Friday, August 10, 2012

The Truth about Teaching Toileting

I don't know about you, but I've seen tons of advice online and in books about how to best toilet train a child, when is the best time, how long it should take... the list goes on.  I'm working on helping my second boy finish toilet training and here's what I know so far to be the truth and the myths of training.

Myth #1: "You can toilet train your child in...."  a week, a day, an afternoon.  Everyone seems to have a formula about how to quickly toilet train your child.

Truth: Toilet training starts in infancy and continues until your child is using the toilet 100% of the time.  It starts when you talk with baby about their diaper being wet.  You are making him aware of the sensation of being wet.  It continues when she sees you on the toilet and begins to notice that this strange chair is something you sit on often.  It goes on when you begin sitting your child on the toilet - at 6 days, 5 months, a year, 3.. whatever method you have chosen. This is a long process.

Myth #2: "Toilet training does not have to be messy."

Truth: Come on now, you're dealing with bodily excrement.  That is messy no matter what method you choose for training.

Manasseh displaying "Super Undies" brand cloth training pants.
Myth #3: "Disposable training pants are the best method for toilet learning."

Truth:  That's true.  For some people.  Some people don't use diapers - EVER.  Those babies learn quickly when they need to use the toilet and they learn quickly to communicate the need.  Some people use cloth training pants that are much like cloth diapers to help children learn to eliminate without the same mess as underpants.  Some people prefer to go straight into underpants when they feel they are ready for teaching toileting.

Myth #4: Your child is ready to start potty training when he meets this list of criteria...."

Truth:  Your child does not need to be able to speak in order to let you know he needs to eliminate.  She may not be able to pull her pants down yet.  You can start toilet training a newborn simply by talking to him about what he's doing in his diaper. Some people even put very young babies on the toilet when they are using the restroom.

Underwear and boots, what more does a boy need?
Myth #5:  "Girls are easier than boys."

Truth:  Some girls are easier than some boys.  Some boys are easier than some girls.  It's really about personality, desire, and parenting.  Rumor has it, some children choose to "train" themselves, while others need a lot of extra encouragement.

Myth #6:  "Elimination Communication or Early Potty Training is just training parents".

Truth:  When teaching infants to use the toilet parents must be highly attentive and involved.  However, infants learn at a very young age to recognize their bodily function and are taught methods of communicating their needs with a caregiver.

Myth #7:  "Most children are not ready to be fully toilet trained until 2.5 years old or older."

Truth:  Before the dominance of disposable diapers, which wick wetness away from the skin, The average age children were fully toilet trained was 18 months.  The disposable diaper industry has changed the way families deal with toilet training and fortunately for the disposable industry, pushed toilet training back for an entire year or more in some families.

Azariah wears a mixture of cloth and disposable - we are working on getting him back fully into cloth.
Myth #8: "Disposable diapers are better for children who are not yet toilet trained because they keep the skin from getting too moist under the diaper."

Truth:  Cloth diapers often allow moisture to be near baby's body.  However, new materials in diapers actually help baby to feel dryer than previous generations of diapers.  Cloth does require more attention because they do not always hold as much urine as disposables.  It is better for baby to be changed before the diaper is soaked any how.  They also require more attention because they have to be washed well.  The good news?  Cloth can be cheaper and children who wear cloth diapers tend to be toilet trained more quickly than those in disposables.  Also with cloth diapers there is little fear about chemical reactions in the "gel".
Manasseh sleeps in a pull up when we are at camp so he doesn't wet the camp's mattress.
Myth #9:  "Children should be able to sleep without wetting before they are allowed to sleep without diapers."

Truth:  Some children are very slow to learn night time toileting.  This can be do to a physical problem or a genetic disposition.  Do not fret if your child is slow to learn night time toileting.  Some children don't mind training diapers at night, others feel embarrassed if they need diapers over night.  If you don't mind cleaning up the mess, let your child sleep in underpants.  She'll learn to wake up when she's wet and eventually before an accident happens.  It is not abnormal for children to still have accidents at 7 or 8 years old while sleeping.

Myth #10:  "There are too many changes going on for my child to learn toileting right now."

Truth: While it is good to limit the number of changes with your children, toilet training happens with parent consistency.  When you are ready to work consistently with your child, he will be ready to learn.  You can even begin simply by choosing 1 time  of day to put your child on the toilet every day.

What myths have you heard about toilet learning?  What truths do you know?


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