Readiness for toilet training - what’s more important?
The child’s readiness or the parents’?
It’s widely accepted that the child’s readiness to go diaper-free is reflected in several areas. The physical ¬aspect—the ability to identify physical message signals related to elimination: pressure on the bladder; pressure in the bowels.
Gross and fine motor skills—the ability to walk to the bathroom, clamber onto the trainer seat, remove and put on items of clothing; the skills to cope with buttons, Velcro and so on. In the emotional area—the need to stop using diapers and imitate the adults around him; the urge for achievement, etc. And in the cognitive area—the capacity to understand, express, and communicate.
It’s generally agreed that in those aspects, most children are ready between 18 months and 2½ years. Yet in some countries and ethnic groups, many kids are diaper-free even earlier, sometimes at 9 months: in Russia and Ethiopia for instance. Clearly, children’s ability to acquire hygiene habits and control their elimination is present at the earliest months of life. To develop and activate it at an early age, what’s needed is the right approach plus the parents’ appropriate level of readiness.
The parents’ approach and readiness apparently determine the kind of process and how successful it will be. Parents have a crucial role in toilet training. They can make it uneventful and harmonious, or plagued with anger and frustration. For the utmost success, parents must launch the process when they’re available, ready, and armed with patience. Several principles ensure a positive, effective, and short experience that bolsters the child’s developing personality.