Danielle Daure holds a Master's Degree in Education and has over 20 years' combined experience in education and behavior analysis. She is a Board Certified and Licensed Behavior Analyst (BCBA, LBA). For years, Danielle worked with children as old as five with extreme anxiety around toilets, to the point where they had severe constipation through tears and tantrums. She saw frustrated parents trying to reward and/or punish their children into potty-training; children who couldn't start preschool because they weren't out of diapers; and even older toddlers with impacted bowels who had to be hospitalized because of days of withholding bowel movements. Toilet training isn't inherently difficult to learn; it is only that adults haven't been taught how to property introduce children to the toilet in a way that's natural and developmentally-appropriate. She has learned personally and professionally that when parents take simple daily steps, just 2-3 minutes per day from about four months on, toilet training will develop as easily and naturally as learning how to walk and talk and ride in a carseat. Her method is called Developmental Toilet Training, and doesn't subscribe to the diaper-free approach of the well-known Elimination Communication method because she says it's not practical, nor is it especially beneficial, to rush the process during infancy and avoid diapers entirely. Danielle, who offers a video series for parents, also encourages her clients to avoid using training-potties. Today, she walks us through her method for creating the easiest transition from diapers to toilet, and, surprisingly, the process isn't about getting to the goal of potty-training as soon as possible; it's about creating a safe, happy, stress-free and rewarding process for parents and children along the way. ********** Connect with Cynthia and Trisha at: Work with Cynthia: Work with Trisha at: We serve women and couples coast to coast with our live, online monthly HypnoBirthing classes, support groups and prenatal/postpartum workshops. We are so grateful for your reviews and shares! Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!
Danielle Daure holds a Master's Degree in Education and has over 20 years' combined experience in education and behavior analysis. She is a Board Certified and Licensed Behavior Analyst (BCBA, LBA). For years, Danielle worked with children as old as five with extreme anxiety around toilets, to the point where they had severe constipation through tears and tantrums. She saw frustrated parents trying to reward and/or punish their children into potty-training; children who couldn't start preschool because they weren't out of diapers; and even older toddlers with impacted bowels who had to be hospitalized because of days of withholding bowel movements.
Toilet training isn't inherently difficult to learn; it is only that adults haven't been taught how to property introduce children to the toilet in a way that's natural and developmentally-appropriate. She has learned personally and professionally that when parents take simple daily steps, just 2-3 minutes per day from about four months on, toilet training will develop as easily and naturally as learning how to walk and talk and ride in a carseat.
Her method is called Developmental Toilet Training, and doesn't subscribe to the diaper-free approach of the well-known Elimination Communication method because she says it's not practical, nor is it especially beneficial, to rush the process during infancy and avoid diapers entirely. Danielle, who offers a video series for parents, also encourages her clients to avoid using training-potties.
Today, she walks us through her method for creating the easiest transition from diapers to toilet, and, surprisingly, the process isn't about getting to the goal of potty-training as soon as possible; it's about creating a safe, happy, stress-free and rewarding process for parents and children along the way.
Connect with Cynthia and Trisha at:
Work with Cynthia:
Work with Trisha at:
We serve women and couples coast to coast with our live, online monthly HypnoBirthing classes, support groups and prenatal/postpartum workshops.
We are so grateful for your reviews and shares!
Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!
I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.
I've created a method called developmental toilet training. I noticed a lot of kids still in diapers at three years old, who had mastered every other motor skill that you'd expect a three year old to have mastered, but they were struggling with toilet training. All the work that I do with kids, we're really focused on what's developmentally appropriate. And none of these methods that are available are doing that nothing is leading up to full toilet training and communicating the need to use the toilet and self recognition of when you need to use the toilet. None of them are.
