When we had the initial discussion about her 3-year-old’s issues, one thing that came up often was how worried mom was that the daughter didn’t want to potty train.
She was afraid to start because of this, and had stopped training in the past due to it. She was afraid that making her daughter use the toilet when she didn’t want to would somehow scar the child for life.
I hear this all the time, and it taps into this popular parent brainwashing that our kids can never be upset.
Guess what, at least 70% of the kids I work with don’t “want” to learn to use the potty!
Why would they?
It takes work, it’s time consuming, and they have to stop what they are doing, which is usually something fun, and go to the bathroom, which is pretty boring.
I can understand why most kids are not jubilantly skipping off to the toilet every time that you ask.
So first of all, here’s the good news:
Success is guaranteed!
Potty training has as close to a 100 per cent success rate as anything in parenting ever gets, and it’s one of the few parenting moments where you get to actually do a little victory dance.
True, there’s no precise moment when your child will simply “get it” and use the bathroom consistently from that day forward.
When they do eventually master it, though, you can put the days of diapers and Penaten cream behind you, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
With that being said, don’t kid yourself. Potty training can be an ordeal, but your child will eventually learn to use the bathroom, and when they do, the reward for both of you will be well worth the effort.
Look at the challenge from the child’s point of view:
• They’re venturing outside of their comfort zone
• They don’t like changes in their schedule
• They feel a little deflated when they don’t get the hang of it right away
• The process tends to result in conflict, as well as the occasional yucky accident.
Looking at it from the parents’ point of view, you can see… well, pretty much the exact same thing.
• We’re taking on a new parenting challenge, which puts us outside of our comfort zone
• Taking your child to the bathroom every twenty minutes probably seems like an impossible demand on your already hectic schedule.
• Parents often feel like they’re doing something wrong if their child doesn’t respond well to potty training
• The occasional accident and ensuing frustration can lead to some unpleasant contention.
So what do we tell our children when they’re having issues learning to use the potty?
We offer them encouragement, we tell them that it won’t happen overnight, that we appreciate them trying, that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and that they’ll feel so much better once they’ve gotten the hang of it.
If we could explain it to them in everyday English, it would all sound so reasonable.
“Listen honey, I’m sure this is a little unnerving, and I know you and I are going to have a few little battles while you’re learning, but this is something you have to learn how to do. It’s one of the responsibilities that come with being a grown-up.”
My suggestion, for parents, is to envision their child offering them the same pep talk.
“Listen Mom, I know this is a little scary for you, and we’re probably going to butt heads a little over the course of this process, but this is just one of those things you have to teach me, unpleasant though it may be, because it’s part of the responsibility of being a parent.”
You’re the parent. You make the decisions and you prove to your kids that you mean what you say when you say it. They might not like it, but they will not be scarred.
Be supportive, be consistent, and be patient. You’ll get there together and your relationship with your child will be that much stronger from the experience.
If you are ready to start potty training, check out No-Sweat Potty Training. It promises to make potty-training super quick and even fun!