How were you disciplined as a child? How did you discipline your own children? And [...]
Helping your grandchild with potty trainingCreated by Charlotte in Being a Granny-carer
I’m starting with bladder control as it seems to exercise parents more, even though bowel control can precede it. I feel I should put my cards on the table. I really have no time for the idea of “potty training”. As a concept it’s outdated, and it’s unkind if attempted on a baby who isn’t ready for it. The age when a baby is ready to be dry varies from baby to baby. There’s no hard and fast rule.
The normal timeline is very long, but the facts are these: a baby who isn’t ready cannot be trained; a baby who is ready doesn’t need training. As you’ll have gathered, I’m in favour of a soft, laid-back approach where the baby takes the lead. Most problems arise where parents are determined to get a baby dry too early. Over enthusiasm, forcing a baby to sit on the potty and perform, then using discipline to enforce a parent’s wishes can lead to unhappiness.
Of course you’re there to back up what your children want to do but the kind route is to let your grandchild go at her own pace. There’s no way you or anyone can speed her up. But you can slow her down by being too strict. The thing to remember is that a baby can barely hold urine for one second until she is 15 months old. So while she may alert you that urine is coming with a grunt or by pointing, she can’t hold it long enough to wait for the potty.
From them on she gains holding power very slow, say a minute a week. So patience is only kind.
Your kind of practical help
Irrespective of what approach your children take you can still follow a humane tack when you’re in charge. Here are some suggestions for gently getting your grandchild used to the potty:
- From about a year, start using the potty as a toy so your grandchild has no fear of it.
- When your grandchild signals she wants to pass urine, act quickly.
- Keep potties in several rooms, not just the bathroom, to familiarise your grandchild with them and for rapid use.
- Make light of accidents and praise all success enthusiastically.
- When your grandchild is using the potty, sit close by and read or tell a story.
- Use pull-up night nappies until your grandchild is completely dry to remove anxiety about wetting herself. Girl commonly want to use them up at the age of four and boys five or later. It’s normal. Let your grandchild decide when she no longer needs them.
- Never compare your grandchild to your past experience or to another child. It’s not fair and you can’t know how fast or slowly she’s developing.
- Staying dry at night is helped by keeping drinks to a minimum before bedtime.
- Around the age of two your grandchild may ask to be left alone, and will be very proud of managing the potty on her own.
- Insist on going on the potty/loo before outings and going to bed.
- Place a potty near the bed so she can use it if she wakes in the night.
- Keep a store of pull-up nappies for when your grandchildren come to stay.
You know from experience not to expect more than this rough timetable suggests:
I must stress that the ages given below are very rough guidelines, based on averages. And as I’m sure you know, no child is average and the spread of what is considered to be normal is extremely wide.
18 months – most girls are almost dry during the day – add 6 months for boys
2 1/2 years – many girls are almost dry at night – boys, 6 months later
4 years – 9 out of 10 children will be dry day and night
It follows that 1 out of 10 children will still need a pull-up at night at the age of 5 and this is normal.
by Dr Miriam Stoppard taken from her latest book on grandparenting: ‘Grandparents, Enjoying and Caring for your Grandchild’, published by Dorling Kindersley and retailing on Amazon at £10.39