A few weeks ago, Rasa told me she wanted to buy Monki a potty.
Now, Monki was a few weeks shy of 9 months old at the time and, being an American, where potty training doesn’t usually start until sometime after 18 months or so, I figured she was a little early, no matter how smart or clever our baby was.
Rasa explained that maybe, it was a cultural thing. Here in Lithuania, new mothers get a maximum of two years maternity leave, at some percentage of their salary, and their job must be waiting for them upon their desire to return. At the end of that two years, the kid goes off to pre-school when mum goes back to work. And at pre-school, they don’t change diapers. So the little one needs to be potty trained by then, as a matter of economic necessity.
So she went ahead and ordered the thing and sure enough, like with most things you order, it showed up and took up residence in our bathroom. I still thought it was silly, but hey, it wasn’t hurting anything, right? Then, every so often, when Monki’s diaper was being changed, Rasa would put her naked butt on the little seat (that’s the one we got, with Minnie Mouse, in that picture up top there) and let her sit for a while. Then she’d continue the process of the change, putting on a new diaper and the day would continue.
I still laughed. Here’s a little kid who can’t stand on her own, has no verbal skills other than crying and gibberish (which, side note, according to Rasa is Lithuanian but to my English trained ears, sounds like English – we all hear what we want to, eh?) and very little muscle control. How can she be expected to understand the complexities of a potty?
Yesterday, Monki peed in the potty.
Now, sure, I know this wasn’t really a conscious thing. She didn’t feel pressure in her bladder, look calmly up at us and say “You know, I believe I need to relieve myself now.” But she did sit there and let it go and this, I think, is significant. Not for any other reason than she’s getting used to the idea. We keep saying we’re teaching kids from day one, that if you pick them up every time they cry, you’re not letting them learn independence or if you don’t let them sleep with you, you’re taking away human contact, which is important… so why not get her used to sitting on the potty when she needs to go?
We’re not stopping our regular purchases of diapers (every Thursday, after meeting Monika for coffee and work) but we’re teaching her there’s a place for this to happen, so when the time comes, for real, it won’t be a huge shock. Instead, one hopes, it’ll be a slight transition and it’ll make things a bit easier in the long run.
We’ll see, won’t we? I’m sure I’ll update as it happens. It’s what I do. And Monki, if you’re reading this sometime, remember, no matter what it says above, Daddy always had faith in you!