Sunday, January 4, 2009

Diaper Free Afternoon

“You’re a brave girl,” Mark said, when he saw me carrying bare-bottomed River. “Or you don’t like your clothes.”

“Both,” I said.

I’d wanted to have a diaper free day, or half day as it was, for a while now. During the week, I have River in the mornings, which is not his peak potty period. On the weekends, I’m usually running around with him on Saturday mornings and on Sundays we often go out and do something. Today we switched the schedule – I ran around on my own in the morning and took care of River in the afternoon.

Why did I want to have a diaper free day? 1. I wanted to see River’s patterns and signals, especially with his pees, which are harder to get than the poos. 2. I wanted River to have some time without a diaper covering him so he can begin to get a sense of what that’s like. I figured it would help with the little redness he’s had lately and maybe he’d enjoy the freedom. 3. Even if I missed the pee (as I usually did) I wanted to be able to put him on the potty immediately afterwards so that he could see that a pee and a potty were associated.

We’ve done OK with getting results when we put River on the pot. If he has something, he’ll usually go. However, we haven’t had much success yet with him communicating to us when he needs to go. We’re also going through more diapers in a day than I’d like.

To start off the experiment, I put him on the potty and nothing came. Then I put him in his highchair for lunch. After his first bite of food, a waterfall of pee cascaded off the highchair. Admittedly, that was rather gross. I tried to focus on what I learned – that perhaps food is a prelude to urination. But I also learned that it’s not much fun wiping up spills.

Nevertheless, I continued on. I kept him fenced into the kitchen for most of the day. It’s easier to clean up the tile floor there than the wooden floors elsewhere. I was busy cooking lasagna and he was busy pulling everything out of the cabinets. We had two more accidents though (none on my clothes) and I successfully caught one pee.

It was tiring because I had to pay much more attention to see if something was coming or to prevent an accident on my shirt. That was probably the main benefit of keeping the diaper off – forcing me to be much more attentive. I also had to keep him in a small area and make sure he didn’t get onto furniture or any carpets.

I hope it had a small effect by showing him that pee equals an immediate sit on the potty, moving toward an association between those things. It’s quite possible it did nothing beneficial besides giving us cute images of River scurrying about, completely and beautifully oblivious to his nakedness. And perhaps it extended my grossness boundary yet another notch.

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