and if it doesn't work, I'm going to just ask Daniel to NEVER translate anything she says about Ethan's diaper status ever again.


Ashley said...

Oh wow. . . that must drive you nuts to be pressured like that! Kirsten is older than Ethan, and she shows NO interest in potty training yet either. If you try before they're ready, I've heard it's horrible! I like your idea of letting her try to do it. :)

maggie said...

I know several people who've arranged this plan and it works FABULOUSLY. Mostly on the "MIL starts leaving you alone" end of things. Good work, Carrie! And J (30 months, took me 10 min to figure that out), after a hopeful potty stint, now refuses to have anything to do with it, even when I promise CANDY. That is a definite NO.

Mrs. Sanchez said...

Hope it works out well. I work with kids diagnosed with Autism and well, I deal with a lot of potty training.

Once it becomes a power struggle, well.... it's a power struggle. Hopefully it will all work out well. There's no huge rush.

Once he shows the signs of readiness he'll most likely be fine.

Simply Being Mommy said...

My son wasn't potty trained until right around his 3rd birthday. He just wasn't ready and I wasn't going to force the issue. I knew when he was ready that it would happen. And it did. You know whats best for your child. He won't go to kindergarten in a diaper, LOL!

Andrea said... as a mother of a 7 month old, AND a 27 month old girl (girls develop faster supposedly) that is not yet potty trained I just have to say...

THe reason Daniel would have been potty trained at age 1 is his culture. Chinese (and many other countries) usually use the split pants method. They start teach their newborns to go on cue with a hiss or a whisper. The babies are literally attached to them at all times, Mom's pick up on when their babies need to go take them to a good spot hold their feet apart and tell them to go for really. Hippies do it here in the US. HA HA. I looked into it for a while, and even tried this until I realized I was just too lazy.

Anyhow, it literally has to be started when the baby is VERY tiny, and takes months to perfect. But later on it makes potty training simple.

So you shouldn't feel bad that Ethan is in diapers. I will be interested to see how she does with a boy of his age. Most boys don't get completely potty trained til the middle of their third year.