"Mama, I am eadyyyy!"

"Mama, I am eadyyyy!"

A feeling of pride comes over you when you hear these words. At least the first time they call you, because you have actually managed to teach your offspring to go to the toilet on their own!
That 'poo drop' will come later, first things first!

Have you ever stopped to think that that little rascal on the toilet has reached a gigantic milestone? That potty training is not a piece of cake? And moreover, that the pelvic floor muscles play a very important role here too? Because your toddler, who has just managed to reach the toilet with dry trousers and then nicely relieves himself in the pot, has actually gained control over those pelvic floor muscles!

But... it doesn't always go smoothly and over the last few decades we have clearly seen a decline in toilet training.

Yes, both the age at which we start training and the time at which a child has completed full potty training are significantly later than half a century ago.
The reason? It is not to be found in the children themselves (their pelvic floor muscles have remained exactly the same), but rather in their environment. In ourselves, that is. Because it is our job as parents to change the nappy at a certain point for pants (or bare bottom, as you prefer) and to introduce the potty in the living room. And that's where the shoe pinches. Both parents go out to work, children spend a large part of the day in the nursery, there is no time for this in the evenings and the weekends are fully booked. At least for the Covid-storm. So potty training is postponed until there is no other option, until the first day of school is approaching. But then you have a child that has been in nappies for two and a half years, is not aware of any wrongdoing and suddenly has to replace that familiar, warm feeling with a cold toilet seat. And he is also going through his two no's phase. Recipe for disaster?

We do not want to point the finger, it is not easy to meet all expectations and standards.

But if we can bring the potty up just that little bit earlier and find a good cooperation with the child caretakers in the crèches, we can turn the tide. They are perfectly placed to assess the maturity of the children, to give information and advice on the right approach and to discuss the concerns of parents. Introduce your child to the potty in a playful manner, and in the beginning let him pee and pass gas by accident (let him eat a dessert or play with the potty after his breakfast or meal, the reflex between his stomach and intestines will do the rest). Can your toddler already (indirectly) make the need to urinate or defecate clear? Does he show pride when he builds a block tower? Can he put his trousers on and take them off? Then maybe it's time to step it up a notch and make it all about the potty (and drinking, bare defecation, cleaning up accidents and lots of stickers and stamps!) for a few days.

We bet you'll be even more proud to drop your toddler off at the school gate.

The kindergarten teacher will be grateful, because she will have more time for her pedagogical tasks. There is not much time left for that when you have to change 3 khakabriefs and 5 pee-pants in one day, on top of 2 children who are still wearing a nappy. Don't get me wrong, accidents can and do happen at that age (a toddler sometimes gets so engrossed in his play that he forgets to listen to his bladder or bowels). But when accidents become more the rule than the exception, it becomes annoying.

Start it in a positive, playful way. The look on your toddler's face when he proudly shows off his first pee in the potty is worth its weight in gold!
Tinne Van Aggelpoel,
Pelvic floor physiotherapist, PT, PhD, UZA/UAntwerp

To Tinne: "Dear Tinne, dear colleague, thank you so much for this fascinating blog and WAANZINNIGE PROFICIAT on getting your doctorate!"

To all our visitors: this topic deviates a bit from our main objective. For now, we are really focusing on providing accessible information about the female pelvic floor and Women's Health. But we couldn't let this opportunity pass us by. Children have a pelvic floor too! Would you like to learn more about this topic?
Do not hesitate to contact Dr Tinne Van Aggelpoel.
Or... Read and learn more in the book of Prof. Dr. Alexandra Vermandel, promoter of Tinne: "How to housebreak your child? This is how you do it! Acco(link)


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