My name is Danielle Daure. I'm a board certified behavior analyst. I have a master's degree in education and a bachelor's in psychology. I've created a method called developmental toilet training that is designed to teach children how to use the toilet in a developmentally appropriate way that honors children and parents and our busy lives and the way that children actually learn. I came to an interest in toilet training. Well before I was a behavior analyst well before I was a parent. So I have three kids, they are now five, eight, and 11. And before I had kids, I just while I worked with kids, I felt like this was an area that was it just didn't get enough attention. It seemed like the options that were available to parents were kind of scant, not very good. A lot of people just kind of were winging it, or doing what their friend did, but their friend was winging it. And I noticed a lot of kids still in diapers at three years old, who had mastered every other motor skill that you'd expect a three year old to have mastered, but they were struggling with toilet training. And then when I was working with kids, as a teacher, as a preschool teacher, and later as behavior analysts with special needs kids, I was seeing a lot of parents struggling with four year olds, who in particular four year olds who were bladder trained, but not bowel trained, and experiencing a lot of severe anxiety about using the toilet for bowel movements, who were able to request diapers to go and stand in the corner or go to another room, they all had kind of their own rituals around it. But this was just something that seemed to be really coming up a lot. And so I was really before this, this was back now even before I had kids, and I was still working with kids, but did not yet have my own. That kind of rekindled my interest in what are we doing culturally as a society, for our kids to help them learn and for our parents to help them avoid this mess in the first place. Because it's clearly not working. I looked at kind of what has been traditionally used, which is essentially, for the past 100 years or so, it's wait for your child to show some cues or just when they're around to, you know, to seem to be a good age, let's start around to or don't just start randomly to wait until they express an interest which could be three could be four, could be never. So you do have to sometimes kind of take it on.
That's a weird one to me, Danielle, wait till they express interest because we can say that with food. But that's a neat when a young human looks at you know fresh berries, they're gonna get excited and start reaching they they're compelled, if you're eating in front of an early toddler, they're going to start reaching out and we'll instinctually touch food and bring it to their mouth. There's nothing inherent in us that's going to look at a toilet and have a longing to go sit on top of it. Am I Am I right here is that is this along the lines of what you were thinking when you made that when you had that yourself?
That is along the lines and for for younger siblings. I think some of them do see their older siblings using the toilet and they're interested and it's not universal or their parents or they might look at it as that something for my parent, that's not a kid thing. That's you know, that's a separate thing. Or the parents might get like a cute, you know, kind of freestanding toilet, potty chair and they're interested in it because it's cute, but they're interested in it like once or twice. It doesn't really maintain the interest. So it varies so much from one kid to the next. There's two others which is the intensive method where you have a child any toddler age, you plan to stay home for a few days you flood them with fluids, you give them salty snacks you have a freestanding potty chair somewhere around the house or a couple of them You have them with no pants, no underpants, no diapers, let them have accidents until they kind of figure it out. And then, you know, lots of praise when they figure it out. Okay, I mean, it's gonna work for some kids. But is it really a beneficial method? Does it give kids what they need to learn that skill. And then there's ECE elimination communication, which was the thing I had been kind of more drawn to and interested in. Because it seemed to be an approach that involves the parent and the child kind of having more of an interplay, and was really different than anything I've ever heard of, and started so young. So that was kind of the direction I felt more drawn to. I was not 100% sold, but I was more interested. And then when I had my daughter, and she was my first child, she's this tiny newborn, which is when easy starts, it starts with a newborn, and you hold them in a position where you're kind of holding their legs up so that they can easily eliminate into the toilet, but they have to have their back to you in order to hold them out. Because you hold them like this. And you're making a sound, and associated sound, to pair the sound that you're making with their urination so that they'll learn to urinate when they hear that sound, which is a lot of what I do in behavior analysis, we do a lot of pairing of from one thing to another to evoke a behavior. But to me, there were a couple of things that were missing. One was, first of all, as a mom with a newborn, I just, it was low priority. I was like, You know what, I've got to get used to learning to breastfeed, I'm still healing from giving birth, there's a lot changing in my body, I want to learn this little person, we'll get to that, you know, it's just not it just immediately went out the window as a priority. And in addition to that, once my daughter was, maybe she was three months anyway, I went back to work part time, one day a week, she was with each of her grandparents. So two days a week she was with other caretakers two days a week she was in daycare, it really wasn't feasible, I couldn't ask these other caretakers to do this really intensive method with her because it really involves no diapers at all. And I think now they say, you know, because it's so impractical, they had to say, some diaper use. But the goal is the really ultimate goal is no diapers at all. And I was like, It's too that's just not going to work for me, I need to be able to go out with her and not worry that she's gonna you know, pee in her car seat.
How many people really do ECE? Do you think I mean, I know people have done it. But I like the idea of no diapers ever is sounds impossible?
