Saturday 13 November 2010


My Mistakes and Learnings on Potty-training

The Asian or Chinese philosophy on potty-training is to start very early in a child’s life. This is perhaps because diapers were unavailable in China or Singapore during the early days, or because diapers are still very expensive in Singapore. My Chinese Malaysian friend, Irena, who lives in the US and a stay-at-home mom, potty-trained her son successfully already at the age of 1 year old. She was surprised to hear from me the other day that I am still using diapers, and offered many constructive encouragements and advice on how I could "wean" J off diapers. All my nephews and nieces in Singapore also do not use the diapers at an early age.

It is amusing to see Chinese babies and toddlers in China running around with holes strategically located in their pants. Ever wonder why? Now I know why - for the ease of potty-training! We don't do that in Singapore. Hats off to the 100% pragmatic Chinese!

The modern Western or Danish way tends to rely more on diapers than on early potty-training, as diapers is readily available, though it is still equally expensive as in Singapore.

I have noticed that J was developmentally ready at a very young age for potty training. He could indicate to us when he wanted to make poo, and consistently at a rather similar time period. He also knew how to urinate into the potty. In fact, J was very willing to sit on the potty, as he just love to sit there and read his picture books. Daddy was keen to start potty-training, but I did not manage to find the energy for it (cos' I spent all my energy on my blog). We let him sit on the potty, but we did not follow through the training completely to have the patience to wait, since we both have to do things fast and go to work in the morning. In the evening, we were too tired to sit with him at the potty, and opted for just changing his diapers.

It takes a few days to a week of total focus and concentration to potty-train a child efficiently and effectively. We were so close to it, but I did not seize that opportunity!!! I also thought to myself then what the hurry is. Diapers are so convenient. I thought that it would be easier for me to do potty-training when J is older, but it is actually the other way.

If I have a chance to re-do it all over again, here is what I will do:

1. Start potty-training early before the “Terrible Two” stage set in

It is a more up-hill task for me now with potty training, now that J is older. Alas, J is now in the “Terrible Two” age, where he is much more assertive, has a strong will of his own, and is less willing, less eager and less enthusiastic to cooperate than before. I now have the additional issue of J's attitude problem to deal with. On hindsight, I now think that it would be good to follow the Asian way and start potty training early in a child's age.

2. Take annual leave to stay at home to conduct the training or invite my mother to Copenhagen to stay with us.

I am not too keen on taking annual leaves, as they are so precious and few to waste on potty-training. If my work schedule is really tight, I will take the latter option of inviting my mother over. It will also help me to learn the Chinese way of potty-training. It would be so wonderful to be able to spend time with her. For those die-hard “Cost-&-Benefit Analysis” type of person like Daddy, who wonder whether this would make financial sense, it would. Financially, the cost of paying for the air-tickets will be off-set by the diaper cost for the next 1 or 2 years. A piece of branded diaper on average costs 2.5 DKK (0.60 SGD). Assuming 4 pieces a day, 365 day a year and 2 years would cost 5300 DKK or 1,325 SGD. Since I am the “cheapo” type (I use the cheap brand of diaper from Aldi, the German supermarket), it would cost on average 1 DKK (0.23 SGD) a piece, and thus the air-ticket cost would be off set by half of the diaper cost. Not to mention – there will be no more messy and dirty diapers to think about :-), and the wonderful excuse to spend some “hyggeligt” time with my mum :-)

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