So the crux of this for me comes from the title – Potty Training. Oh how I detest the word training when it comes to children.
Children are ‘designed’ to grow up – they use us as roles to follow and we give them inspiration to be grown up. By showing a young child how we do things and by including them in what we do we inspire in them the desire to do the same. When we show them how to use the toilet by doing it they will at some point decide they want to do the same.
I made mistakes with my first as all parents tend to do. I made a plan, set a date to ‘potty train’ and then went with it. With my subsequent children I learnt that they will do it as and when they are ready. They will take off their nappies, they will want to try sitting on the toilet. Also by observing your child you will also start to learn the ques that signal they are ‘doing something’ in their nappies. Combining this desire in them to emulate you and timing suggestions when you see the cues you can encourage your child to use the toilet rather than going in their nappy. It can be aided by using cloth nappies as children can ‘feel’ what they are doing better and respond to that sensation too! When your child is ready they will probably be asking for pants not a nappy.
Nightime dryness is a slightly more tricky process – but again follow your child’s lead. Put waterproof mattress protectors under the sheets for the inevitable odd accident so it doesn’t become a huge crisis when it happens.
Every child is different and their learning speeds will vary too. Some will crack it very quickly and others will take time. Understanding that is a great bonus. Allowing a child to make mistakes or get it wrong is all part of the learning process for them so remember not to chastise them. After all have you never made a mistake or ever gotten something wrong. Did it help for some one to go on and point out the error or did that just make you more nervous to try again? They are just small human beings after all. Also remember to enter into dialogue with your child. If you are planning a trip ask them if they feel ready to do the trip with or without a nappy. Allow the child to judge their own competence as the process of learning to use the toilet is one of the first conscious learning experiences a child will have and part of the learning is not just about how to be clean and dry but how to learn and how to judge things and how to evaluate their learning.
Nothing about parenting a child is a competition with others. If your child is the last one to work out the whole toilet business does it really matter? He or she may be the last to learn this skill but the first to learn another and after all its their happiness that counts not the speed with which they reach some arbitrary milestone.
Children invariably will learn to use the potty or toilet at some point. Like all aspects of your child’s young life don’t rush it – all too soon they will be all grown up and you will missing the cute nappied bums you cuddled so much and when its all done sit down with a nice glass of some thing and a bit of choccy as it won’t be long before they are out on the town partaking a little too much as teenagers do and you will be changing their clothes and/or their bed and mopping up messes all over again!.