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do 4 year olds "toilet train" themselves

(15 Posts)
weeonion Tue 22-Apr-14 18:22:40

I have only toilet trained DD so not much experience myself.

Can and do children toilet train themselves if left to own devices with no adult intervention?

deepinthewoods Tue 22-Apr-14 18:31:50

My children did. I allowed them to after talking with an Egyptian friend who explained in her village/family toilet training was unheard of.
My kids were bang on three when they decided for hemselves and were dry day and night within a day.

Anectdotal of course, but seemed to fit my ideas- they self weaned, started solids when they wanted to and I didn't sleep train either- it was all done in their own time.

JimBobplusasprog Tue 22-Apr-14 18:35:52

It appears not so, given the influx of reception children in nappies every September.

weeonion Tue 22-Apr-14 19:35:21

Interesting deepinwoods. I am interested in how other cultures approach it.
DD wanted to stop nappies - an influence of older kids at her nursery. She was around 2.5 and in,cloth nappies so not sure if that also made her more aware.

It is the idea that if you leave them too it - they will learn bowel and bladder control themselves up to any age. I can't find any research on it and wondered if anyone else knew of any.

deepinthewoods Tue 22-Apr-14 19:50:34

I don't know weeonion. Deborah Jackson has written some interesting stuff about baby rearinbg in other cultures- her book Baby Wisdom is really interesting.
I had the discussion with an Egyptian friend about potty training when my kids were very young and I was fascinated to hear of the methods that she used with her children.
She had 8 kids and hadn't potty trained any of them, yet they were all dry and clean by 3 years old. She said that in her home village in rural Egypt children toilet train themselves. Mothers work on the idea that children will reach a stage where they have control and don't want the discomfort of nappies or wetting themselves.
It sounded so interesting I decided to try it.

It is not just based on neglect as jimbob seems to suggest. I kept an open dialogue with my children about nappies, they knew their peers were getting rid of nappies, they were feeling more confident about discarding them, and it was all over in a morning.
They had been dry at night for several months before that, but just one day put their own pants on and that was it. I had no accidents at all- not one - they used the tiolet from that day on and never looked back.

Sunseed Tue 22-Apr-14 20:02:17

I was happy to follow my childminder's lead on this - she was able to persuade me that DS1 would get there in his own time and she was absolutely right. Whilst we gave him every support if he was interested in a potty/toilet, there was no great pressure on him and the result was that at 3.6 he chose to switch from nappies to pants and that was that.

DS2 was just turned 4, and DS3 nearer 4.6 I think before they made the switch, but each time it was their decision.

As far as I was concerned it made for a very stress-free transition; I had not been looking forward to endless cleaning up of accidents and emptying potties and hovering over the boys looking for signs that they were about to 'go' but in the end had none of that at all.

crazykat Tue 22-Apr-14 20:10:47

My older two DCs trained themselves at about 3 years before starting nursery. Straight from nappies to pants with only one accident (dd1) when she was absorbed in playing outside.

Dd2 just wasn't bothered about going to the toilet even though she's been at nursery since January. I've tried a few times to get her to use the toilet but I've taken the hard line over Easter as IMO she's getting too old for nappies at almost 3 and a half and I don't want to be tied to the house in the summer holidays.

I think it all depends on the child. My older two DCs got to the point where they didn't like having wet or dirty nappies and would tell me as soon as they'd done anything and I'd change them, soon after this they were in pants and completely dry within two days. Dd2 is very laid back and just not fussed about having a wet nappy so I've had to train her.

weeonion Tue 22-Apr-14 20:13:26

Ta deepinthewoods.

I think your approach was guiding them whilst leaving it up to your kids to move towards it when they were ready.

I suppose I am thinking more of kids who receive none of those open conversations. I know from talking with teachers that they have noticed an increase in children entering primary 1 at around 4 or 5 who are still in nappies.

weeonion Tue 22-Apr-14 20:15:59

Thanks sunseed and crazycat!

deepinthewoods Tue 22-Apr-14 20:16:17

Why are you interested weeonion?

weeonion Tue 22-Apr-14 21:31:21

Hi Deepinthewoods.

I have to undertake a project as part of a course I am doing around the new children's act which includes the a broadened concept of "wellbeing". I am looking at what this means and have to pick an issue to apply this to. I thought about the concept of toilet training as an area that is possibly under researched and where is the evidence on how it "could" be done? Where do our ideas come from, what are they based on and is it an "issue" if a child begins education without bladder / bowel control. If it is an "issue" - what is this based on? Is it based on our own particular cultural expectations and traditions and how may they differ with other cultures. I am interested in the problems there could be with applying the notion of "wellbeing" to this, especially given it is being raised as point of concerns amongst teaching staff.

Also - something interested in personally as currently pg with dc2 and thinking back yo own choices of parenting and looking ahead to what I might do same / different this time round.

Sorry for ramble.

deepinthewoods Tue 22-Apr-14 21:47:03

You may find it a bit more complex. Nappies per se are quite a western concept, some will suggest that they in themselves make it more difficult to toilet train a child. From an anthropological perspective there are all sorts of habits, from the inuit mothers who keep their babies naked on their backs under warm sealskin using pieces of super absorbent dried moss to collect urine, to rain forest dwellers who don't use nappies, as children can eliminate in the soil and it decomposes quickly. There children are only encouraged to toilet in appropriate places, not to "hold on" as we teach children to do in the West.
Nappies are quite a modern construct in themeslves, so a contextual examination may be interesting- our expectations and habits are recent and Western in method, and not "biologically" normal.

It's an interesting subject.

weeonion Tue 22-Apr-14 22:53:46

Indeed complex and fascinating... Wish I could study it more in depth and may not go with this as possibly too complex. Others in group doing toothbrushing which seems more clear cut in ways but I wanted to focus on something not so obvious.

Thanks for that info - off I go to explore more....

Treaclepot Tue 22-Apr-14 23:00:29

My DD did just before she was two.

PirateJones Wed 23-Apr-14 02:50:25

No they don't, they need some basic explanation and support, if left completely they will not train on their own.

My nephew had no clue about the toilet when he came to live with me, he was 4.

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