Be A Parent

Child Cleanliness: The Pediatrician's Tips

Interview with Dr. Marc Sznajder, pediatrician.

At what age should you worry about a child's inability to be clean?

Age should not be a concern, as the period of cleanliness is relatively variable.

In addition, daytime cleanliness occurs earlier than night cleanliness.

In girls, small accidents can occur during the day, this is called bladder immaturity, which can last a few years, but usually corrects itself naturally. This characterizes girls who are clean, but who from time to time have pressing desires and have trouble controlling them.

In small boys, on the other hand, the accidents are rather nocturnal.

If the night cleanliness is still not acquired around 6 years old, think of consulting a doctor; to ensure that the child's clinical examination is normal, and that there are no signs that suggest a neurological or urinary problem. Because sometimes we will trivialize small leaks or incontinence when they can be the consequence of a urinary malformation.

But in general, girls seem more precocious than boys in terms of cleanliness, is there an explanation for this?

It is above all an observation which is not supported by any scientific justification. But in many areas, girls are often more "smart" than boys!

What advice would you give to parents who are preparing to teach their child cleanliness?

  • Before 18 months, it is not worthwhile to insist that baby goes on the pot. This age corresponds to a stage of psychomotor development. Françoise Dolto gave as a reference the moment when the child is able to go up and down stairs.
  • When the child starts to report something (that he has done or is going to do it), it's time to start offering him the pot.
  • I always tell parents that there is no reason to put pressure, there is no stake, the child will be necessarily clean on arrival, whatever the time it takes .
  • The pressure of the school should not be a constraint for the child: encourage him ("you are tall now you will go to school"), rather than give him negative words ("if you do not") you're not clean, you will not go to school "). Moreover, when you force a child, he may be led to restrain himself excessively, which can create terrible constipations and harmful.

Do you find that parents are more and more "stressed" about their child's development?

I do not think mothers are getting more and more stressed. Mothers, however, are more anxious for the first child than for the next, for the simple reason that they have no experience or benchmarks.

The pressure can sometimes come from the family, especially grandmothers and great-grandmothers who misunderstand that a child is not clean at 2 years old.

But I often find that seniors are clean faster than the next ones. Because with experience, the problem is considered minor, and ultimately all children manage to be clean.

You want to react, to give your testimony or to ask a question? Appointment in our FORUMS Baby, Child or A doctor answers you!

Read also :

> When to take my child to a psychiatrist?
> My child is stressed: causes and advice
> EMDR after trauma: it works for children too
> All about childhood diseases

Sources and notes

- Marc Sznajder, Claire Pinson, Baby instruction manual, ed. Marabout, 2004,
- Marc Sznajder, Medical Guide for your child, ed. Marabout, 2007.

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