Potty Training: Part 2

In an earlier post, we discussed potty training readiness: signs to look for to recognize whether your child is ready to begin toilet training. Today, we are going to talk about problems that may arise while potty training, as well as give tips to encourage success.

From Children’s Home Society of California (©2007), here are a few scenarios of common difficulties:

  • Don’t push toilet learning too hard. Your child may fight back by holding bowel movements. Toilet learning is a natural development and can’t be rushed.
  • Treat accidents with a causal, matter-of-fact manner. “Oh, I see your pants are wet. Let’s go get some dry ones.’ You might add: “Sometimes it’s hard to remember when you are playing so hard. Would you like me to remind you?” For many children, day and night bladder control may not be achieved until age five.
  • Factors that may interrupt the learning process and cause the child to forget what he has learned may include: birth of a new baby, entering a child care setting, moving, and adult leaving the home, illness, or death of a loved one, including a pet.
  • A child needs extra patience and positive reminders during these more difficult times. Remember, toilet learning is not a race or contest. In a crowded room of adults, no one will know or care who learned to use the toilet first.
  • Toilet learning is but one step a child takes toward acquiring important life skills. His accomplishment will give him confidence that he can achieve success in other aspects of his development.

Start toilet learning based on what your child can do, not by your child’s age. Here are a few tips for success:

  • Acknowledge all progress with a hug, a kiss, and a few words of praise, but don’t overdo it!
  • Never criticize or punish when a child is unsuccessful.
  • Maintain a good-humored, casual attitude.
  • Remember this is the child’s task to accomplish; do not engage in power struggles.
  • Some children may want a parent or caregiver to keep them company while they use the bathroom.
  • Children also may enjoy reading books while in the bathroom.

Toilet learning takes teamwork between parent, child, and the child care provider. Success depends on patient, understanding adults and a child who is physically, intellectually, and emotionally ready. Between the ages of 18 and 30 months, a child begins to show the readiness signs.

It’s important to remember that all children learn to use the potty at different rates—what worked for your best friend’s cousin’s son might not work for your daughter. Give your child the benefit of the doubt and lots of positive praise! This article at discusses five common potty training issues with problem-solving solutions. At Kids’ Care Club, our number one goal when it comes to toilet training, is to make sure children learn at their own pace. We do not rush the process or pressure children—we have found that allowing children to discover their own autonomy, along with gentle reminders, that they will have more successes and a positive response.

Additional Resources

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