It does the only time I saw an example of it was in a documentary and the family moved to Hawaii. And they were just walking around outside the field. And I thought, well, that looks lovely. Yeah. That could work. It's like one of those good for you thoughts. Exactly. That's where you said, as much as I'm intrigued by this method. And I really don't like the other recommendations I've received professionally. And personally. That one also wasn't quite hitting the mark.
Yeah, I felt like none of them were working.
So I have to ask this question before you get into your method, which were very much looking forward to hearing. But what about the idea or the concept that you hear of like, kids will just learn, they'll eventually, potty train like no kids going to college without being potty trained. So who cares when that happens?
Yeah, that is to an extent true. But at the same time, you could say the same with walking or talking and we still teach them those things. You know, I think unless you restrain a child physically restrain them, they're still going to learn to walk. If you keep them in isolation, and they never hear language, they probably won't learn to talk. But we still look at it a little baby and we coo to them, and we talk to them, even if they're not going to talk back because it helps them learn eventually, they'll get through a lot, but we still help them learn. And it's the same thing.
Plus, it's a low bar to say that. I mean, I remember taking my son when he was just, I don't remember how young but very young to saw a swimming class. And I was holding him and he must have been I honestly don't remember somewhere around one. And there were in the other end of the pool, there was a I looked like a caretaker with a boy who looked around for with a pacifier in his mouth in the pool. And that I remember that all these years later. I don't even remember how old my son was at that time. But I remember seeing this really old kid with a pacifier. And you know that, I guess anyone could say, well, he won't have it forever. But you're thinking I really don't want him to have it at age four either.
Exactly. And not in a pool.
And by the way, I haven't said any we haven't said anything about the fact that many preschools actually have a requirement that puts a lot of parents into a crisis. But I liked what you were saying about you were thinking about human beings and nature and what's innate. So let's go back to your thought process when you were saying, I don't feel like anything is working and it didn't fit your lifestyle because you had some caretakers involved as well.
Yeah. So where I kind of came to it from was all the work that I do with kids were really focused on what's development until the appropriate and prerequisite skills, and what do they need to learn if they if they want to learn step M, what do they need? What are steps a through, that they can get through to all to get to where they want to be where we need them to be. And none of these methods that are available are doing that nothing is leading up to full toilet training and communicating the need to use the toilet and self recognition of when you need to use the toilet. None of them are. So I took a bunch of steps back and I approached it the way I approach most things in my work, which is what's the first step? What's the developmental step, the first step in learning to walk is developing neck muscles, developing core strength, rolling over, getting up on all fours, those are all things that lead to walking, but they're things that no one thinks about when they think about a toddler walking. But without them, the toddler is not going to walk. So what do we need for a child, a two year old to feel comfortable using the toilet, they need to first of all feel comfortable sitting on the toilet, they need to feel safe, they need to feel like they're not going to fall in. They need to feel like it is a space for children and not just big kids or adults. They need to feel like it's a fun place to be. So how do we do that we start not with having them facing away, but by facing us so they can see us we can play with them, sing to them, talk to them, engage with them. So how do you make sure they don't fall in? I love the inserts. I don't like the freestanding potty chairs are like the inserts that go on the toilet. Because then you don't have to reteach sitting on the toilet. And they really do keep the child from falling. Instead, as the baby goes from an infant into a young toddler and can fully support themselves, they have the handles, they can learn to sit there without the fear of falling in, I started four months, because by four months, the baby can really hold up their head pretty well. If you have a baby who had four months is not really holding up their head, I wouldn't even start because eye contact is so important having the baby being able to see you smiling at them. Because they're there is so important. So you're holding them on. And you're smiling at them. And you're saying yeah, look, you're here and you're singing a little song. And really that's it three, four times a day.
