Saturday, February 6, 2010

More self and standing diaper changes

As we are starting to give Q more responsibility in her self care, I have added a "shoe shelf" to her bedroom. We have an area where we keep all of her diapering items as well as shoes and socks on shelves. Her many pairs of shoes are stored in a small basket, but I wanted to start allowing her to put her shoes away when she undressed for nap or bedtime. For very young children, baskets aren't always the greatest methods for putting their own items away. In this case, if we asked her to get a pair of shoes out, she isn't quite able to find a matching pair and would get distracted by too many choices. When it was time to put them away, throwing them in a basket would also be difficult for her because she would be soooo tempted to play with all of them. She's a shoe girl! Also, another thing about baskets for storing items is that often times it's not a neat storage solution but rather a "dumping place." Think about the baskets you have in your home and whether they are neat and organized, allowing you to see every item inside (the visual is Sooooooo important for little ones who cannot yet categorize items to know everything that will be in that basket, even down at the know that if it's a shoe basket, your red shoes will be down there at the bottom because, after all, they are shoes! Little ones can't yet put items into compartments like that and if they can't see the red shoes, to them they aren't there.) Obviously this is a skill they acquire more and more over time, but initially it's usually best to provide storage that allows for all items to be seen.

So.....we are still going to keep her many pairs of shoes in the basket on one of the higher shelves that only Mommy and Daddy can reach. However, on the bottom shelf I have put two little feet cutouts. I will set out the shoes she will wear that day on the feet and she will go get them from there. When it is time to take them off, we'll teach her to return them to the feet. Older children do great with a shoe rack or even one of the over-the-door shoe pocket systems.....

Older children can also start learning left and right feet and can be taught to put the left foot on the left cutout and same with the right. For now, we will just focus on Q getting each shoe on a foot. Sidenote...this also reinforces the math skill of one-to-one correspondance, an important counting and division skill.
So....onto diapering. We practice stand-up diapering. I know, you can pick your fainted self up off the ground right now. :) I too, was an unbeliever when I first found out about it. I began working at a Montessori who diapered strictly standing once the children could stand assisted. At first I thought it was sheer madness and that I would NEVER master it. Then I worked in a toddler classroom for a year and saw the ease with which these children were potty trained. No "potty training boot camp" no crying from kids or parents....Just calmness and the acquisition of toileting just like any other skill. Little by little.

We started out by buying two cheap wooden stools at Ikea. Plain ole chairs would work, too. We had a spot upstairs and downstairs equipped with a basket of diapers, plastic bags, wipes, and creams. When Q could stand holding onto the chair, we stood her up, we sat on the floor behind her. We removed her pants. Removed her diaper. If it was wet, no problem, just took it off, got out a new one, unfolded it all the way and put it between her legs and refastened the closures. Sometimes at first we had to do a couple readjustments to get it the right tightness. After about 10 times we were experts and could judge the tightness just right the first time. We also made sure the little elastics around her legs were out. Put her pants back on and that was it! If she was poopy, we got out lots of wipes ahead of time and got the plastic bag opened wide and lying beside us and the diaper all opened up and ready to go. Then when we took the diaper off we used it to wipe as much poo as possible. We then used the wipes to clean the back of her, then we lifed her leg enough to get the front. Easy peasy!

As she got bigger, we started including her more and more. Every time we change her we talk about whether she has poop or pee. This is important to know once you start sitting on the toilet so you know how long you'll be there! Not something children acquire automatically, so an important step. We then taught her how to remove her own diaper if it was wet. Somewhere around this time she started becoming mobile, so we had to introduce "wait, please" and teach her how to stay standing at the stool until we are all finished. We started allowing her to open the wipes and hand them to us...of course she always gives way too many, but they're easy to put back....Then we started letting her help take her pants down (by hooking her fingers in the top and gently tugging on her hands) and put them back on (we talk about "one leg, two legs!"). Now she throws her own diapers away and we wash her hands in the sink after. She also gets us a dry diaper before we start the diaper change. As you can see, we keep the dry diapers on a shelf she can reach. We've also started asking her to "clean your bottom" with a wipe after we finish cleaning her. She loves each step and enjoys taking part. She is also learning the steps of using the toilet gradually.

The next steps will include letting her sit on the toilet as soon as her diaper is removed if she wants. If not, okay. We'll let her go nuts with the flushing and put a small amount of toilet paper on the roll for her to experiment with (until she gets it out of her system and learns how the flushing and tp things work)....

Reasons I love Stand-up diapering:
-When she doesn't lay down on a poopy diaper, it doesn't squish all up in her butt cheeks and is MUCh easier to clean up
-She gets to take part and she is learning how to use the toilet step-by-step, which is developmentally appropriate
-she participates in toileting the same way we do on a real toilet--in an upright position
-she is active in participating and not just laying there watching me
-it's great when you are somewhere without a changing table--especially nasty gas stations on road trips!
-we change her standing in the back of the car trunk when we don't have access to a restroom

Be brave...give it a try!!!!