Potty Learning

Dear Naomi, could you please give us advice about potty learning? Our son is two and a half. We keep offering the potty but he refuses to sit on it. Same goes for the toilet. We think he’s not ready yet. How do we know when he is ready? Should we wait for him to request the potty or should we keep offering it and wait for him to say “yes”? It will be great to read what is your experience with your children, if you are willing to share with us of course.

Thank you. Joanna and Lukas

Dear Joanna and Lukas,

Your son wants and needs to make his body choices autonomously. If you show interest in his use of the potty, he will claim his right to his body by refusing to use it. He says, “It is MY body. I will decide.”

I suggest that you drop the subject completely. It will take your child a while to believe that you are not invested in his getting out of diapers. Therefore, take a big breath and truly let go of any agenda. Don’t “wait” for him to be interested; actually make peace with using diapers for an unlimited time. It must be your child’s choice every step of the way. 

Side by side with freeing your child from your intentions, make sure to use only cotton diapers, so he can experience his own body functions. Disposable diapers are harmful to his body and dramatically slow down his natural interest in using the toilet.

With my three children I did nothing, they were in charge of themselves. Looking back I can see that I did what is now called, “Elimination Communication,” but with the use of cotton diapers for convenience indoors. All three were out of diapers by one and a half, and dry and diaper free at night by two and a half without any intention or direction from me or my husband. 

When autonomous, toddlers develop an interest in using the toilet on their own. Any manipulation can cause the child to resist in order to take charge of himself. Therefore, when your son eventually does choose to use the toilet, avoid any reaction that spells excitement or approval. He is not doing things with his own body to satisfy or impress you. It is his own life and his own body. 

Warmly,  Naomi Aldort, www.AuthenticParent.com