Being the last of my siblings to have a child of my own, I found a lot of pressure was on me to follow in the footsteps of those before me, and follow the more conventional trends of raising a child that we face today.

Everything seems uniform and orthodox nowadays, the months in which we bottle feed, followed by the exact time we introduce solids, to the time they should be told to potty train and have their beloved nappy ripped from them!

I don’t tend to go against the norm for any contrived reasons and to be anti-conformist, but I do find a lot of the patterns we have with raising babies rather unnatural and the by-product of habit and trend, rather than beneficial progress. I first fed my son solids when I felt the time was right and when he was fully ready, followed my instincts and went with nature, rather than timing it like clockwork like everybody else seems to.

I’ve always been confident in these decisions, and they have always been 100% right without question. That’s not to say it hasn’t been difficult, though. Potty training has been a very large mountain to climb indeed, as is often one I find I’m still conquering. At first there is always a sense of one step forward two steps back, but that is completely natural.

You have to put yourself in the baby’s shoes; They’ve just spent their entire life having their nappy on whenever they need the toilet, having that comfort and complete satisfaction of being able to go whenever they need to. It is unnatural after all to have to hold in your waste, and there is absolutely no purpose for it in nature, so your child has to fight every instinct to not go whenever they need to. For this reason accidents will occur, it’s inevitable and you just have to deal with it.

At the time of them being a toddler, boys in particular can act defiant against the toilet, going everywhere besides the bathroom. Plant pots, cups, vases, bowls and pet habitats all become substitute toilets in the eyes of a rebelling child. This is a natural occurrence and one that must be handled with a delicate temperament, as it is very testing after the 100th time. The more you help your child and show that you are there for them the easier they will come to peace with it, and build confidence in being able to take themselves to the toilet.

Written by Matt Crawford

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