The first thing to remember about your child’s potty training is that they are a child, and YOU are the adult, the parent, the older and wiser one. If you have ever observed another parent trying to unsuccessfully train their child to go to the potty, it might have been hard to tell who’s who.
You, of course, are better than that, but just in case – here are 6 ways you may be inhibiting your child’s potty training progress.
You Say It All with Your Face
Your face says, “You failed”, “I am upset with you”, and “I am disappointed, yet again”. You don’t have to utter a word because these sentiments are written all over your face. Your little one reads your face and knows precisely what you are thinking. They don’t miss much.
They in turn become disappointed in themselves, because, hey, they disappointed someone very important to them. They know they failed again, so maybe they won’t try so hard next time. This is how potty training very quickly becomes a lose, lose situation.
Next time, as hard as it may be, try your best to hide those feelings of anger and disappointment and then SAY the opposite.
Making Mom Do All the Training
Of course, mom usually takes the brunt of the accidents and frustrations of potty training, but if your little one is a boy, here’s a chance to get dad involved big time. A small (and big) boy wants nothing more than to please his dad, so this is a perfect opportunity to make that happen.
Sit his potty next to the toilet so he and dad can “do their business” together. When there is some success, dad’s “good job!” and high five will mean the world to him. There is nothing wrong with sitting together without success either, because it will provide your son with a positive model. Maybe add a book or pretend cell phone to complete the picture.
This is so easy to do when you seem to take one step forward and two steps back. Just when you think things are improving, your child has another accident. If you have moved from diapers to training pants, don’t think you need to go backwards and change what you are doing. Hang in there.
Be consistent with routines. Always encourage your child to sit on the potty or toilet right before bed, first thing in the morning, and when leaving the house. That routine will pay off eventually.
Being Negative and Voicing It Aloud
Sometimes you just need to vent, but do it out of range of your child’s little ears. Even when you don’t think they’re listening, they are. This is even worse than having those sentiments written on your face. You are actually telling someone else how unhappy you are with them, how angry you are, how you don’t understand why they’re not learning. Punishments don’t work, and neither does this.
Taking the Lack of Success Personally
Who cares how soon your neighbor’s child learned to control his bodily functions? It’s not a contest between you and other parents. It’s not a contest where there is a winner and loser. It’s a learning process where you are the teacher and mentor. That takes patience. If they don’t seem to be progressing, either try another tactic or back off for a while, and remember, it’s not about you!
Being the Poop Police
Instead of being the judgmental parent who counts the accidents, concentrate instead on every small success and celebrate each of them fully. Laughter is a way to lighten up the situation, and children surely like to laugh.
Initiate a “silly poop dance” and do it together when they succeed. Keep a star calendar for everyone in the family to reflect on each day that there is a success. Just ignore any bad days. Find some way to celebrate a positive step that will make both you and your child smile and laugh.
All things will pass, and so will this.
Talk to PediatriCare of Northern VA at 703-330-3939 if your child exhibits any unusual fears about potty training or becomes constipated.