During the potty training process, there are always some challenges: accidents, tantrums, mountains of laundry. Parents usually expect this and know it’s not going to be smooth sailing right away. But some parents are still surprised when their child digs his heels in and simply refuses to go poo.
They feel like they’re doing all the right things…they ask their child if he needs to go and are always met with a resounding “no!” They sit him down on the toilet, they cajole and encourage and maybe even sing funny songs. But still nothing.
Some kids will hold it so long their parents are sure they must feel sick and bloated, yet whenever they remind their kids to go sit in the potty, they refuse.
So what’s going on?
Here are a few simple things that might be causing the problem:
1. Power struggle
Kids can turn almost anything into a power struggle. Getting dressed, going to bed, eating food and yes, going to the bathroom. A young child is smart enough to know she doesn’t have a whole lot of control over what happens in her world. She is asked to stop playing Lego before she’s ready, she has to turn off the TV when she doesn’t want to, she has to wear shoes to school when she wants to go barefoot, she can’t eat gummy worms for breakfast…you get the picture. To her, life just isn’t fair, so she has to take her control where she can get it. You can’t force a child to eat food and you certainly can’t force them to go to the bathroom.
How to solve it: Stop nagging. Like any power struggle, the more energy you give the situation and the more worried and fussy you get about it, the more likely your child is to hold out even longer.
You can encourage him to sit on the toilet, but don’t make him sit there for longer than 5 minutes. Forcing him to sit will only feel like a punishment and add to the power struggle.
In these situations sometimes using a reward chart can be helpful. You can use stickers or small treats for every successful time he sits on the toilet. This will give him more incentive to go, and make him less likely to turn it into a fight with you.
2. Fear of flushing
Some kids are extra sensitive to noise, and believe it or not, this sensitivity might make them not want to go to the bathroom, simply because they don’t want to hear the noise of the flush when they’re done.
How to solve it: Simple! Don’t make your child flush. Tell her that you will do it when she is out of the room. You can gradually get her used to the noise by asking her to stand in the hall, and then in the same room, and eventually ask her if she wants to try it herself.
3. Fear of saying good-bye
Funny as this sounds, some kids have separation anxiety when it comes to their poo. If your child seems anxious about his poo swirling away, this is probably what’s going on. It might seem strange, but think about how a toddler reacts when someone tries to take a toy away. They are very conscious of what is “theirs” and in their mind, that’s their poo and they don’t want it going anywhere.
How to solve it: Tell your child to talk to his poo and wave goodbye to it before he flushes it down. This will help him detach from it and should make it easier for him to let it go.
And if you’re looking for a step-by-step plan that makes the whole experience MUCH easier (on you and your child), click here to check out No-Sweat Potty Training. That link takes you to a special discounted price available to my readers only!
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