This is a guest post.
Born in 1942, Anna Wahlgren is a Swedish writer, author, mother of nine and grandmother of fourteen. For the past 30 years she has been a parent educator and a child advocate and is an active and often controversial participant in the public debate on child rearing. She is one of the most trusted authorities on children in Scandinavia and is renowned for her sleeping “cure” – A Good Night’s Sleep (GNS) – which has enabled thousands of sleep-deprived children (and parents) to sleep through the night.
Here’s what Anna mentions about Potty Training your little ones:
What’s important is that you keep your eyes peeled for signs that your child is ready to get out of diapers. Make it possible for him to take care of his own business! A kiddie stool by the toilet is a good idea as is a kiddie toilet ring to go with it. (Make sure you put the stool back in position and leave the ring on when you have used the toilet yourself.)
You can of course buy a potty and position it accessibly and present it to your child as a suitable place to offload whatever needs offloading. Lace the potty in its appointed spot with the toilet paper beside it so that things are as “realistic” as possible.
If your child has been dry for five or six nights in a row, stop outing a night diaper on him without making a big deal out of it. “You probably don’t need a diaper anymore,” you can say with the stress on “probably”. You don’t want to burden the poor child with parental expectations!
Once you have dispensed with the night diaper (or the day diaper if your child is dry during the day), don’t go back to it even if there are accidents. If you do, you are saying one of two things: “You couldn’t handle it” or “I was wrong”. Both messages are very risky.
The first time your child uses the potty is of course a milestone, and I’m not suggesting that you ignore what is for you and your child such an important event. His declaration in word or deed should be accorded the appreciation it deserves. But show your appreciation in a way that makes it clear to the child that it is above all a question of practicality. “You peed in the potty! It’s goodbye to the diaper!” Then throw the diaper away together.
The child is not being rewarded for performing well. He is not “clever” or “good”. Emptying one’s bladder or bowels is not clever. It’s just necessary.
Accidents are to be expected, and this will cause your child some anxiety. Not a lot, but some. It’s a sign of the child’s innate desire to be clean, and is a further indication that human beings are clean animals. Help your child bear the burden! “Oh-oh, is there pee in your pants? Isn’t the pee silly! Let’s get you a new pair of pants.”
It’s the pee that’s at fault, not the child. Sharing the burden is far better than blowing it off with an “Oh, it doesn’t matter”. And anything that smacks of reproach is of course forbidden.
Diapers for children older than three are not recommended, since this may short circuit their built- in desire for cleanliness. A child this age in a diaper doesn’t have to answer the call of nature, and the alarm system that controls bodily functions may deactivate.
By three at the latest, children with no formal toilet training at all will be dry and clean with few, if any, relapses.
Anna will be promoting both of her books and doing demonstrations at two events in NY. She will be at the IKEA in Brooklyn on April 20th at noon and at the Brooklyn Library on April 24th from 10:30-noon. Be sure to stop by and visit!!
Disclosure: This is a guest post. I received Anna’s books in exchange for this post. No other compensation was received.