What I Know Now.

I recently toilet trained my three-year-old with minimum fuss and maximum success. I am not boasting here although I admit it does sound that way. I am writing about it because what struck me when she finally decided she was ready to be trained was the difference between what I ‘knew’ working as a childcare professional and what I know being a mother of three.

No more nappies!

No more nappies!

What I ‘knew’ working in crèches was that all children can be toilet trained from the age of two and that the sooner you do it, the easier it is and the better for them. I ‘knew’ that the parents that resisted training their children were not doing them any favours. We always made sure that the children were intellectually ready to be trained, training was approached by both the crèche and the family at the same time, patience and keeping cool were the name of the game and nine times out of ten they succeeded according to our timeline.

What I know now, is that although children can be trained from that age they don’t need to be trained that early. There was always pressure to train children before they started in pre-school /Montessori classes  because the teachers either didn’t have time or were not willing to change nappies. I know now that parents who resisted the crèche timetable were absolutely looking out for their child and I would love the opportunity to shake hands with them now.

If I were to do it all again I would absolutely scrap training children according to the crèche timetable and encourage training each child when they felt ready for it. Waiting until the child chooses to start using the toilet makes for an easier, faster and healthier transition in the developing child’s life.

What I ‘knew’ working in crèches was that hungry children will eat. Now I am not talking about starving the children or giving them tiny portions – in spite of what sometimes gets highlighted in the media most people working in childcare have a genuine love of children and are actively interested in encouraging the growth and development of the children in their care. I know, imagine that! One of the side effects of running a busy crèche is that most of the day is timetabled so as to ensure that the day runs smoothly. So wherever I worked, there was at least a two hour gap between breakfast-snack-lunch-snack. With organised activities and free play in between, it generally meant that the children ate what they were given, happily and heartily.

Big,expensive, unhealthy snacks means...

Big,expensive, unhealthy snacks means…

What I now know is that, when you are at home with your child there is no timetable and you can find yourself (myself ) giving them a snack an hour – not necessarily a healthy snack either – and then when it comes to their main meal they are not hungry and don’t eat. So in this case it is better to take a leaf out of the crèche books to encourage healthy eating. Keep to set mealtimes and either eliminate or reduce the amount of snacks they have.

20150401_091759

..anarchic mealtimes!

What I ‘knew’ working in crèches was that TV was not good for children. When I opened my own crèche I didn’t even install a television on the premises, there were enough staff and activities planned that there was no need to turn on a television. Quiet time was story time or singing songs.  And when I gave up work I would allow maybe 30 minutes of television a day.

My plans.

My plans.

What I know now is that television is one of the best inventions ever – actually, strike that – Sky+ is the best invention ever as you can ensure your child never misses their favourite programme during the two to three hours television they watch a day! 😉

My reality.

My reality.

What have you learnt since becoming a parent?

Thanks for reading

Aisling

The Toilet Training One!

My eldest trained in a couple of weeks. My second child nearly drove me to distraction and finally got it when I was on the verge of losing it!( I ignored my own advice – he had absolutely no desire to use the toilet..). And I have not even begun to admit to myself that my baby may be approaching the age to be toilet trained! However, I am in the lucky (?) position of having trained a lot of children, and knowing how daunting people find toilet training thought the subject worthy of a post. So here is my suggested ‘when and how?’ approach to toilet-training.

Not ready to train this one yet!

Not ready to train this one yet!

When?

When you are good and ready! With lots of sound bites such as ‘boys are easier than girls’, ‘ train them as early as you can’, ‘you should train girls at two and boys at three’ etc, we can find ourselves stressing about when to start. However, the one thing that is rarely mentioned is that, you as the parent need to be ready for it too. Mentally, physically and logistically!

So once you are sure you are ready zen, how do you know your child is? For successful and relatively painless toilet-training, your child should have the following skill set :-

  • Good language – your child needs to be able to tell you they need to go. If they do not have the words, don’t start.
  • Self-awareness – awareness of when they need to go (both for number 1s and 2s) – not just pot luck but actual awareness.
  • Independent dressing – your toddler will need to be able to pull their own clothes up and down.
  • A desire to use the toilet – attempting to train your child if they don’t want to is a no go!

Once all these factors are in place, your child might be ready to be toilet-trained. Bear in mind that children develop at different rates so your child could be anything from 18 months to four years old before they are themselves ready to use the toilet. This is not a race or a competition so wait until they are definitely ready.

How?

Potty or straight to the toilet? Pull-ups or pants? Lift up at night or risk it? Allow your child have some input (e.g. do they want to use a potty or go straight to the toilet?) whilst ensuring you choose a method that suits you and your lifestyle.

  1. Make sure you have time!! I cannot stress this enough.Start toilet-training over a quiet period of time such as a long weekend with no plans to go out on long walks, playdates etc. Also, avoid having too much to do over following week or so. Establishing familiarity is essential for easy toilet-training. Your child is learning a new skill, and they need to have the same tools until they get the hang of it i.e. Use the same toilet/potty/setting in the early days.
  2. Stay calm and be prepared. They will wet themselves; have plenty of changes handy! It will be an accident – not a malicious act of defiance! Accidents are not the end of the world so don’t lose your temper!
  3. Encourage independence.Let them do as much as they can alone. Show them how to wipe but don’t do it for them. Show them how to flush the toilet and wash their hands properly. Start as you mean for them to go on.
  4. Stay on it and lower expectations.You can’t just make them go to the toilet because you want to go out – plan to bring a potty or go somewhere with easy (quick) access to a toilet.
  5. Provide reassuranceWhen they have accidents, reassure them but don’t over do it. Encourage them to clean up as much as they can themselves. Don’t make this a punishmentit is just helping you (while ultimately helping themselves)
  6. Praise them!Every time they ‘go’ on their own, treat it as the massive developmental leap that it is. Praise them to the highest heights. Happy dances, applause and treats are absolutely appropriate!!

Don’t:-

  • Get cross – it is just an inconvenience – count to 10 and carry on.
  • Blame the child – they are learning a brand new skill.
  • ‘Lock horns’ – if after 72 hours they are still having as many accidents as day one, they are probably not ready. Regroup and try again at a later date.
  • Worry – they will get it! We all did!

It’s tempting to add ‘lift at night’ to the ‘don’ts’, but if you are prepared to do it then there is nothing wrong with it. However,waiting until your child is dry at night for at least two weeks and then removing the nappy, is a faster and easier way of completely training with children. Be advised though dry nights take a long time to kick-in, sometimes up to a year later than dry days!

I hope you find some help in the above tips. Do you have any of your own to add? Please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading

Aisling

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