Child-proof or House-train?

There comes a moment in every child’s life when they finally figure out how to move around.  Gone are the days when you could place your child in the middle of the living room with a few toys and go to the bathroom knowing that when you returned they would still be right in the middle of the room.  Now if you turn your head for a second they are army crawling toward the exits. It is at this moment a decision must be made.

Are you going to baby-proof your house or are you going to house-train your baby?

We have fallen more on the house-train side of the fence. Of course there are a few basic safety precautions we have taken like locking any cleaning chemicals up and keeping the steak knives out of reach, but by and large our home of 4 kids is not overtly child-proof.   We have breakables out, we have electronics within reach and we have coffee tables with corners.  Instead of eliminating all these things we chose to teach our kids to leave them alone.

It wasn’t easy, it took constant monitoring at first and plenty of redirection, but now the payoff is well worth it.  As a bonus, it isn’t that big of a deal if we go visit someone else’s house that isn’t child-proofed as our kids know how to behave in such an environment. The downside of course is occasionally things do get broken and if anyone visits with their child who isn’t house-trained then it makes for a very stressful visit.

I don’t really have anything against child-proofing your house and for anything truly dangerous you would be silly not protect your children. On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve seen houses that had pool noodles taped all over the place for protection and I thought that was a bit over board.

How about you. What side of this debate do you come down on?

The Dad Network

17 thoughts on “Child-proof or House-train?”

  1. Hmmm you bring up an interesting contrast — I never thought about house-training instead of baby-proofing! I can see the benefits of house training a baby 🙂
    Your posts are always thought-provoking!
    Thank you and have a great weekend!

    1. Oh do you mean your baby would get into stuff that you never realized would be an issue? And then you’d have to address it?

      Or do you mean more along the lines of you can’t leave folded laundry on the floor anymore and must put it away (which you should have been doing anyway)?

      1. Both! We thought we were pretty proactive with the child-proofing, but the twins would show us things we hadn’t thought of (we had to get a new trash can after they figured out how to pull it over and dumped it out on the floor)

  2. I think it depends on the parents and the child. Not many parents have the patience to house train their children. If you do, it’s worth it. I’ve got 2 little brothers and my parents house trained them. We don’t lock up anything (chemicals and knives are put up), but we do keep an eye on the crazy 3 year old. He did get ahold of vinegar once. After spraying himself in the eyes with it he never touched any cleaner bottles again.

    1. You are right. It could depend on the individual child and other circumstances. For our first child we lived in a very small condo so it was easier to devote the time. Now, 5 years later, our 4th kid has just learned to crawl and we have moved into a house 4 times larger than the condo. Due to the large house and extra kids I wont have the time I did before and will likely baby-proof more things. There isn’t really a wrong answer, just a difference of style.

  3. We childproofed our house but we are also training. That way, as you said, visits and play dates are not stressful. But our son is learning not to touch things as well. But this is our first kiddo so we have no idea what we are doing! The next kids will probally stick paper clips in light sockets and that might be our source of entertainment!

    1. First time parenting can be a little scary! And then when you think you might have it figured out, your second child turns out to be nothing like your first. And you feel like you’re back to square one. 🙂

      Hang in there. You got this!!

  4. Great post! We got bought cupboard locks and plug socket covers and we never used them. Our little one just know not to touch plugs but she does keep going in the cupboards!! We keep her out of the kitchen and just keep persevering. She’s 18 months. I’m quite relaxed but obviously knives and bleach away!! #bigfatlinky xx

  5. Great post. I think there’s definitely 2 other options. A mixture of both and let your child show you what needs to be done so potentially allowing them to train you. I chose these two options. I did a mix and then allowed them to show me what needs to be done.
    Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky

  6. I think we do a combination – eliminate the stuff we can and leave the rest to house-training. Babies 3 and 4 have been easier to do this than 1 and 2 #BigTopBlogParty

  7. We have 3 kids the girls are the ones even at 8 and 4 we have to constantly through in new house training things lol. our boy who is the youngest at 2 is the easiest and we really didn’t have to house train much he just gets it… I was never big on baby proofing cuz I didn’t feel like they were learning anything, plus we are big on kids learning even if it is through experience (as long as they wont get hurt badly)… but you are like us with the breakables being left out etc. we also do that because if we go some where people aren’t going to pick up those things or you shouldn’t expect them too your kids should know they are off limits….

    great posts and a lot of good points I think many would see and realize some baby proofing like chemicals etc. is okay but the full on baby proofing doesn’t really benefit the parent or the child in the long run.

    #BigTopBlogParty

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