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  • Writer's pictureAlana Taylor

Where to start with toilet training?

Why toilet training or toilet learning can be controversial and confusing Toilet training or toilet learning as some call it, is a journey that I feel pretty confident with. My next sentence will start with, although! Although I haven’t tackled this full on journey as a mumma, I have supported a whole bunch of children and families in early learning settings over the last, 20 plus years. This is my part 1- I am putting this out in the universe to ensure I remain vulnerable in my early childhood knowledge, reflective practice, assumptions, theories and actuals.

What is the average age for toilet learning? It's a great question, there seems to be a stigma around toilet training, like all milestones. There is this unfortunate feeling that I certainly had, that earlier, means better. I call bullshit! Biologically, we know it will happen so why do dates matter so much and why do we put his unnecessary pressure on ourselves? Why do we need our children to practice this skill for 2 bloody years? Why do we need to take credit for their physical development? When we know that when they want to crawl they will, when they want to walk, they will, so again, why why do we care when toilet training happens and what’s the rush? So whether the average age is 2 or 3, I'm here saying, let them be 1, and let them be 2, focus on the now ,and not getting them ready for the next big thing! So when should you start toilet training and what are the signs? Most will find that when toilet training is taking ages, it’s because somewhere along the way, there is a chance that we jumped the gun, just because your child knows they have pooped doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready. Ticking a box that your child showed some signs just might not be enough. I’m not saying ignore signs I’m just saying 1 or 2 signs might not be the way to make the call. Your child might take a few cracks at it, sometimes the timing is off. Take out the ego, put it to bed and try again when you think it’s time. Without sounding extremely vague and super annoying, trust your gut. I spent many years working alongside parents, I always went with my gut and not a tick sheet of signs but reflecting on the “whole child”.

How do I know when my child is ready for toilet training? My advice, is to observe the child in all areas of development, looking at more than just one or two signs, look at how they make choices, their independence skills, determination and motivation skills , coordination, verbal and non verbal communication, receptive language, problem solving skills, as well as the signs according to google, dry nappies, pulling at nappies, communicating needs, showing an interest in the toilet, age and gender. What’s the future of toilet training look like in my house? Our aim is for toilet training/learning to be as child led as possible. I would also love some warmer weather for nappy free time and ease of changing wet clothes. We will looking out for clear communication skills (non verbal or verbal) and when I also have the time to commit to an intense few weeks (parenting needs are a factor here too). I’m not going to be calculated in how often I offer the potty, whether I offer a potty verses toilet or pull ups over nappy. I don’t care how old he is and I will keep in mind, that statistically boys take longer. I will continue with my view that if the child is ready it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks. My final thoughts on toilet training my son Let him be 2 I say, and unless he kicks up a stink (as he is fiercely independent) it won’t be happening anytime in the near future. Now, as I mentioned I do have heaps of experience but I certainly don’t have experience toilet training my own babe. Children are all so different and they do things physically on their terms, we are simply the supervising, “responsible” bystanders. So give me a minute and I’ll continue to be raw and honest and I’ll post part 2 of this blog when we start taking those next steps. I can then reflect on my journey and see if I was on to something or if I really am just talking out my ass. P.s I am definitely not judging anyone or the advice they offer, we all have to make these choices as parents, I’m just doing me, if I learn anything new along the way, I’ll share. To be continued.......... By Jem @create4me_


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