What if they just sit there and smile at you for a few hours? What do you do not do you take this getting comfortable? Okay, come exactly. We're on step one, right? Step one has nothing to do with actually using the toilet. And this is the part that's so hard for people to understand. Because it's not about toilet training an infant at all. It's not about not using diapers, we do end up using a lot less diapers. But it's not about not using diapers, and there's no expectation for a four or five, six month old to become toilet trained, they probably will end up going because a lot of times they just end up going. But those first steps are really about building routine building comfort building a feeling of safety and a feeling of I like being here. It's kind of like a car seat. Like if you think about how a lot of times toddlers, when you strap them into their car seat, they might give you a bit of like, I don't want to be here and they kind of like wiggle and they kind of try not to get into the car seat. But they've also been in the car seat since they were born. So they're kind of used to it, it's just a thing that they do. And when you start really young like that, at four months, it's just part of the routine. If you wait until you've got a child who's crawling and walking, and then you're introducing the toilet, well, it's boring, I don't really want to sit here I'd rather go crawl around, it's really hard to keep a child that age who doesn't have to go on the toilet. But when you've built in from for months that every time a diapers changed, you spend 30 seconds sitting on the toilet, every time you're about to have a nap who spent 30 seconds sitting on the toilet. Before a bath you spent 30 seconds sitting on the toilet singing a song or looking at a book to sound silly. But paper Dixie cups were like, the biggest thing for my kids, I put it on my head and put it on their head. They crush it like but it's just a little thing kept them on the toilet. And it just makes it a fun and relaxing space. That's all we want it to be just build that positive association to avoid that four year old, severe anxiety about sitting on the toilet. Then as the eventually what will often happen is you will have a child who will just go on the toilet. It just happens. You're doing it often enough throughout the day that you catch one, you catch it and then you have a little celebration. And some kids don't like that they'd like oh my gosh, you did with like the loud fanfare and the clapping and it freaks them out. So depending on what your baby legs, it could be like, or it could be a big, you know, hurray or whatever it is. But it's also you know, just, this is what we're doing. This is what we're doing. You got it. This is what we're here for. I find a lot of times you'll have a child who will start to use the toilet, they'll start to get it even just a few months, and then they'll start it doesn't matter. This is a very low pressure method. The whole point of it is really just to learn that this is where we go. This is what we do. And the whole time you're pairing it with With the ASL for toilet, so you're holding your baby, you're walking into the toilet into the bathroom and you're just showing them the side, we're going to the bathroom. And you just show them the sign. And eventually they do start to use it, they'll they'll use it when they're really little, a lot of times they will use it before they can talk.
You use the Baby Signing sign. Yeah. Oh, that's so smart. I never thought about that. My daughter responded so well to that she was communicating a lot, you know, just a handful of signs. But you teach them the ones so that when they do feel that pressure to go, they'll start using the sign before anything else. Oh, that's an interesting tool that you give Yeah, to communicate it. Yeah. And it works really well. Is that where you were referring to when you said ASL? Yes. Sorry, American Sign Language. Yeah. I remember one time with my son Morgan, he was he must have been about 14 months old, he was small enough to sit in the grocery store shopping cart, with like, not sitting properly with his legs through the little holes. But sitting lengthwise across it, he was that little more going around the grocery store. And he suddenly did the sign. And I was like, Let's go we got to the bathroom. Not to be gross. But he did the hugest in the grocery store bathroom. Because he was able to tell me that he needed to go and it was one of those situations where have you gone in his diaper, we would have had to like leave the grocery store, get the backpack, it would have been like a 15 to 20 minute changing. It was a lot, it would have been a big process. It was so easy, because he told me what he needed to do. And honestly, after that he probably didn't use the sign again, for another two months. Because it's that type of process. It's two steps forward one step back. It's not quick and easy. It is developmentally appropriate. And it's a learning process in the same way that learning to walk learning to talk is you must have had the best day that day, you must have been so proud of yourself for that. I can see that. Because yeah, that's a big mom, when. Because when it's so true. I never thought about any of these things. You're saying. But it's true. You have those moments where you have those blowouts, and you're not home and you're like oh my god, I don't even know what I'm going to do with this and changing them in a public place. It's dirty, it's awkward. It's unsafe, you don't have someone helping you. I mean, that's really cool. And then you didn't get discouraged that it didn't happen for a while.
Right? Yeah, because that's a really important part of it. I think, you know, we're so used to this idea of toilet training, that it's this really kind of discreet process that takes what a month or two, you decide you're going to turn on a train, and it's going to happen. And then if it doesn't happen right away, parents start to worry and get discouraged. And they don't know what to do. Because there's very little resources. I mean, there's a ton of books, but none of them really speak directly to what that individual child is going through.
