Potty training can be an exciting, but frustrating experience for both parents and their children. Despite the impressive claims of some experts, the truth is that every child is different. There is no set formula that will work equally for every toddler. You can try a lot of different approaches, but it’s important to keep realistic expectations. Try to remember the following 5 truths throughout the toilet training process.
1. You can’t force them. Toddlers do not have control over very much in their lives. However, to a certain degree, they can control their urine and bowels. For this reason, it is impossible to force a child to eliminate their waste at your request. Particularly stubborn or fearful children may even cause themselves to become constipated over their refusal to use a toilet. It’s important not to allow potty training to become a battle of wills. Never punish or threaten a child to use the potty. It will happen when they are ready. The atmosphere needs to stay fun and light, even if you are frustrated.
2. Don’t compare your child’s progress with another. Try not to worry too much about average potty training ages. Your child is unique and so will be their potty training journey. For some children, it just takes longer for them to “connect the dots” to correctly interpret their bodies signals. As hard as it may be, don’t compare your child’s progress with his/her friends or even with the experience you may have had with an older child. You are not any less of a parent if your little one takes longer than the average age to potty train.
3. Make your own technique to suit your child. Some kids take to the toilet quite easily. Others need more convincing. You might use a sticker chart or small bribes. You might also plan larger rewards for going long periods of time without accidents. You can combine whichever techniques seem to work best for your child.
4. Stay positive. It’s important to keep your attitude about toilet training positive. If you seem frustrated or angry about it, your child will read these feelings and think that potty training is a negative activity.
5. It will happen, sooner or later. There’s no reason to stress yourself or your child about this process. If your toddler takes to it quickly, that’s great. If it takes awhile, that’s ok, too. Stay positive and relaxed during this transition. Every child learns it eventually.
Many parents look for a quick solution to their child’s potty training. This may be due to a new baby on the way or the start of pre-school looming. Techniques that teach a child to use a toilet in just a few days work well for some families. Others find these methods difficult and frustrating, leaving the child with a negative view on potty training. Regardless of what methods you are attempting to use, it is critical to remember that you cannot make your child independently use the potty until both their mind and body are ready.
On a lighter note, be encouraged that your child will have mastered the potty training skill before they leave for college.