The simple truth about toilet training is that if the child is ready, it happens very easily. If not, a power struggle often ensues -- and we all know that no one wins a parent-child power struggle. Fights with your child about his or her body are fights you will never win.

Luckily, there is a never a reason to fight with your child about this. Moving from diapers to being self-sufficiently able to use the toilet is a natural process. Humans have been doing it for a long time. They all get out of diapers sooner or later.

So you don't actually need to "toilet train" your child. Instead, set up conditions so your child can learn. Your goal is to make it as easy and effortless as possible. Think of this as a process of learning that unfolds over time, like all other learning and mastery.

Here's a step by step guide for child-led potty learning.

When I was younger and watching TV show after TV show (and being super unproductive), my mother had an interesting way to get me up and going. She’d say, “(Insert main character or actor’s name here) is doing her job entertaining you. She is living her life, and you have to get off your butt and live yours.”

I get it now. When my Little says there is something new he wants to learn, I immediately chime in with the usual phrases: “Let’s make it happen.” “Let’s practice or learn.” Bottom line? Let’s put some action to whatever it is. 

Children may ask heartbreaking questions that seem impossible to answer, but there are honest, age-appropriate ways to respond. Print out these ideas for parents to use as they handle difficult questions from their children. Each parent will have to decide how much information to share, and how to adjust their answers based on children’s ages.

Parents and teachers can use questions about homelessness (from children who have not experienced it) as a valuable opportunity to build empathy and compassion. Explaining homelessness to young children who have not experienced it is tough, but there are age-appropriate and honest answers. Public-classroom teachers and early-childhood educators can use these responses as a guide, and also distribute them to parents. Naturally, answers should be adjusted, depending on children’s ages.

Embracing your role as military caregiver isn’t always simple. Big feelings like uncertainty and even grief come and go. Some days will be difficult, but caregiving, especially when the whole family is “in it together,” can be so rewarding. Understanding that caregiving is a journey best taken one day at a time can help everyone take challenges “in stride.” Consider these ideas as you take stock of what your caregiving journey may look like.

There are ways for parents to create a small sense of home, even when moving frequently from place to place without all of their belongings. Parents without a permanent place to stay face a number of challenges in giving their children a consistent sense of home for many reasons, but home is much more than a physical space—it’s a feeling of love, security, and connectedness. This feeling of home can move with you wherever families go together. Even things that seem simple, such as having the same pillowcase to sleep on each night, or hanging the same air freshener in the room, can make a big difference.

Most little ones go through stages when they resist diaper changes. Unless you have the rare child who is uncomfortable in wet diapers, then he has no incentive to want a diaper change. By 11 months old, your child is old enough to want to be more in charge of his body and his time. He doesn't want an adult to swoop in and pick him up and disrobe him when he's busy with something.

Often, simply slowing down and connecting changes everything. Sometimes, giving the child control is the key to avoiding a power struggle. Often, not interrupting their play solves the problem by meeting their needs as well as yours. And sometimes you will probably find yourself resorting to distraction. So, here's a list of ideas to try, most of which will work sometimes, or for a while. You may find some good combinations that work for you. It is suggested that you print this list and add to it as you discover more solutions that work for you and your child.

Your baby is developing his own personality. What do you need to know to be a great parent? Your growing baby's developmental tasks, your priorities, and a simple Parents' Gameplan, all set up to make your life easier, when you've got only three minutes to read before he wakes up.

Last weekend, the second of our two children was married. Ross, our son, married a wonderful girl from Nashville, Tennessee. It was a great weekend in Nashville, and it left me with an unexpected feeling of accomplishment. Both our kids are now wed to great spouses, and we truly like their families. Two for two, that’s a blessing.  

As with most weddings, there was a large gathering of extended family for both the bride and the groom. It was fun to see these two different worlds collide. Young and old. Alabama and Michigan. Good dancers and bad. These worlds blended for a great celebration.  

I received the text from my neighbor and smiled, happy playtime was over. But I was also thankful for the abundance of playmates for my Little. I typed, “They’re headed your way,” as I politely shooed the kids out of my house and on to the next. I told my Little, “Okay, as soon as you pick up the toy you left, come right back.” He smiled and nodded. 

Ten minutes later, as I took dinner out of the oven, I peeked toward the front door, expecting to see him walking through. No Little. Okay… My eyes wandered over to the trash bin and recyclables. I usually leave them for my husband, but what the heck? Might as well 

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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