Cohort 12 has been showing me their desire to take on parts of our diapering routine since we started together. Since they began to crawl, they all wanted to get to the bathroom on their own. Early on, they each learned how to climb up the stool to the sink, turn on the water to wash hands, and get a towel to dry. Recently, the children have been taking on more of their hand-washing routine - getting soap, rinsing their hands, and putting their towel in the used-towel basket when they are done.
Once the children were confidently standing, by holding onto a stool or independently, I began having them stand up for diaper changes. This allows them to see more of what is going on, and to have hands free to help with pulling pants up and down, picking out wipes, and more.
A big part of wobblers exerting their independence in the bathroom is the opportunity to make choices about their bodies. Would you like to wear a green diaper or a blue diaper? Do you want to wipe yourself or shall I wipe you? Do you want to sit on the toilet?
While these choices may seem small, they are true choices I am offering to the children - what they decide is what we will do - and this is part of giving them power in and ownership of their activities. The important thing for me is that each child is given the ability to make choices about their own body. The act of sitting on the toilet is less important than the act of making a decision of whether or not to sit on the toilet - this autonomy of choice will carry over into every phase of toilet readiness. After all, no adult can choose for a child when to eliminate, and therefore offering children as much choice and power in their care activities as possible now sets them up to be confident in their decision making as they begin to use the toilet.