Is it ok for a parent to make a child change their own diaper?
My son is not ready to go potty train yet and his father keeps pushing him to. His father told my today that he makes him change his own diaper so he will learn to go poop on the toilet. I don't think this is good for my son that is just over 3 that has just started to have to go between homes after his father was not in his life for two years.
Toilet training can be difficult and challenging with young toddlers and preschoolers. Your situation is a bit more complicated and might need the help of some local experts.
Here are some suggestions that may help:
1. At the age of three years your son is developmentally on target to learn to use the bathroom. However, some children may not be successful until their fourth birthday due to development (not quite ready), stress, or too much emphasis being placed on "potty training".
2. Children need to learn life skills- such as potty training- in a nurturing environment. Imagine learning to drive a car when someone is yelling at you the entire time. Well, the same can be said if too much pressure is placed on being successful in the bathroom. So, having a child change their own diaper is not recommended. However, many experts will say that at the age of three a child may find training easier and more meaningful if "big boy pants" are used, particularly the more absorbent variety that are available. Also, reward the child first for the effort (sitting on the toilet to go) and then accomplishing the task (successfully eliminating). Rewards can be as simple as an extra few minutes playing outside or taking a walk to a favorite park. Some parents will reward with treats, although that may not always be advised.
3. Learn more from books such as "Touchpoints" by T. Berry Brazleton or The Birth to Five Book by Brenda Nixon. A trip to the local library can provide you with lots of information about appropriate ways for toilet training. Here is one of Dr. Brazleton's popular books regarding toilet training: http://www.amazon.com/Toilet-Training-Brazelton-Way-Berry/dp/0738209201
4. Lastly, feel free to chat with friends, daycare providers, preschool teachers or your pediatrician. Your pediatrician's office may have lots of information to help both you and your son's father. They also can help you if this continues to be an issue.
Good luck to all and remember that children will accomplish these tasks all in due time!
Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist