Jun 22, 2008

Potty Training Your Baby

A Practical Guide for Easier Toilet Training
by Katie van Pelt

This was the last book I read on toilet training, but I think if it had been the first I would have had an easier time! It's short, simple, and very practical. It doesn't go into a lot of detail, but explains fairly clearly how to transition your child out of diapers and on to using the toilet beginning at one year old and ending when they're two. Potty Training Your Baby states that teaching earlier is easier, because by the time your child reaches the "terrible twos" and is asserting independence by wanting to do the opposite of everything you ask them (at least, that's how it felt to me), toilet use will already be a habit. Van Pelt breaks down the process into three major steps: teaching your child to recognize the need to go, where to go, and control of their body functions.

The book also discusses things like how to choose a child potty, teaching an older child, and dealing with setbacks. Especially useful, I thought, was the idea of letting your child occasionally go somewhere acceptable other than the potty (like peeing in the grass, or in a plastic cup) so that if you happen to be far from a bathroom someday, your child won't panic and refuse the alternative! There's strong emphasis on attitude, and here I think the author takes it a bit too far. I agree with the need to keep a relaxed and calm attitude, and not tease a child about body functions, but she says you shouldn't have your child wash their hands after every time, only when they've actually got something on their hands, so they don't get the "unhealthy" idea their body is dirty and acquire a "negative self-image". Personally, I think it's better to instill in a child the habit of always washing hands after using the bathroom, and is quite possible to do so without making them feel their body is "dirty". My toddler loves washing her hands, playing with the soap and water, and will do so many times a day even when it's not necessary or required!

Rating: 3/5                 119 pages, 1996


Jaimie said...

I remember that time, actually times in my life. My girls practically trained themselves, I was very lucky. My son was a different matter altogether. I wish this book was around then!

Nyssaneala said...

I generally lurk, but I wanted to let you know all of your parenting book reviews are really helpful!

Jeane said...

I'm glad to know that, Nyssaneala. I was thinking that most readers found these reviews boring! I've a bunch of titles on pregnancy and breastfeeding coming up!

Susan said...

I've found that toilet-training books as useful as getting your kids to sleep books - pretty useless. I think it really depends on the nature of your child. since I'm toilet training the third (and last! Hurray!) child now, I speak from some experience. Some children can't wait and are eager, and some children could care less. I think the main thing is to remain calm, and to try to instill a feeling of health in the child, and that going to the bathroom is natural.
Thanks for the book reviews though, at least people get an idea what's out there and what appears good or not!
Did you read any toilet-training books when your children were little? Is your toddler all done toilet-training too?

Jeane said...

Thanks for the comments, Susan. I've only one daughter, and I didn't know where to start, so I read a number of books on the subject. All the toilet training books reviewed here I read in 2005. My daughter's three now. We began introducing her to the potty at nine months (using some of the infant "elimination communication" methods) and she was pretty much toilet trained at about twenty months, although we still have accidents from time to time! I'm sure if I have a second child, I'll be much more relaxed about toilet training, and it will go much smoother.