As I explored the possibility of toilet training babies I realised we teach them firstly to only eliminate in a nappy for the first couple of years of their life and then we change the rules and tell them that is not the way it’s going to be anymore.
Both my babies, when they were gorgeous little newborns, would instinctively do a wee when we took the nappy off. Initially with our Little Man we would jump, squeal and cover him up as quick as we could react. This response quickly confirmed to him that when the nappy was off he had to stay dry. After a period of time we could change a nappy and he wouldn’t ‘elimminate’ until the nappy was put on and nice and clean. His training was complete – we had taught him to use nappy. Does this sound familiar to you?
After further reading and a lot of thought and conversations on the topic, I realised we teach them to use the nappy for going to the toilet. This is not something they learn in utero. A couple of years down the track we use every trick in the book to reverse that instinct as we encourage them to use the toilet when their nappy is off – the very thing they were doing naturally and instinctively when they were first born!
I use ‘we’ because I am a strong believer that throughout parenthood it takes the commitment of both parents to teach, support and encourage children through the magnitude of learning in front of them. I am completely in awe of single parents and will always hold them in the highest regard. We are a two parent house hold and while my husband is the primary bread winner of the family and works long hours, he is a very hands on ‘Da’ to both our children, so his support with the directions with which we guide our children, is invaluable both to me and them.
He informed me that race horses are trained to wee on queue for drug testing after they race. Apparently they are taught to wee when a whistle is blown so their urine can be collected and tested. This got me to thinking about all you pet owners out there who have successfully got your cats and dogs to use the designated ‘pot’ for their toileting needs. So why is training a baby any different – obviously it is unnecessary for animals to fluently speak our language to understand the process expected of them.