Well, the biggest thing I'm hearing also is that for everyone who's not doing this, it's an event. It's like, Well, I think we're going to do potty training starting next month. And then you clear your calendar because you can't leave the damn house like you're taking your cabin, the baby walk around and you're ready to clean up messes and you're at it is a really stressful process. Because we make it this dramatic change to the kid, like suddenly, you're going to do something you've never given thought to, in a very conscious way. And this is how you're going to do it. How do you like? So that's why that's why it's hard. But this is they don't ever consciously learn to use a toilet with your method. It's just something that always existed. It's always there. And part of the routine is their relationship to it is changing. Exactly. Yeah, very interesting.
Step one is getting comfortable starting at four months sitting on the toilet. Ever in your doing this every single day, 10 times a day, maybe five, three to four, three to four times a day, five times this for a minute. Yeah, 32nd minute, 30 seconds a minute. I mean, you'll have kids who want to sit there and hear a whole book and they're happy to sit there for two bucks or you know, as they get a little bit older. You know, they want to sit there for a few minutes. And you'll have those kids who were like, Okay, I sat here I'm done. But yeah, step one is all about getting used to it.
And then is step two adding in the sign language or is that still part of step one?
It's part of step one, because it doesn't matter if it's too early, and they're not recognizing it as a communication. It doesn't matter. It certainly isn't going to you know, harm in any way to just flash that ASL sign for toilet and deck. Yeah, we're going to the bathroom. So whenever they're ready for it, it's already there in place. And the other thing is, when you're using this method, you start to recognize in your baby, the need to go as well. So like, for example, my youngest one time we had horrible stomach virus go through our family, when my youngest was about eight months old. Again, not to be gross, but it's a discussion about toilet training. So we're going to get into some gross stuff. He had diarrhea. Four times, every single one was in the toilet. He did not use this at this time. I could tell by looking at his face that he was about to go. He had a diaper on I ripped off his diaper we got into the bathroom. Each of those four episodes was in the toilet just by his face. And that happens a lot you can you can look at your kid and you're like you need to go which actually leads me to To another important thing, which is that I really don't focus on urination at all. The main point of the whole process is to focus on bowel movements, which is completely backwards from what most people do. But there's a few reasons. The first reason is that if you really want to get to kind of like step level to where you are actually actively trying to help your child use the toilet, you have a lot fewer opportunities to really catch it during the day with a bowel movement. With urination, you know, it's happening all day long. With infants, you can't really tell that they've gone, you know, you can't tell that they're about to go that they have to go with that they've just gone there's no distinct odor, unless they have a really, really wet diaper. There's no facial expression, they don't really pause what they're doing. There's no real tells when the bowel movement, often there's a routine, you know, they're gonna go 20 minutes after they eat or three o'clock every afternoon. A lot of times, there's a facial expression, they might be gassy beforehand. And you can kind of tell that they have to go there, there are ways to catch it a lot easier than there are ways to catch urination. And if you can catch the bowel movement in the toilet, you can reinforce the bowel movement in the toilet. So you have an opportunity to be like, that's amazing. Here, you get this whatever little thing. And this is not for the infants. This is for a slightly older child who's eating some salads and has the teeth. Because I really like to use and this might, a lot of people might balk at this. I do like to use edible reinforcers for this. Because they go away. They're there and they're gone. It's not like you give a kid a sticker. And they might want to collect their stickers. And that works fine for some kids. A lot of kids, you give them you know, a chocolate chip, literally a mini chocolate chip. It's the size of a crumb. And they're happy with it. And it just lets them know that they've done something good, but it's there and it's gone. It's not like they get 10 stickers and then they get a coloring book but then they have to give the coloring book back if they've had a lot of axes you get into these really complicated systems
are so cruel are their PS are doing well.
Yeah, when I get to the four and five year olds who are going it gets really complicated.
Well, this is because I'm not at all a fan of rewards and punishment. I was influenced by Alfie Kohn, you know this because I've, you know, we've had conversations about this, but Alfie Kohn is a PhD out there who has many books I strongly recommend. I've raised my kids without rewards and punishments without timeouts. And it saddens me that it can get to that point where parents are so desperate and that's why it happens. No one wants to be put in a position of manipulating essentially, their children to achieve a desired outcome. But it happens because parents get desperate. And I guess when you have that four year old, that's the last straw we're grasping for. It's like this if you do it right. And oh, no. Well, now you you didn't. But how confusing to that kid? Yeah, right. You're looking to avoid all these greater problems down the line?
