Monday, January 3, 2011
Do you remember your mother potty training you?
Northrup writes, “The ability to use the toilet is a major step towards autonomy and independence. If toilet training is negotiated well, a daughter develops a sense of power and control around her own body and a deep trust in her ability to allow her body to do what it knows how to do naturally” (218). This makes potty training seem like the most important step in a young girl’s life.
My mom says I was potty trained at 11 months – younger than average. I would like to think this means that I am “more intelligent or superior to those who take longer,” but apparently this isn’t so, at least not according to Northrup (224). (Well, I may be more intelligent and superior, but my toilet training is not an indication of this, ha ha.)
I’ll take it as a good sign that potty training was relatively uneventful for me because “eventful” potty training for many women causes great emotional and physical problems down the road. Northrup writes, “If there are power struggles or undue fears around toilet training, a child may also develop a personality style referred to as anal and withholding. She will grow up to have difficulty relaxing and letting go psychologically in ways that appear to have nothing to do with her sphincters” (222). Not to mention that chronic and debilitating problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, gas and bloating, and diarrhea can also be caused by power struggles during potty training (224).
Northrup’s advice to women as they potty trained daughters is this: “If you have a daughter, leave her BMs alone. And leave your child alone as she is moving her bowels. Don’t hover. Teach her how to wipe herself properly […], help her if she “messes up,” and then leave her alone” (220).
Questions for other Mother/Daughters: Do you have any specific memories of being potty trained by your mother? What was the experience like potty training your own daughter? Do you have any advice for other mothers potty training their daughters?