Daycare is frustrating

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Tommy, back when he was nearly toilet trained

I was going to title this post “Toilet training is frustrating” but then had a frustrating daycare experience that was unrelated to toilet training, and it made me realise that by far the most frustrating thing about toilet training is dealing with Tommy’s daycare.

More about that shortly. First, the other thing. I think I’ve found a job: the company I’ve been interviewing with still isn’t hiring, but they’ve tentatively asked me to work half-time until they start hiring. The hitch is that because I was convinced they weren’t hiring, I postponed our reserved daycare spot for Miso, so now I have to find another temporary daycare. The most convenient centre told me on the phone that they had a spot, but when I dropped in to look at the place and sign forms, they didn’t have a spot at all. I hate talking on the phone… I fought against my urge to email instead (I need an answer! The sooner the better!) and discovered that daycares don’t do well on the phone.

But well. The main source of daycare frustration is, as I said, toilet training Tommy. We had him home for about 5 weeks over Christmas, so we figured it was a good time to start toilet training. I looked up “toilet training bootcamp” methods: basically, you just keep them naked from the waist down for 3 days, then as often as possible thereafter for 3 months or so. The idea is that in those first few days they get to experience “waste elimination” completely, and can’t just ignore that it’s happening. As they become more aware, they quickly learn to control where and when it happens.

We did the 3 days just before Christmas, and it seemed like an incredibly frustrating failure for the first two and a half days, then it just clicked. Tommy had a few accidents within the first week, and would basically only poop at night, wearing a diaper, but it seemed like we were on our way. He had three full accident-free weeks, then it was time to go back to daycare.

Part of the deal with bootcamp methods is that you don’t put undies or training pants on your kid in the first few months. It all feels too much like a diaper, and they’ll revert to not using the toilet. So day 1 of daycare we sent an email explaining our toilet routine and sent Tommy in with no undies, no training pants. After a couple days, they asked us to put undies on him, in case he pooped: a hygiene issue. We privately grumbled, and bought a bunch of undies for week 2.

Week 2, Tommy wore undies. On Friday, he pooped in the sandbox, and OF COURSE it wasn’t contained by the undies. But other than that one accident he was consistently peeing in the toilet and coming home in the same pants he wore in the morning. They asked us if he could wear training pants. We grumbled privately, and agreed to put him in training pants on days when he hasn’t pooped overnight.

Week 3, Tommy wore training pants. Depending on which teacher he was with, he sometimes refused to use the toilet. We have reusable training pants (the training pants equivalent to modern cloth diapers: an absorbant layer inside and a waterproof layer outside), and the head teacher complained that they leak. Some are designed to hold only a bit of liquid, so the kids can pee once, but not multiple times. In other words, leaking is a feature, designed to encourage toilet use. But the head teacher seems ideologically committed to disposable training pants (she had some issues with the fact that we used cloth diapers too, but was overruled by the daycare manager, who had already told us it wouldn’t be a problem). We ordered a bunch of the most absorbant training pants we have, but it’ll take a while for them to arrive, they don’t sell them in New Zealand.

We’re now in week 4. The head teacher said yesterday that Tommy wouldn’t use the toilet at all and that the training pants we have are unacceptable and that we have to buy disposable training pants until the new ones arrive.

This sucks. I get where she’s coming from… But from my point of view they’ve taken my (conservatively) 50% toilet trained child and un-toilet trained him. Plus, she basically told Steffen that we’re being selfish and putting our ideology ahead of our child’s needs (which we are. But he’s going to inherit this planet from us, so in a way they’re his needs too. Although I don’t really think personal responsibility is the solution to preserving the planet. But this is a separate issue).

Anyway, so we bought some disposable training pants. They’re insane: this will be the subject of my next post, an experimental comparison of different training pants. Once the new cloth training pants arrive, if they’re still deemed unacceptable, we’ve decided to go back to diapers and toilet train on our own, at home, without daycare support until Tommy is 100% toilet trained… Something which will no doubt be very confusing for him and take far, far longer.

Daycare is frustrating. Grrr.

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