And by “everyone” I mean “no one” except parents of toddlers (and maybe not even them!).
Freestyle has been out of diapers (during the daytime) since she was about 18 months. Yes, there have been accidents here and there, but on the whole she has been pretty successful in this area.* I also shared what worked for us here.
HOWEVER, one thing I didn’t really realize that she wasn’t truly using the toilet by herself. What I had been doing was going with her to the washroom and helping her up on her stool, pull down pants, and wipe. That is not really independence, is it?
I didn’t really notice this until…I was on my own for the first time with both girls (Biker had gone back to work after the three weeks) and I was breastfeeding Real Baby when suddenly I hear Freestyle saying, “Poo poo! Me poo poo!”
They say that children may regress in certain areas of development when a new baby arrives, and I found this to be true with Freestyle. Right before Real Baby was born, Freestyle was sleeping very well on her own (finally!). However, once Real Baby arrived on the scene, sleep went out the window for every member of the family, including Freestyle! (She is slowly getting better now.).
With her toileting (not sure if that’s a word, but I’m going with it!), Freestyle started having more accidents about a month before Real Baby’s birth and a month afterwards. I am just going to chalk it up to knowing that something was about to change (before) and then adjusting to having a new person in the house (after). It’s three months later and Freestyle is back to normal now. She doesn’t wear diapers for her naps now and is dry afterwards about 90% of the time. Woo hoo! Now let’s just see about her nighttime diaper…
Anyhow, after that eye-opening incident, I have come to realize why the lessons in Casa albums have SO MANY STEPS! Sweeping with a broom has about 20 steps or something! I get it now. There really are a lot of steps to do a simple task, we just don’t realize it because we’ve done it thousands of times and we don’t have to think about it.
(Whenever you’re driving, do you ever suddenly look around and realize, “Oh, how did I get here?!” because all the minute tasks of driving a car has become so instinctual? If yes, that’s totally what I’m talking about. If not…excuse the living Chinese lady driver stereotype here!)
So, after some thought (and many just-didn’t-make-it-in-time accidents) and practice, here are the steps that are involved in going to the washroom all “by ma-sef” in our household, at least (at the moment, Freestyle is about 2.5 years old).
Going to the Washroom Independently
Prepared Environment: Stool(s) (not that kind!) for the toilet and sink, toilet lid is up and seat is down (there have been times when she just didn’t make it because there wasn’t enough time to lift the lid!), soap and towel at reach.
1. Turn the light on by climbing onto the stool to reach.
2. Get up onto the stool in front of the toilet.
3. Turn around and pull down pants, then underwear.
4. Sit onto the toilet and do your business.
5. Stand and wipe self, front to back (working on this!). I will usually help with this after she’s had a turn just to make sure it’s all clean!
6. Pull up underwear, then pants. (We’ll have to work on pants with buttons and zippers later.) Get off the stool (sometimes she reverses this step).
7. Flush (though we are trying the whole “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” thing if it’s just us in the house).
8. Climb up the sink stool and roll up sleeves.
9. Wash hands: Rub soap on hands for at least 30 seconds (singing “Happy Birthday” or the alphabet is what I suggested to some kids in my class), making sure to scrub the front and back of hands and in between fingers and thumb. Fully rinse off all soap. Dry hands.
10. Turn light off.
Things we had to constantly practiced before she could do all those steps on her own:
- Getting up and down a stool.
- Pulling pants and underwear down and putting them back on.
- Lowering self onto the toilet seat. –> In public washrooms, I will usually hold onto her so she doesn’t have to hold onto the toilet seat or walls…shudder.
- Tearing off only a couple squares of toilet paper. –> Took many tries and many unrolled toilet paper rolls!
- Wiping(!) properly–> Still practicing this one!
- Turning on and off the tap (so only a small amount of water is running and it’s warm/cool…we have the kind of tap that rotates, so it was a bit tricky for Freestyle to learn to move it to the right temperature and water pressure!)
- Using the soap pump and pumping out a small amount of soap.
- Washing and drying hands thoroughly.
Any sage toileting advice for toddlers?