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playing in toilet ok?

Posted by chrisk636

My daughter-in-law likes and uses the 'permissive parenting' style.  This causes much friction between her and my son in regards to raising their son.  One incident involved my grandson, not yet 2, playing in the toilet.  When my son saw this, he removed his son from the  incident and washed his hands.  My d-i-l got upset with my son and said that by my son doing that, he was telling their son that the toilet is a bad place and that it could affect his potty training.  Now, mind you, she had just had a bowel movement and was menstruating, flushed the toilet, but did not clean it.  My d-i-l saw nothing wrong in the toddler playing in the toilet.  Is this a behavior ok with those that use permissive parenting? 
Answers (2)
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This is a great question and something that I experienced personally as well as get questions on from my clients.  My own personal beliefs are that making anything bad or wrong or stopping a child from doing something will probably make that child want it more or indeed be more curious.  I also have seen toilet behaviours in terms of potty training and then in adult life affected by direct negative association with how parents react to the toilet area.  Personally, I would have tried to redirect or distract the child away from the toilet area without making a big deal of it or make the action bad.  I personally didn't like my son 'playing' in the toilet water and would have just distracted him with something else or perhaps let him flush it for fun.  I was also concerned with the lid closing painfully.  

So, in answer to your question, I do believe in letting the child experience as much as they can, however, if there is something I personally do not like the idea of, I would simply distract the child to move toward something else more exciting rather than saying NO or bad or creating a rule to follow.   Conflicting rules from parents will confuse a child and what happens when I say "Don't think of a pink elephant"...

My opinion would be - would she (your d-i-l) play in the toilet after someone has just used it, whether on their period or not! And if not, why not if it's okay to allow  a child to do it? I think your son was right in removing his child and washing his son's hands. Sure, children should be able to experience different things, but let's be smart people. Play in a dirty (or clean) toilet? Besides the fact that toilets are considered a drowning hazard for a small child.
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