On Toilet "Training"

Years ago I advised parents to do toilet training in a very condensed, adult-led and often-too-early manner.

In recent years I have been known to have changed...

I had watched many children struggle with toiletting, and had heard from countless parents and other providers that they've seen the same. I have since come to be more concerned that adults be very careful not to push toiletting before a child is ready. This is important!

I remember Bev Bos saying, (every time I heard her speak...because toiletting seems to be a preoccupation of adults) "A child can control two things. What goes in (their body) and what comes out." This is a reality of the preschool years. We make choices for our children in so many (sometimes too many) areas. Choosing when a child is to begin using the toilet and pressuring to force it to happen is simply not a good idea. 

My advice to parents in the last several years, as their child approaches the age of moving out of diapers is, "Wait. Simply wait until he is ready."

Today a piece entitled Why One Expert Argues Potty-Training Deadlines Are Harmful For Kids was being shared all over the internet. In this piece Steve Hodges, MD explains very clearly why toilet-training prior to readiness should be avoided.

Within the article, Dr Hodges provides a list of steps he recommends that preschools take in supporting young children with use of the toilet...a list that I really believe could be found helpful for parents, grandparents, and other care providers alike.

(note: the article includes a link to this ever-handy "How's Your Poop?" chart...silly but handy)

As I've been sharing this new-to-me-in-the-last-few-years idea about toilet "training" with families, I am enjoying the good fortune of watching children whose parents truly wait for their child's readiness in toiletting experience the pride of thier self-directed-toiletting child. It's so refreshing to have young children experience success on the toilet by their own choice! (I know...kinda silly...but true!)

As to how this works, very simply...when a child feels confident and at peace with the idea of using the toilet...and when a child feels safe and at peace in the care of adults supporting him...the task of toiletting is very simple for the child when he determines he is ready!

So...if you're a parent, grandparent, childcare provider, etc with questions/concerns about issues surrounding the toilet, I suggest starting with reading the above article and from there further perusing Dr Hodges' website and resources available...and wait...just wait and trust your child's lead!