What about toilet training?

The typical questions from parents with regards to toilet training is, “When can I expect my child to be toilet trained?”  My typical response is, “When he/she is ready.”  I know that their are parents who toilet trained their children early but the bottom line is this – children have total control of only two things: what goes into their bodies and what comes out.   There is no set time when a child SHOULD be toilet trained as each child is unique and different but I can almost guarantee that your child will be toilet trained by the time he/she goes to university!

So, how does one encourage one’s child to use the toilet rather than their diapers?Introduce a potty into your home once you think your child will be able to understand what it is for.  I used to remove my children’s diapers and ask them if they wanted to sit on the potty and read a book.  If they made a “deposit” in the potty, I would get really excited and say “Way to go, you went _____ in the potty, just like mommy and daddy go on the toilet!” They would be feeling pretty pleased with themselves after this.  If they didn’t use the potty while sitting on it, that was okay too.  I would let them get off whenever they felt that they had had enough.  I would repeat this exercise several times a day, but I never forced them to sit on the potty.  I used to ask them if they wanted to try the potty again and usually once they had one success, they always wanted more. Of course, I also got a couple of toilet training books that I would read to them as a way of teaching about toilet training. Later I graduated them to a training toilet seat and a step for them to get themselves onto the toilet.  My first child toilet trained herself just after her second birthday but was not dry at night for years. (Thank goodness for pull ups.)  My second child wasn’t toilet trained till three but was dry at night very soon after. Each was very different.  So different that my second used to take the training toilet seat and put it on backward on the toilet and do her business this way. Whatever works!

Encouragement and sports

I heard someone from the BC Soccer Association speaking on the radio about how they are wanting to put less emphasis on score keeping and more emphasis on skill building. They are suggesting that scores not be kept in soccer games until the players are about 14 years old.

Initially I thought, “Well, if you can’t have competition on the soccer field, then where can you have it”? until I thought about this more. YES! I get it. If we want to encourage the process, then let’s not keep score.  The pressure would be off the kids and the coaches to perform and I think we’d see much improved soccer skills and sportsmanship. We would be modelling to the kids the idea of playing well, building skills and having fun!! Isn’t this why we put our kids in soccer in the first place? I like this idea!!! You?

Children need encouragement like a plant needs water. Rudolph Dreikurs

Encourage, encourage, encourage, the best way to bring out the best in your kid. Encourage the process, not the result. Not “Wow, you got the winning goal, good for you!” rather “How did it feel to get the ball, and work your way through all those players in order to score that winning goal!” or “You studied really hard for that test, your hard work paid off!” Other encouraging statements might be “Thanks for your help. I appreciate it”! “I noticed that you set the table without being asked. Thanks for taking your responsibility seriously”! Or “Way to go’! instead of “Good job”! Avoid those judgement words, good, bad, and all of their forms.

At first it does seem unnatural but in time, it just becomes part of your everyday language. CAUTION! You can overdo it. Do not encourage every single thing – use your judgement. I have heard parents use an encouraging statement for every single thing that their kid did almost to the point of, “Way to go, you put your left foot in front of your right etc.”! BE SINCERE!!! Kids can see right through you if you are not and your attempts at encouragement will actually be discouraging.

Believe in them and let them know it. “I know you can do …..” NOT “It’s easy, everyone can do this”! “I’ve seen you do …..in the past so I know that you can find a way to do ….. If you need help I’m always here”, but help, don’t take over.

Encouragement builds self-esteem and confidence. It empowers your kids and teaches them that they are responsible for their actions. It helps to build a cooperative relationship with other family members and shows the kids that they are valued and respected.

Suggested reading “Positive Discipline” by Jane Nelson and “How to Talk so Kids Listen and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber