Toilet training woes

My two-year-old son is meeting all his developmental milestones but I haven’t been able to toilet train him. I avoid using diapers at home, but use them when we go out. Is this advisable? Also is it ok if he still uses a potty instead of an adult toilet? — Lucy Fernandes, Kochi

The ‘potty’ is a good way to toilet train children. However, as children are still learning, accidents can happen and using diapers for social occasions and outings is a good idea. However, on the flip side, the availability of diapers has delayed the toilet training of children. It is important to give children some diaper free time to encourage potty training. Encourage the squatting or sitting position with feet placed on the ground. Also, it is important to escort children at regular intervals to the toilet to urinate as it helps them develop bladder control.

My daughter is training to become a Bharatnatyam dancer and regularly participates in dance competitions. Inevitably she has to use heavy face makeup for long hours. Of late she is developing redness if the makeup is not properly removed. Therefore, to thoroughly remove the makeup I am applying coconut oil and massaging her face and then washing off with besan powder. Am I doing the right thing? — Nisha Rangarajan, Hyderabad

You are doing the right thing for your daughter’s skin. Whenever makeup is used, it’s important that it is washed off completely and as soon as possible. This prevents harmful chemicals used in makeup products from damaging the skin. Children’s skin is especially sensitive and it’s important to limit applied makeup to the extent possible.

My daughter loves cornflake chocos with milk, but my mother-in-law says that it’s not healthy for children to consume it daily as it is sugar and chocolate coated. My daughter insists it is a health food. Please advise. — Mumtaz Ahmed, Ahmedabad
Food companies worldwide are increasingly using healthy ingredients to make their products more acceptable to the public. These days chocos contain fibre content, limited calories and have carefully chosen ingredients. Nevertheless, they contain sugar, preservatives and artificial flavours. Therefore, they are a good choice for an occasional meal, not for daily consumption. It will help to strike the balance between what one wants one’s child to eat and what one’s child will agree to eat! However, it is most important to encourage a healthy plate at each meal — cereals, vegetables, fruits, proteins. Children also follow by example, so the whole family should be encouraged to make healthy food choices.

(Dr. Nisha Miriam George is a paediatric consultant at Sundaram Medical Foundation and Dr. Rangarajan Memorial Hospital, Chennai)

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