What is Developmental Toilet Training?

What is Developmental Toilet Training?

It’s the only toilet training method that approaches toileting as a developmental process – much like learning to walk or talk. Unlike other methods, Developmental Toilet Training looks at the foundational skills a child needs to be able to use the toilet, and supports children to each next step. It begins in infancy with learning to be comfortable and relaxed with sitting on the toilet, and it continues to grow gradually as your child’s capabilities increase. Children aren’t rushed – they’re trained when they are ready – but by starting in infancy you truly know when they are ready. This is radically different than the way people often approach toilet training.

The 2 most popular toilet training methods right now are:

1. Do nothing until you have a toddler and you can’t take the nasty diapers anymore so you embark on a 3-day training quest that may or may not work and may or may not leave everyone feeling frustrated and burned out.

2. Do nothing until until your toddler expresses some interest in learning to use the toilet. Then follow his lead by introducing the potty and hoping it goes well.

The third, and far less popular option is…

3. Elimination Communication, in which you start with your newborn and avoid the use of diapers altogether.

It’s not that these methods are popular because they’re so great – they’re popular because most people don’t know of a better approach. So what’s wrong with these methods… if they’re so bad why are they so popular? They’re bad because they have nothing to do with how children learn. Doing nothing for 2-3 years is not a training method. It’s the “I have no idea what to do but neither does anyone else so I won’t do anything since no one else does anything either” approach. There is nothing else in childhood that we approach this way. We help our children grow and learn from the time they’re born, often in ways we’re not even aware of. We help them learn to hold up their heads, to grab at toys, to babble and make eye contact with us. But when it comes to toilet training we literally DO NOTHING for years. Some kids learn it quickly once it’s introduced because they’re actually way past being ready, others struggle for a variety of reasons. That’s the first 2 methods. What about the 3rd method Elimination Communication might work well for some families. It does start in infancy and teaches children to recognize the need to go, as well as how to communicate that need to an adult. Those are great things, and we teach them in Developmental Toilet Training too.

The problems for many people are:

1. Starting with newborns – there’s already a lot going on when you have a newborn and toileting is such a low priority. Plus they go constantly.

2. Not using diapers (or even using them as little as possible) is a major inconvenience for the vast majority of parents. Especially in families where both parents are working.

3. It’s often viewed as radical and extreme. It’s not easily adaptable to the mainstream so babysitters, daycare providers, and relatives will have a hard time supporting your efforts.

Let’s Potty Talk Developmental Toilet Training is a completely different approach. We start with babies (not newborns), but the method is easily adapted to toddlers. It’s a method that can be used by anyone who watches your child, and can be used everywhere. With Developmental Toilet Training, we focus on teaching your child how to use the toilet in the same way that she will learn all the other skills of early childhood: with gradual steps that follow an age-appropriate and ability-appropriate continuum. The program is thus tailored to the individual child, and the individual family’s, needs.

What are the benefits of Developmental Toilet Training?

1. Babies learn to train in a process that grows as they do so the expectations meet their abilities

2. Sitting on the toilet since infancy eliminates common problems such as fear of the toilet and difficulty releasing into the toilet

3. Children learn to recognize their own needs and to communicate them from an early age, and parents learn to read their child’s subtle signals

4. children learn to “generalize” toileting skills more easily because of early exposure to using lots of different toilets in lots different places

5. Stress is reduced for parents and kids because the parents know how to train.

6. Parents get support for unexpected bumps in the road. You are never left on your own to figure it out.

7. You’ll use much fewer diapers over time… even 2-3 fewer diapers per day makes a huge difference over a period of 1-2 years. When you use 2 fewer diapers per day for 1 year that’s 730 fewer diapers in landfills (or that you have to wash if you’re using reusables).

8. Last but not least, you save tons of money. Here’s the math based on a cost of $.30 per diaper… 2 fewer diapers per day for 1 year is a saving of $219. Multiply that by how many kids you have and how long it takes them to train… if you use Developmental Toilet Training with 3 kids for 2 years each you will easily save $1300. If you’re just starting out in toilet training try out the video series to learn everything you need to know. Any issues that come up (because babies and toddlers love to throw us curve balls) can always be addressed directly in the user forum. If you’ve been working on training, or need help getting started you can schedule a personal consultation. In- person consults are available to families in Fairfield, CT and Westchester, NY. Phone and video chat consults are available everywhere. Feel free to email any questions!