Off the back of another successful Toilet Training evening with a cool group of parents one of the most prominent comments I got back was the fact that they had never broken down the process of going to the toilet before and hadn't ever thought of acknowledging the small steps.
All to often when we think of going to the toilet it's just considered as a single action and if our children don't successfully wee or poo then we don't consider that attempt a success or an achievement when actually they may have succeeded to achieve many other steps in the process.
We've decided to share with you all the 9 steps to going toilet, animportant process that you need to remember when toilet training your little ones!
Step 1 - Acknowledge the need to go to the toilet by telling an adult.
I don't know about you but I still announce to anyone around me when I need to go to the toilet; usually politely with a simple 'excuse me I've just got to go to the loo' and less like my husband who announces to the neighbourhood 'Just going to take a shit love!' However we announce it we announce it, even if it's just a simple acknowledgement to ourselves that we need to pee, we've listened to our bladder and acknowledged the need. Our children are no different - they too need to acknowledge the fact that their bladder is full and they then need to tell us or the lady scanning the groceries at the supermarket! By making this acknowledgement and letting someone know they have successfully achieved the first step in the toileting process. Well done them!
Step 2 - Go to the toilet room.
This is a very important step in the entire process as peeing where we please is actually not socially acceptable; despite the midnight actions of some drunken members of society. On the odd occasion i.e long car trips, bush walks etc, there can sometimes be the need to embrace the outdoor jungle wee but for the most part the place we want our children to wee and poo is on the toilet. For some children even going near the toilet can be a huge hurdle and if you are struggling to get your little one to make friends with the cold porcelain throne you need to overcome this as your first priority. For those who will happily go into the toilet room well done you can move onto step 3!
Step 3 - Pull down your pants/underwear.
To wee or poo on the toilet we must expose our bottoms by way of removing our clothing. For adults this means simply pulling down our pants etc but be warned, for children this process can often mean removing socks, shoes, t-shirts, pants, undies, hair ties and anything else they are wearing! I don't know why kids desire to take on the role of nudest to have a crap but they do and it's ok behaviour when you're 3. I know as a parent this can be completely frustrating especially when you are right in the middle of shuffling the troops into the car for the morning school run but just remember they are learning - is it worth the fight or can you spare an additional few minutes of your time to undress and redress them before you leave; getting to your destinations 5 mins later is much more enjoyable than arriving on time and frustrated with an upset child!
Step 4 - Sit on the toilet (or for boys who want to wee this might mean standing)
Simple right?! Now imagine that the toilet comes up to your chest and the place you have to sit is 8 x the size of your rear end and anything that falls into it often gets flushed into oblivion! You are precariously perched on the edge of the seat butt hanging into the abyss below, you are hanging on for dear life with white knuckles - are you feeling a little scared???? Sometimes sitting on the toilet itself can be a very terrifying and nervous time for our little ones, having something like a children's toilet seat can really help them to feel more comfortable and more secure whilst upon the throne.
Step 5 - TRY to do a wee or a poo.
Now this is either the golden moment of success and celebration or for some a moment of disappointment when nothing occurs. If they have mastered the art of controlling their elimination muscles for this attempt and manage a voluntary wee or poo that is wonderful - embrace that little creature tight, fist pump, high five, praise the living daylights out of them! Ring dad and grandma at work at share the good news. However, if nothing happens that is ok too! You still need to praise the effort! Hugs, high fives and words of encouragement are still. just as important - remember they have still successfully achieved 5 other steps to reach this point.
Step 6 - Wipe your bottom (or get help).
Two words people - DOWNWARD DOG! That yoga move is one that all children should know and it will make the art of butt wiping a much easier task for they lucky parent who draws the short straw! Obviously the long term plan is for them to be taking care of this step themselves but you may not want them to have that responsibility right from the start (hint - Skiddies!)
Step 7 - Pull up their pants.
Or, as discussed above, this step could require completely redressing or just because kids can be a total pain in the ass you may find they also need a full outfit change just because they have gone off the clothes they were wearing for 6 and a half minutes prior to going toilet. In my experience kids find removing clothes a much easier step then putting them on so good luck with this one - you may need to help!
Step 8 - Flush the toilet.
Oh the JOY! Watching that water go round and round and suck down the toilet paper, the poo, dads cellphone and their sisters favourite teddy too! Kids (most) love to flush the toilet, in fact I do wonder if half of the time they fake needing to go toilet just to get to flush the bloody thing. Seriously though this step is just as important as the rest as no one likes to come across a dirty great turd that hasn't been flushed; try and establish this habit early their future spouse will thank you for it!
Step 9 - Wash your hands.
Washing hands completes the toileting process as well as ensuring good hygiene- it reduces the spread of shitty bugs that cause snotty noses and vomit! Kids love water and bubbles so getting this step right shouldn't be too hard.
If you have made it this far well done - you now know the 9 steps to going toilet! When helping our kids to toilet train it's really important to ensure that they learn to complete all these steps so go through them all at every attempt. Even if nothing happens don't forget that they have in fact achieved so many other things so every attempt and effort must be acknowledged and praised.
With lots of love, support, encouragement and many a swear word under your breath you and your wee one will reach that stage where toilet training is a thing of the past and you will be tackling a new challenge like the know-it-all pre-teen or teaching them to drive!
Best Wishes and Good Luck