The RIE approach to potty training

Learn about: The RIE approach to potty training from Lisa Sunbury, MA,...
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The RIE approach to potty training

The RIE approach to toilet training is that, learning to use the toilet is a process. A child needs to be ready to participate in this process, on all levels. On a physical level, they need to have developed the ability to control their bodies and to delay their urge to urinate long enough so they can get to the potty. On the emotional level, they have to be ready to want to do this, showing signs of interest. On the cognitive level, they need to be able to understand what is expected of them. Those are the three things. The most important thing on the emotional level is conforming to adult's standards. It is the adult's desire for the child to use the potty. The RIE approach is to wait until the child is showing those signs of readiness. Then, the parent encourages and supports the child in what she is working on and what she is ready for, through having the potty ready. Giving the child the opportunity to use the potty, but never pushing that.

Learn about: The RIE approach to potty training from Lisa Sunbury, MA,...


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Lisa Sunbury, MA

Parent Educator

Lisa Sunbury has dedicated her life to caring for, supporting, and advocating for infants, toddlers, and their parents. She has over 20 years experience working in the field of Early Childhood Education, in a variety of roles. After earning a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University, she worked as a nanny, and as an infant/toddler teacher in several respected childcare programs. While attending a workshop led by Diana Suskind, which focused on the unique needs of infants and toddlers in child care centers, she was introduced to Magda Gerber’s philosophy of infant care. Intrigued by Magda’s work, she went on to study with her for three years at the original home of RIE (Resources For Infant Educarers), in Silver Lake, California. There she earned a certificate of completion in the program to become a RIE Associate. She has taught RIE Foundations through University of California Santa Barbara, presented at several early childhood conferences, and had her writing published in the RIE Newsletter and the Giant Encyclopedia of Activities for Infants and Toddlers. Her most recent work has included growing her website, Regarding Baby, and caring for a wonderful family that includes two young children. She maintains professional memberships with the National Association of Early Childhood Education (NAEYC) and RIE, and is proud to serve on the board at Santa Cruz Toddler Center.

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