Wednesday 28 February 2024

UK parents don't do toilet training. Cats are better toilet trained than kids!

I have decided that it is possible or probable that the UK's domestic cats are better toilet trained than reception-aged schoolchildren in this country. The shocking headline from The Times is that parents 'don't do toilet training' with the result that 90% of teachers of reception-age children say that nine in ten had a child in their class who wasn't toilet trained.

What do these kids do? Do they poop and pee where they sit at their desks? Or do they put their hand up and asked teacher something like this: "Teacher, I want to have a pee. Can you tell me how to use a toilet?"

It's completely bonkers. A survey by the early years charity Kindred found that of 50% parents believe that they should not have full responsibility for toilet training their children. It would appear that these parents need or want to rely on others, usually teachers to help train their children how to use the toilet. What is going on in the UK?

Equally shocking is the fact that 16% of parents think it is their job to teach their children how to read. Only 16%! Surely it's a fundamental responsibility of parents to do both these chores? That's what being a parent means.


Domestic cats including kittens hardly need to be trained to use the litter tray. Some might but the majority won't in my view provided the litter tray is positioned in a good place and the substrate (the litter material) is acceptable to the cat which can be assessed through trial and error.

The reason why kittens and cats automatically use a litter tray if it is in an accessible position (quiet and away from the food and water) is because the substrate is the best material in which to go to the toilet. And therefore instinctively they use it. They go in search of something which is like the earth; the soil outside and the cat litter substrate is exactly that.

If they don't find and use the litter tray easily or are reluctant to use it then they can be trained with common sense by placing them in the litter tray and then praising them with a treat when they go to toilet in it.

The tray should be about one and a half times the length of the cat excluding the tail. It's probably safer to provide a cat with an open tray rather than one that is covered because some cats might be reluctant to go into a covered one as going to the toilet places them in a vulnerable position and they want to escape easily.

That's a minor point. If a cat is peeing and or pooping outside of the litter tray it will always be something to do with the caretaking provided by the human companion or a health problem which may itself be caregiver related.

It might be the environment that is too stressful because a cat is bullying and guarding resources or it might be because the cat has cystitis because they are too stressed. It'll be something like that. They might be spraying urine but that is not peeing. That is marking territory.

I have concluded, as mentioned, that it's probable that cats are better toilet trained than young school kids or cats are better at using their toilet than children are at using theirs!

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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