Milestone tracking is primarily a newbie parent activity during baby’s first or second year. By that time, most parents have already grasped the notion that the so-called developmental milestones are just guidelines and not necessarily something that their unique little human beings will follow to the tee. Over time, these milestones are delegated to a forgotten little corner of the parental brain which is already overflowing with TODO lists, birthday/playdate schedules, sports, preschool and other activities long before the child even turns four. But then there is a sweet spot between the child’s 4th and 5th birthdays when some long-awaited milestones will be reached, making the parents sit up and take note of their children’s budding independence and individuality.
So without further preface, let me present to you these 10 milestones to look forward to and celebrate by the time your little one reaches his 5th birthday (or even earlier):
1. You will no longer need to be the “Potty Monitor”
Your child may be potty trained long before his 4th birthday, but up until recently you still had the job of being his “Potty Monitor”, the roles and responsibilities of which included:
- Reminding him to use the potty at regular intervals throughout the day; for example, before going outside, before bedtime, after waking up and so on
- Making sure he pooped at least once a day (to avoid the nasty constipation situation)
- Being his companion and source of encouragement during bathroom breaks
- Cleaning up after he is done
Finally, you can say bye-bye to this “not-so-enticing” job forever. Somewhere between 4 and 5 years, your child will suddenly develop independence in his potty habits and no longer need your help in this department much. You will no longer have to remind him to use the bathroom, he will just go when needed and you will thank heavens for it!
2. You will no longer be supervised by a “Bathroom Monitor” during your bathroom breaks. Ah, the bliss!
Even more celebration-worthy than #1 will be the milestone when your little one will leave you alone during bathroom breaks (….And you thought nothing could beat #1! Didn’t you?). Whether you need to shower or use the toilet, you will finally be able to “take your time” in the most literal sense possible. No one will knock on the door asking for an update every few seconds or break down into tears because they couldn’t see your face. You will finally be able to stop doing a running commentary on your bathroom habits out loud (though you may find it very difficult to stop doing it in your head for a long time to come. By now, timing yourself at each step would have become second nature to you!).