Refusing to Clean Up After One’s “Accidents”: A Justification

Potty-train a baby as early as possible, they say. It’s easy to  say and advise parents this when one is a mere onlooker – separate and detached from the actual situation. It was easy for me to say this hitherto, when I was still learning about it in school. What with all those theories on a person’s development and psychology…

However, things took a different turn upon transition to adulting reality. Roles have reversed; I am now a parent. And it isn’t easy for me to decide whether to train or not to train my toddler to say pooh-pooh just yet.

Elizabeth Hurlock introduced the idea of readiness and preparation in the context of training and assisting children overcome the “hazards” in their developmental milestones. From what I understood, we must not force upon a child learning if he/she is not yet ready for it. The entirety of the theory has already become nebulous. What with all the influx of knowledge coming through on a daily basis over the past years, rendering a hazy retention of the matter… but I remember the crux – at least, I think I do.

One should not impose potty-training too early on. Otherwise, the child may develop oral-fixation or something. At some point in the child’s future, drawbacks will ensue as consequences to the preceding manner of training. There is risk, of course. There is always risk. The child may not be capable of overcoming such shortcomings – all because of pre-emptive attempts against the natural development and pace of things. But don’t take my word for it.

Presently, Threse wears white shorts – white, so we can see easily. Underneath, there is no diaper. My husband and I decided, just today, to intentionally inculcate a toilet ritual. Hence, the withdrawal of the nappy. We shall see if she is able to accustom herself to “toilet procedures” – if she shall actually hint a word or gesture pertaining to her “need to relieve”. We instructed her to reference her own coined words of Poo poo-kah or Tumae-ka or to direct attention to her butt to signal us of anything going on “within”. After all, she is at the age when one is “expected” to be “toilet-trained”.

We will give it a try – this potty-training based solely on expectations per age level.

I cross my fingers as I hope we prosper in this attempt. If she is not yet ready… then we might still have to double our efforts in cleaning up after her “accidents”.

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