Exactly. And I did I read a lot of Alfie Cowen monos getting my teaching degree. My school I was at loved Alfie Kohn when we read a lot of Alfie Kohn talked a lot about Alfie Kohn. And then I went into behaviorism, which is all Skinner, which is the exact opposite. So my entire my entire job really is all about rewards. We don't we don't use punishments unless you know we're in a serious situation. That's a whole different ballgame. When we do use reinforcements a lot with my daughter, I was initially not really using a lot of reinforcements when I was using developmental 20 training with her, just because the same reason I didn't really feel like she necessarily needed it. Then she developed this skin issue that was severe turned out to be a reaction to dairy, but it was taking months and months and months to heal. And it affected her from the backs of her knees up to her hips. And it resulted in these kind of open wounds. It was horrible. We reached a point where we went from kind of like using this method casually, to when she was about one and a half. It was like okay, there's urgency. She cannot have. She can't have a poopy diaper. She could get a severe problem. She's got open wounds that are taking months to heal. We had to ramp it up with reinforcers. And she didn't care about anything except lollipops. And that was it. She pooped in the toilet. She got a lollipop. And that that put it over the line for her she became poop trained really quickly.
Why is a reward part of the recommendation rather than winging it without a reward? Because for us to be sold on that point, so I want to hear sure the point Yeah,
for a lot of kids going in a diaper is they don't care. It doesn't bother them once you get past infancy, where they really are able to control their bowels and their bladder and they're able to understand the sensation of needing to go. If you have say a one and a half year old who is playing with playdough and they recognize that they have to go to the bathroom and they know that they're wearing a diaper. You have to have a motivation to leave the playdough and go to the toilet. And for a lot of kids without an external motivation, there's no motivation. They're wearing a diaper. They know the diaper is gonna keep them clean. They don't care. They'll just keep playing with Play Doh. And then if you add a social component, they're playing with Play Doh, and there's a friend. They're watching a favorite movie, think about the kid who's sitting on the couch, watching the movie relaxing. And they know they have to pee, but they know they're wearing a diaper. They know they have to poop.
So I'm glad I asked. I'm glad you answered that. Because with Alfie Kohn, the whole point that I believe so deeply, is you don't want to reward kids, because there is intrinsic reward in the world. You know, you don't want to you don't want to reward your child for getting an A on a really hard test. Because getting an A feels freakin amazing. And don't make so now we're gonna go get ice cream for dessert. But you made the point that it isn't inherently rewarding to the child. Yeah, it's not It's rewarding to the parent. Except that's interesting. So you have to put you have to create something there that actually makes it now fun and rewarding. Yeah, and going to the to the bathroom on a toilet is a weird thing. It's not innate, like walking and eating. It's, it's this thing we have to teach them to do, because it is cleaner and more convenient for all of us. It's like, trust us on this, kids learn how to do this, it'll be better for all of us. So you exactly added that back in even if you were gonna lean toward not rewarding,
right? It really it's otherwise, not only is it not inherently rewarding to the child, it's inconvenient to the child, and they don't necessarily see the benefit at all. Good point. Yeah. So they know you'll change them in their diaper that you're gonna change. Right? So you know, but if they, if they really love lollipops, then it's worth putting the playdough down and saying, Mommy, I need to go.
And you could do things that aren't candy for those of us who wouldn't want to do? Yeah, a candy or sugar, right? Like you could do, you could do anything, right? The thing about the food thing is when you know a lot of parents get like, oh my gosh, candy, yet, but you're talking about a couple of probably months of three to four mini gummies bears or three to four chocolate chips in a day. And it's really no, it's one of those things that's so particular for each child.
So they have to be creative, and they have to find something that's going to make them feel that is in line with their values that they don't feel guilty on some other level.
