Toilet Learning. It’s a hot topic. I have written of our lead up to toileting here. I feel this post will be my last on the matter as it looks as though we have come to the final stages of Quentin’s journey.
Although Montessori children generally master toileting earlier rather than later, it’s important to remember that every child is different. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that this is one of the most difficult things a child will ever do. They are mastering conscious control over their body’s impulses. They demand the utmost respect and support.
I was witness to something this week that has made me really think about this whole process and how we portray it to our children.
I arrived at a house to pick up Quentin. One child there who was much older than Quentin had just had a large accident in their diaper. I stood there dumbly and watched as the whole room was told how big and disgusting the mess was: in front of the child who stood naked in the bathroom doorway waiting for their change of clothes. Their eyes lowered. Completely humiliated. I gathered Quentin as fast as I could and left, fighting back tears.
Now, I know that the person changing the child loves and cares for children. I know that they said what they said jovially, and would never consciously hurt a child. But what about unconsciously.
What language do we use when speaking about toileting? What’s important? The words used or that they are said in a playful tone. Even if a parent is diaper changing an infant/child not ready for using the potty what do they comment on? I’m not sure about anyone else, but I have heard lots of comments on how “stinky” a diaper is, or what a “big mess” has been made.
Would it matter to you if a person you loved and trusted humiliated you while smiling or singing?
It would matter to me.