One of my sons (I’m not naming names), had ZERO interest in potty training.
Much to my (and my husband’s) dismay, he actually seemed happier is a wet or smelly diaper than he did in a fresh one! Weird, right?
Anyway, one of my clients was asking me if I had any tips on how to deal with a child who just does not seem interested. Having lived through this myself — and having helped thousands of other parents with potty training — here’s my advice:
If you’ve got some potty training advice to share (or questions to ask), please join the conversation using the ‘Comments’ box below!
I’ll choose one commenter to win a FREE copy of No-Sweat Potty Training — which is the easiest way to potty train, in my opinion! ;)View the Video Transcript
If you’d rather read than watch, here’s a transcript of this week’s video:
Welcome to this week’s video blog. I got an email the other day from a woman with a three-year-old asking, when should she start potty training? The problem was that her son was expressing no interest whatsoever in learning to use the potty. In fact, whenever she talked about it with him, he got quite angry and upset about it, and really seemed adamant that he did not want to start potty training. She was looking for a bit of guidance in that particular situation.
That’s actually a fairly common question. It tends to happen more often with boys that it does with girls. We can talk in depth about the differences between boys and girls. I do find that a lot of boys have some resistance to the idea of starting potty training.
My advice to this viewer, though, was that you need to decide if you’re ready. When it becomes an issue of, “Can he understand a few simple instructions, can he communicate to you on some level”?, then yes, you should be looking for those signs.
But a three year-old, I’m pretty confident, has fairly decent communication skills and understands absolutely everything. If your child is three and up, and you are ready to start potty training, then you make the choice, and you go for it.
I think too often we rely on our toddler-preschoolers to guide us in this journey of parenting. I see a lot of parents over-talking issues, asking lots of questions of their toddler and preschooler, looking for them to cooperate, I suppose, or get on board with whatever your plans are for them. And most toddlers won’t. Toddlers do not like change and surprise. They like consistency, they like routine, they like predictability. To throw that upon them, something they have no experience with whatsoever, have no idea what’s involved in the whole process of using the toilet, they’re 9 times out of 10 going to tell you, “No,” they don’t want to.
This is an issue where you need to step in as the parent and make an appropriate decision. Once you’ve made the decision, you need to stand behind it. That might mean that your 3-year-old has lots of fits, maybe even a tantrum on the first day. You say, “Hey, we’re giving this a shot. No more diapers for you, it’s potty training time.”
I would suggest you give them a bit of warning on this, so maybe a day or two before you’re about to begin your weekend of diaper-free potty training. Just set the stage that we’re going to have a bit of a celebration on Saturday. That’s the day we’re going to say goodbye to the diapers and start using the toilet. If he says no, or starts to kick up about it, just let it go. Just say, “OK, it’s not Saturday yet. No need to worry,” and proceed with your day. Just drop little hints here and there that the day is coming. All right? So there are no huge surprise when that day arrives.
Then, again, once you’ve decided to do this, you need to stand behind that decision. If you waffle back and forth just because your child is giving pushback, then you are teaching your child that you do not mean what you say, and if he acts badly enough, you will give in.
I know that no parent wants to set up that sort of a situation, where you’re basically rewarding bad behavior, so hang in there. I had a great friend who started potty training her three-year-old son, and he was so mad for about the first two hours of the day. He even threatened he was going to take a pee in her purse.
I don’t know where he got that from, but he was so angry about it. They just tried to ignore it the best they could. They continued to remind him that this was happening regardless, and by the end of the day problem solved. He was over it. He’d had at least a couple of successful events on the potty. That’s why I want to really encourage you that you need to stand behind your decision.
Again, when you’re deciding if your child is potty training-ready, the biggest question you need to ask yourself is, are you potty training-ready? If you’re ready to take this on, even though it might be a bit of a challenge at first, then I say you’ve got your answer. Go for it. Might as well get it started and over with, and be diaper free.
Really, that is something to keep in mind, that your ultimate goal here is to have a child who can use the potty independently, and what a blessing. You no longer have to use diapers, you no longer have to do any cleanup. In fact, when you get to the day where your child runs off and goes to the washroom all by themselves, that’s a great day. That’s a day worth celebrating. So I say, go for it.
Thanks for watching.
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