Ditching the Diapers

by Mum Dee on May 27, 2010

When is the right time to expect your child to be toilet trained? This, like many skills that our children acquire, tends to be individual. Some toddlers are so interested in using the toilet that they are easy to train by the time they are 2 years old and then there are those that don’t seem to care and are still in diapers at 4. When eldest was a baby I remember being very worried about getting her toilet trained early. It wasn’t that I hated changing diapers, it was more about being concerned whether people would think that I was doing a good job of raising her. What a silly idea!

I managed to get her to use the toilet pretty reliably by time she was 18 months old but in retrospect it was not worth it. At that age she was not able to go that long without a toilet and her ability to hold it while I frantically searched for a toilet was not excellent either. What was I thinking! It would have been much easier to have left her in diapers till she was a little older. First children always get to be the guinea pigs I am afraid.

Luckily I learned to relax about toilet training with the rest of my children. Some of them toilet trained early and some later. The reality is that all children eventually get toilet trained. After all, look around yourself. When have you ever seen a twenty year old in diapers! Clearly somewhere between infancy and adulthood everyone ends up learning to use the toilet.

Some children are very eager to start using the toilet and pretty much train themselves and others need more help along the way. What is important is to relax about the whole thing. You don’t want to be making your child feel anxious about the whole experience. Try to make using the toilet a fun and enjoyable time. Read to them while they are sitting on the potty. Play fun word games. Singing together can be a blast. Most of all, get excited when they have done what you wanted them to do there in the first place so that they will see how proud you are of how grownup they are getting. All children love to be praised!

Sometimes it is just a matter of finding the right reward or encouragement for the later bloomers. With one of my children who was having a lot of trouble getting to the toilet on time I was able to find the right motivation. We were expecting a new baby in the family and I took the opportunity to help my older child realize that the baby would be looking up to them in order to learn how things should be done. That was enough encouragement for that particular child to care about keeping dry.

I have noticed that the diaper companies have finally caught on to the fact that making diapers so absorbent that there is no sensation of wetness is counterproductive during the toilet training years. Let’s face it, if it soooo comfortable to just pee in your pants with no discomfort why would a kid want to stop what they are doing to go to the bathroom anyway! Now there are products available that will leave your child with the sensation of wetness so that they become more aware of their need to use the toilet.

So just relax, enjoy your child’s successes in life and wait patiently for the successes that are still to come. They have plenty of time to grow up!

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