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From diapers to dry days. A journey to a successful toilet training.

For some children, toilet training can be a quick process, while for others, it can be a longer and more drawn-out journey. We recently encountered a situation with one of our 5-year-olds who was experiencing difficulties with his toilet training – which he has been undertaking since March 2022, with very little progress to show for it. 

The Journey So Far

We got to a stage where he was able to wear underwear but he would request a nappy if he needed to use the toilet. If his parents tried to encourage him to use the toilet instead, he would whinge and cry. 

The Turning Point

Upon further investigation, we discovered that in the childcare environment, he was, in fact, able to use the toilet and remained accident-free throughout the day.  After discussing the situation with his parents, we arrived at the conclusion that if he could use the toilet at childcare, he should be able to do the same at home. Armed with this insight, his parents decided to eliminate nappies at home entirely.  To facilitate this, the boy and his parents had a farewell ceremony for the nappies, and his parents got him to throw his nappies in the bin himself – all in the name of becoming a big boy. 

The Success Story

The good news is that after just two weeks, this proved successful! He was accident-free, much to the happiness of his parents. 

So, what did we learn from this experience?

Interestingly, this is not the first time that completely eliminating access to nappies was the strategy that finally got a child over the line in terms of their toilet training.

Breaking the Safety Net

Naturally, doing his business in a nappy was a familiar and convenient option for the young boy. Having the comfort of knowing that the nappies were available to him only made it easier to do so.

What is important to realize is that while the use of nappies provided comfort to the child, it had a similar effect on his parents. During the discussion, his parents acknowledged that they also found it comforting knowing that the nappies were available in case “something happened”. Even though they tried to hide the nappies from their child, the fact that the nappies were in the house meant that the nappies would inevitably appear if the situation escalated.

This is one example of when completely removing a safety net is the most effective strategy. 

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