Last week Ms. DeAnne, Lead Toddler Directress, kicked off our self-toileting series with an introduction to toileting. This week Ms. Johanna Porter, Lead Toddler Directress is giving us a clearer understanding of how we can support the child in developing awareness in relation to toileting.
If you are unable to view the embedded video below, click here.
It has been said, “Awareness is the prerequisite for growth,” and that is true for toilet learning as well. Awareness grows as the child collect and assimilates information. So our goal is not to see how quickly the child masters self toileting, but how we can successfully support the child in his formation of independent functioning, coordinated movement, language, and will.
Steps to help develop awareness:
Cotton diapers- Are the greatest tool in developing early awareness, starting from birth. If they are changed as soon as they are wet, the child gradually becomes aware of the contrast of wet/dry, and that dry is the preferable state.
Underwear- Disposable diapers are still commonly favored. In this case, underwear is the next greatest tool that we can provide for the walking child, because of the dramatic sensorial feedback underwear provides when the child urinates. Unlike the disposable diapers that quickly absorb the urine and pull the moisture away from the child, the underwear, even when a little padded, allows the urine to trickle along the legs and create a puddle on the floor. This shifts the child’s focus from what they were doing to the sensorial experience, and they look at the floor.
Language- The adult can further assist the development of awareness by naming what the child experienced. Simple correct language empowers the child to understand what is happening:
“I see that you’re wet.”
“There is urine on the floor”
And at the same time empower the child to take charge.
“Let’s get a towel (and spray bottle), so we can (spray) and dry the floor”
“Let’s get some dry clothes”
Many of our toddler students as young as 16 months eagerly choose underwear over a diaper. Ms. Johanna points out, “It seems they love how it feels, and the comfort it provides.” Our Toddler Program’s goal is not dry pants, but to support the child to unfold in their quest of independence.