There are a few things about parenting that I am a firm believer in and it would take a lot, and I mean a lot, to persuade me to alter my view. One of the issues is toilet training. This is a hugely controversial issue. It seems that most people don’t hold my view and I’m ok with that. I stand from the point of having toilet trained 4 kids and am about to attempt to train the 5th. I therefore feel I have at least some basis for my viewpoint.
So what is your view Amity? My view on toilet training is easier the younger you do it the easier it is. What? How can that be? I don’t view toilet training as a difficult thing. It is an essential part of parenting. My opponents, if that’s a word in parenting, advocate toilet training when a child is ready. Normally people feel like a child is “ready” when they are around 3.5 years old (from my 7 years of being involved in playgroups and music programs and chatting with many, many parents over these days). My belief is that parents have missed the first signs of being ready. My son is 15 months old and he is currently showing signs of being ready to toilet train. Are you serious? Yes I am. My second daughter was completely toilet trained by 15 months and dry through the night by about 19 months. I can’t actually remember when it was because she just did it but it was just after my third daughter was born.
How can I tell that Kevin, aged 15 months, is ready for toilet training? There are many signs but here are a few of the most common.
He is very curious about any of us going to the toilet. He comes into the toilet and watches. I know that some of you are cringing right now but I have pretty much had an open door policy on the toilet because otherwise I would never get to go or there would be huge tantrums and break downs outside the toilet door.
Kevin has started to pull his nappy off. Luckily I have not had him pull it off when it has been soiled. He has pulled it off many times though when the nappy has been full of wee. When he is wearing modern cloth nappies (MCN) he will pull them off as soon as he has done a wee.
He comes to me as soon as he’s done a number 2 in his nappy. In the last few days if I don’t jump up straight away to change him he will toddle off and get the packet of wipes and bring those back to me. He is showing signs that he doesn’t like the sensation in his nappy. Probably a month ago he started to pull at the crotch of his nappy when he thought his nappy was full. He wasn’t walking at all at this stage so I wasn’t prepared to toilet train him then because I wanted him to be able to make his way to the toilet.
I think a large part of the problem with parents saying their children aren’t ready is that they are missing all the signs. I know with Hannah, number 3 child, I missed the window. She used to come to me when she was about 15 months with a nappy in her hand and she would say, “Pappy, pappy” and she was wanting me to change her nappy. I was pregnant with number 4 at the time and I was so ill with morning sickness I couldn’t face toilet training her at that time so I would just change the nappy. She was my most difficult to toilet train when we started at 18 months. She is a very determine young lady though and I think part of her problem was someone was telling her to do something and she wanted to be the one making the decisions about her self and her body. Once I stopped talking to her about going to the toilet and ignoring her she decided to go by herself.
I think another problems parents in the Western world face is the propaganda the nappy companies have dished out over the last 15 years. Of course they want parents to toilet train their children later because it means more money in their pockets. In 3rd world countries children are toilet trained at a very young age. They begin the process very early on. I know in China they start as soon as the baby is born and they will make a noise while the baby is toileting. This then creates a Pavlov’s Dog response when the noise is made later on. It stands to reason. These people don’t have the money or the time to have kids in nappies.
Look out for the signs and you will see how easy it is to toilet train your toddler.