Re: DSM: pre-Sudbury parental conduct

Rayner Garner (
Mon, 08 Jan 2001 13:34:34 -0800

When we moved from our somewhat primitive living situation to a modern
building we were told about a benign and very simple way to introduce
children as young as a year to using an adult toilet without fuss or
bother. We tried it and it was very easy to do and our daughters
took to it very well. Since we tried it 18 years ago countless parents
have tried it with varying degrees of success. Some swear by it others
are uncomfortable with going to the toilet at the same time.

When you want to go potty take your infants diapers off and sit on the
adult toilet facing backwards with your infant in front of you also of
course facing the back of the toilet. Then you use the toilet. We found
that after about three sittings our daughters would also go in unison
with us. Maybe because they were being closely held and felt secure with
very good handholds for them to grasp, possibly our going triggered a
reflex mechanism or because infants like to mimic, who knows, it worked
very well.

boys, because of the anatomical difference and the distinct possibility
of pee spraying up at the back of the toilet, many parents constructed
or used ingenious aids to aiming, from shoehorns to cardboard wrapped in
plastic shaped like a large spoon.

After about three weeks out daughters began to push back at us
indicating that they wanted to sit
on the toilet by themselves. We would of course stand close by with a
ready hand in case they slipped
off. They didn't as they had found very secure handholds in that
position. We think that this method worked so well because they were
mimicking us and there didn't seem to be that fear of the hole
behind them or the insecurity of falling off. It wasn't long before they
learnt to get on and off by themselves. It was quite easy for them to
pull themselves on and them slide off when they were finished.

After going public with this method on the Net many parents from various
cultures have written to me
about many similar methods of introducing infants to voiding without
undue coercion and distress.
In some parts of India mothers will hold their infant over a bowl next
to them while the mother is using the toilet. Whatever works without
stress and fuss. We were very relaxed at this time as many of the,
(to us) quite radical methods of child supporting were very inexpensive
and saved us a great deal of expenditure that normally accompanies
having children.

I hope these posts haven't gone too far from the subject of choice and
Sudbury. Happy nurturing. Rayner Garner

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