On World Toilet Day, let’s talk about an adventure parents face with their toddlers. Yes, toilet training. This article discusses the importance of toilet training and the right time to impart it.
By P K Vani
Toilet training is an important milestone in the development of a child. It is one of the first steps that children learn on their route to become self-sufficient. Toilet training is a challenge both to the parents and the child because it occurs when the new physical abilities, vocabulary, and self-esteem are rapidly developing in children. All children will manage to acquire the necessary control eventually, but the difficulty involved is a major concern for parents.
Theories of psychology emphasize that toilet training plays a major role in the personality development of the child. This is when the child learns self-control and to control the impulses. An early and harsh training such as forcing the child to hold or control the bowel movements will make the child obsessively tidy and punctual. Whereas, a liberal toilet training with no appropriate guidance can make the child messy and disorganized. Proper toilet training using encouraging statements helps build the child’s self-esteem.
Many parents have inappropriate expectations regarding the age at which toilet training should be given to children. Psychological studies reveal that there are benefits in toilet training from 18 months to 27 months. Realistic and appropriate expectation associated with the positive interaction between parents and child during this period facilitates child development. In contrast, unrealistic expectations can have adverse consequences such as frustration, punishment, negligence, abuse and lack of stimulation. Many parents force toilet training on their children when they are too young. This causes frustration and disappointment in the children as well as for the parents. The child should also be mentally ready. Motivation is the key too.
The following are indications that the child is ready for toilet training:
It is also important to know the risks of late toilet training. Some of the physical problems related to late toilet training (after 4 years) are as follows:
Some of the guidelines to be followed during toilet training are as follows:
Do remember that making the child understand the use of a toilet is of primary importance in the training process. Mastering the process will happen with practice and time. Setbacks are normal. Do not see them as regression or failure. Instead, encourage your child to practice what you have taught him.
The chemicals used in diapers such as dioxins are harmful. They cause decreased immunity, skin infections and eye irritation. Reduced ventilation in the genitals causes urinary tract infections. It causes incontinence, enuresis, and other health problems. It reduces the older babies' motivation to get potty trained and causes developmental delay. Proper toilet-training results in a minimal usage of diapers so that all the problems mentioned above are avoided.
The author is a clinical psychologist and lecturer with National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD.)
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