Yes, exactly. So in ABA, we call it a motivating operation. And it's you have to establish it that's kind of like our technical jargon is that you have to establish a motivating operation. Because yeah, ours is not theirs. They don't care if you're cleaning their poopy diaper. And so basically, once you have those, those things established, you have the child understands that they recognize their need to have a bowel movement, they're able to control their bowels that they don't just go, they're able to communicate their need to use the toilet, because at that age, there's so little, they're gonna need help with clothing, they might need help taking off a diaper or getting physically onto the toilet, all of that's fine. As long as they have those things in place, you've established what the motivating operation is. So you have something to motivate that child to go. And then after they go, in addition to whatever it is, so if it is a sticker, or if it is, you know, chocolate chip or whatever, there's also a lot of praise. There's that whole time while they're on the toilet, where it's just like, you know, the big, and that's the real thing. And then basically, the, the edible or the sicker or whatever, it's really pretty easy. And this is where parents worry about it too. Because they're like, Well, if I start off giving them something tangible, how am I gonna stop giving them something tangible? Aren't they going to just go back to going in their diaper? No, they're not. Because what happens is, it does become intrinsically rewarding. They start to you know, they get used to pooping in the toilet and cleaning the toilet. I think that they all at one point, kind of try it again. And they realize it actually doesn't really feel very good. And so I've really never had an issue with that word child just stopped doing it or where it's a big deal. They stop asking for it. They kind of get to where they're like no, they might poop in the toilet and say okay, I'd like my chocolate chip. And then a couple of months go by and it just becomes such a habit to poop in the toilet. It's it's it just goes away on its own or you say you know what, I think we're going to be done with it. We'll get it later and they forget about it. It just it becomes a non issue because it's just routine. You just go to the bathroom. So I've really never had a problem with feeding out that reinforcer it's not an area where where children get stuck.
So where do children get stuck?
Well that depends on the individual child you can have children like my third who are difficult to eat to get a swimming pool first a minute
get something cool get a membership it's it's definitely you know though there are those children who just personality wise you know have all the please the pieces in place but just don't you know, just don't really care. But you still have a leg up because even if you have those hard to motivate children If you do have a child who understands they might need social motivation, they might need to go to that preschool class and realize that other kids are not doing this, they might need to get feedback from another child who says, I smell something, you know, because they didn't really care. But they realize when other kids are noticing that they do kind of care. So there are kind of those ways when you have a child who does have all the pieces in place, but isn't, is still not doing it. And then once you once you have bowel movements established, it's really they come much more naturally to urination, because you don't usually have a child that's going to go to the toilet, have a bowel movement and not urinate, that usually happens at the same time. And they just start to learn to control the bladder, because they've already learned to control the bowel, it does take longer. But personally, I'd always rather deal with a wet diaper than a poop diaper. So it's not as much of a priority.
You're not alone in that.
Can you give us a little bit of a timeframe on how long parents are involved in this? So you mentioned that we kind of started around four months. And you had said at one point that the reward system would maybe be a month or two or three? How long can parents What's the timeframe for them? How long does can they expect to be involved in this, I think parents can reasonably expect to have their children fully toilet trained by about two and a half, you're definitely going to have some who are going to be at one and a half, you're going to have some who are still going to be using diapers until three. But those would be again, much fewer diapers, and they would still have a lot more information understanding about toilet use, it wouldn't be that jarring, scary events started that it would be if you started three.
But just overall parents can sort of be expect to think that they're going to start thinking about this between like four and six months, and they're probably going to be completing it sometime between one and two and a half years of age.
Yeah, yeah, I think that's reasonable to say. And I wouldn't even focus on as a starting time holding up the head. To me, that's really the key factor is when you know if your baby's holding up their head at three and a half months, and you want to get that baby insert for the toilet and just start holding them on there for a few seconds. Fine. But the main thing is because at that point to the the the social Interplay really is the reinforcer at that point to, you know, being able to face your baby and have your baby looking at you and making eye contact and smile. I think that's the only reinforcer that's happening at that point. And that's just pair. That feeling of I've got mom's undivided attention. And she's just smiling at me for doing that. I'm just sitting here and she's smiling at me, that's all it takes. One other way that comes in really handy to keep kids on the toilet when they get to be toddlers, because that's where it is a little bit harder to keep them on long enough to go because they're they're toddlers, they want to move around and go and walk and run and all that stuff. It's nice to have some things available that they only can have while they're sitting on the toilet. So like if they love Elmo, you get one of those Elmo potty books, and they can't look at it any other time you keep it in the bathroom, it's a bathroom book, any little toys that you know, they really love, you just get a couple of things, you know, don't take something from their pre existing toy collection, but just bring in something kind of new, that they just get during that time to make it more appealing. This reminds me of the breastfeeding basket of toys that when new moms are breastfeeding, and they have the older sibling that needs their attention, you can bring out the special basket of breastfeeding toys that the toddlers only allowed to play with when mom was breastfeeding. And it just seems like I'd known for forgot about that one. I haven't talked to anybody about that a long time. But it works really well.
