Diaper changes take up a large chunk of the day. Try making it fun with songs and finger games. This can be an intimate time when baby feels special and important. Listening and talking or babbling to one another also promotes language development by laying the groundwork for the turn taking of developing conversation.
Parents often bring up toileting when their 2-year-olds begin to be more independent and seem to have better muscle control. Again, each family will have its philosophy. Toileting is largely influenced by cultural and familial beliefs. There is a wide variation in style, especially in the parents' willingness to follow the child's lead.
It is important to find out basic information about a toddler's experience with toileting. Some teachers use a questionnaire. Here are some questions to consider:
- Does your child use the toilet? Bowel or urine?
- How comfortable is your child using the potty chair? The toilet?
- What words does your family use when referring to bowel movements or urinating?
- Does he stay dry at naptime?
- Does he use a diaper during nap?
- Are reminders necessary? How often and when?
- How do you handle the accidents that are a natural part of the learning process?
- How is it going so far?
- Is there anything else we need to know?
After finding out about the family's approach, share with them that it helps to stay low key and avoid getting into power struggles. Explain how you encourage the child's developing control over her own body without pressuring her to move too quickly. Toileting, like eating, should be an activity for which the child learns to read her own body signals-let her lead the way.
These types of exchanges let parents know that you are flexible in your approach to toileting and want to work with them to do what's best for their child.