5 Common Potty Training Problems Solvedby Katlyn Joy | October 20, 2011
One of the great accomplishments of parenthood is surviving potty training. We know it's an eventuality. All kids get there. Yet while in the midst of it all, the finish line seems forever out of reach.
However, most potty training snags fall into one of five major categories. If you can figure out where your biggest obstacle is, your solution is in your grasp and big kid underwear will soon be a reality.
1. Not ready. This is one of the most common mistakes parents make when potty training their child. Potty training on your friends' timetable, the daycare's schedule or because your mom pushes you too will all backfire if your child is simply unready.
Your child will demonstrate to you his readiness by doing things such as expressing an interest in toileting, staying dry for increasing periods of time, having the ability to pull up and down clothing, letting you know when she needs her diaper changed, having the vocabulary to let you know he needs to potty, and having a fairly reliable schedule for doing her business.
While everyone and her cousin's best friend has the perfect toilet training method, even the best laid plans will go astray if a toddler is not ready for the potty quite yet. Even worse, press the issue and you'll delay potty training success even longer than if you had just waited for the right time.
If you think your child is ready, start with the training but recognize signs of resistance as a message to you to postpone the process.
2. Bad Timing. Not to be confused with reason number 1, bad timing can happen when a child has shown signs of readiness but circumstances make it the wrong time to start potty training. For instance, never start toilet training in a time of upheaval such as right before, during or after a move. If a major change occurs in a child's life, potty training should wait so if family circumstances are altered, you are getting ready to take a big vacation, or your child just recovered from a nasty bout of the flu, hold off a bit longer to ensure potty success. If you know your child is heading to daycare soon and you want her to be out of diapers from the start, don't wait until two weeks before to attempt toilet training. Plan well ahead so that you and your child are not so stressed and pressured about the whole process.
3. Fears. Some children are developmentally prepared to be potty trained yet they stumble through the training because they are dealing with fears they are unable to control. One child may fear the sound of the toilet flushing, another the idea of something coming out of his body and disappearing. Still others struggle with the idea of sitting on the big toilet. If your child expresses apprehension or fear, hold off on the potty training and attempt to discover what exactly the fears stem from. Let your child feel free to tell you what frightens him and then you can address the fears calmly and help your child overcome them. Just remember never to ridicule her fear, as that will only worsen things.
4. Wrong equipment or wrong method. Another common potty training problem is a mismatch between child and methods. Some children thrive on rewards and a sticker chart will inspire them to succeed while others will love the feeling of being a big kid and respond to praise for their achievement. Some feel pressured with schedules, while others will find success with them.
Another issue is equipment. When toilet training you may opt to buy a pint sized potty that you can empty into the real toilet. Other options include putting a stool in front of your toilet or having an adapter seat that fits onto the regular toilet seat. While you may prefer one over the others, your child's comfort level is paramount to potty training success. See which works best for your child and which method seems the most attractive to your child's personality.
5. Inconsistency. This can be related to number 2 on the list, bad timing. You need to know potty training takes weeks in most cases, so pick a time when you know you can follow through daily with the method chosen for potty training your child. Don't start the process and keep it up for a week, then drop the ball for a few days because you have a business trip out of town. The set backs will accumulate and you may do more harm than good. If you are choosing to follow a set method, then commit to the process and don't veer off. Some parents try one method for a few days, decide it's not going to work and abruptly try a new method. This will just confuse the child and slow down the potty training to a dribble. This is not to be confused with forcing a child who isn't ready for potty training. When a method is obviously a bad match, is leaving you and your child stressed out, it's time to try something new. Just don't bounce from method to method only to abandon potty training for a time. The result will be delayed training and frustrated family members.
Potty training is a process with some puddles, bumps and tears along the way. Prepare for those and hang in there. Success and big kid underwear is right around the corner.
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