I think what's surprising me just in a little bit of myth debunking mode is I had assumed that this method means you're not going to use diapers, and you're just going to start basically potty training at four months. It's nothing like that. It's a very low level of effort. Yeah, in doing this, and you're removing this, potentially, I don't want to is this over an overstatement to say, potentially semi traumatizing event later than we're like, trying to teach kids to go to the bathroom on the toilet? That's a really miserable experience in some families.
Yeah, it definitely is. Yeah. And sometimes you'll have a child who is a second child, the first child had absolutely no issue potty trained, lickety split, no problem. And so the parents are completely blindsided by any issue happening to the second one and really there's there's just not enough resources. So I think it's one of those. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure types of things where you know if we can start when they're young, the same way with all the other developmental processes we we get a really good pay off. But yeah, you're 100%, right? It's not it's not toilet training. You know, it's not the quick and easy method. It's the long haul, but developmentally appropriate, respectful of childhood, respectful of parenthood method, because a lot of us work, we can't we can't do diaper freezes. It's just not an option. Yeah, if you're living on a farm in Hawaii, but it's just it was, it would not have been realistic for me at all. And I think what happens, what's probably the biggest obstacle for parents in using this is changing their, their frame of mind around it in exactly what the way that you were describing Cynthia, so that you have parents who started off at four months. And by you know, two months later, the child still hasn't done anything in the toilet, and they're kind of like, well, this isn't working. And it's hard for them to understand that it actually it is working. You've got a six month old baby, it doesn't matter if they actually eliminate in the toilet right now. Just keep it the routine. If you want to do one today do one. So if you go on vacation, and you don't do it at all for two weeks, it doesn't matter. It's so it's so flexible, that the really most important thing is to just have some kind of a routine even like I said, if you don't do it for two weeks, but to come back to it once a day, twice a day, three times a day, whatever you can do to build that normality around it that sense of this is our routine. This is just something we do. I just really want people to understand that toilet training doesn't have to be this monumental, difficult, stressful event that it can be as natural as learning to walk. Honestly, as adorable as learning to talk you have these really cute one on one moments where you're with your baby you're facing each other You're singing the little spawns they happen to go pee or they happen to poop and everyone's cheering it's a fun, joyful and rewarding experience.
Thank you for joining us at the Down To Birth Show. You can reach us @downtobirthshow on Instagram or email us at Contact@DownToBirthShow.com. All of Cynthia’s classes and Trisha’s breastfeeding services are offered live online, serving women and couples everywhere. Please remember this information is made available to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is in no way a substitute for medical advice. For our full disclaimer visit downtobirthshow.com/disclaimer. Thanks for tuning in, and as always, hear everyone and listen to yourself.
I really do think we met we didn't we met right before my daughter was born. Oh, you had a child in 2011? I did. Do you sometimes work with Joanie? Yes, I work full time.
So I was having my first child and I think you were supposed to be my backup but you were also super pregnant. Okay, and then when I went into labor, Joanie couldn't reach you, which we all understood because you were super pregnant. And so she had Genji kind of emergency backup.
Okay, it adds up because your babies were both born in spring to what? Yeah, so mine was May 11.
Yeah. Okay. My daughter was April 14. April. Okay, then we did we meet though I don't need to visit. Yeah, yeah, for him isn't exactly a recollection of that. That's okay. No recollection.
It was a long time ago and then I was having really painful breastfeeding experience. And you came over and you did like an evaluation and you showed me what I was doing wrong.
I helped you with lactation work and I don't remember you were you were briefly best friends.
Is it like it's the pregnancy pregnancy brain postpartum brains zero recollection is totally
no problem was really like literally I'm sorry that I don't remember. That's okay. Your advice worked really well.
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