Motherhood can be trying at times and today’s topics are set to test the patience of most – tantrums and toilet training. Listen to the mums share their tantrum stories, and Dr Cathrine answers the questions – why do toddlers tantrum? How can we handle them? Then onto toilet training. When do you know your child is ready? How do you start toilet training?
Watch segments from Episode 12 of Mums & Bubs and access great articles about the topics discussed below.
Why does your toddler always wait until you are out in public before throwing a big wobbly? Don’t worry it happens to us all, is the message from the mums on the couch.
Public tantrums are incredibly hard to deal with as it can be difficult to use the same consistent approach to behaviour that you would in your own home. Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett suggests that it may be that children become over stimulated when they are out and this can help to cause them to feel overwhelmed and thus more likely to have a tantrum. They are also pretty cluey characters and can pick up on the difference of how you behave when you are out as opposed to being at home. Do you bribe them with chocolate or a treat to stop them from having a tantrum? This will almost certainly reinforce the tantrum behaviour as they know they will get your attention and most likely a treat.
All the mums have a wry smile when they talk about the disapproving looks and the tutting of tongues they get when their children have had a public tantrum. Rest assured, you and your child are completely normal.
Is it normal for toddlers to throw tantrums? Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett says, absolutely yes. Between the ages of 18 months and 3 years is the most common time these develop and of course there will be varying degrees to how often and how challenging they will be. She says that there are different sort of tantrums so it’s important to understand where the tantrum is coming from. In general, type 1 tantrum is caused by either frustration, tiredness, feeling hungry or overstimulated. She recommends providing support and trying to teach ways of coping with the situation.
Type 2 tantrum is a demanding tantrum that is often used by the child as a form of control over the parent or carer. You must be careful to not provide reinforcement of this behaviour by giving into the demands or wants of the toddler as they will continue to use this as a way of getting you to do what they want. Wait until they have calmed down before engaging with them again.
Sheryl Sidery reminds us that using positive reinforcement is so much more effective than any kind of negative punishment in helping to mould good behaviour. So we need to go out of our way to make sure that we recognise our children’s good behaviour as much as possible.
Cathrine suggests using the ‘pre-empt and prevent’ strategy when dealing with your toddlers. Provide them with some warning about what is going to happen so they can be prepared, pre-empt their behaviour and be ready to distract them before they get upset and prevent a tantrum. Try not to make the common mistake of threatening to do something that you can’t, or don’t, follow through on. There is no point saying, “I’m going to take you off this airplane if you don’t sit down right now” when you clearly have no intention of doing that at all.
Toilet Training is a phase that all children will go through eventually, some just take longer than others. Chantelle Newbury’s son is one of the kids who is struggling to become fully toilet trained at the age of 5. She has sought all sorts of help but he just doesn’t get it. Sheryl Sidery suggests that mothers are guilty of being competitive on the topic of toilet training and do not always share their real experiences for fear of being judged as a bad mother for something that is really outside of their control in most cases. By doing this, we miss out on the support and camaraderie that we really should expect when facing a tricky situation.
So what is the average age for toddlers to be toilet trained and do girls train faster than boys? Well yes they do, but only just. The average age for girls to be toilet trained is 29 months and for boys 31 months. Remember though, this is just an average age so that means there are plenty of kids who train earlier and later than this.
We have lots of information available for you here on the Huggies website that will help you to identify the signs of when your toddler may be ready to start and some great tools to help them reach the goal of being toilet trained. Also, don’t forget to drop into our Huggies Forum and chat with other parents about this hot topic.