Toilet training – but is your child ready?

Are you thinking of toilet training your child? Is that because your child is ready or because you are under pressure to do so, perhaps because of new childcare arrangements? Here are some words of wisdom from David Coleman in the Irish Independent.

Dear David Coleman: How can I get my daughter toilet- trained in time for Montessori?

Toilet-training can begin sooner or later, depending on the child

Toilet-training can begin sooner or later, depending on the child

Q My daughter is two-and-a-half years old and after crèche closures in the pandemic we re-evaluated and decided that I would work less and she would attend a Montessori school instead, in September. However, she must be toilet trained before she starts – no nappies or pull-ups – and she is not interested. She says she is a baby and babies wear nappies. What is your advice?

David replies:  You are in a tricky situation, since toilet-training is a developmental stage that children cannot achieve until they are ready to do so. Readiness involves showing interest in the toileting habits of others, showing interest in using the toilet themselves, knowing when a wee and poo are coming, and being able to wait until they get to a potty or toilet.

Your daughter shows none of that readiness and so training her will be a struggle that will drag on. Additionally, the external pressure of needing her to be trained to be able to go to Montessori may also add stress and anxiety to your interactions with her, that in turn may also make the training stressful and less successful.

Perhaps you may need to further rethink your plans for September. One more year at crèche will leave her more able for the demands of preschool and will allow her to toilet-train in her own time, and without the pressure of a deadline.

Even her explanation that “she is a baby” suggests that she is trying to tell you that she isn’t ready to move on yet. I think it might be wise to listen to her.

You can read more from David Coleman plus other articles on parenting issues at  https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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