Are you jealous of those stories about smooth potty training transitions? Well here are 6 of the most common potty training pitfalls (and ways to deal) to make you feel a little bit more “normal”.
Prepare Yourself For These Potty Training Pitfalls
Playing in feces. You hear your son happily playing in the crib, so you head in to start the day. You freeze in horror, finding lil man diaperless and finger painting in his own feces. Are you SERIOUS!? Believe it or not….this is normal.
- Try not to get too upset, as you clean up. Mention “poop goes in the toilet” as you place soiled toilet paper into the toilet and flush. Let him place some in & flush as well.
- Once clean, set up messy play with REAL finger paints, play dough, ooblec or any other textured substance he enjoys. Give lots of praise for messy play!
- Use onsies during the day or nighties that zip up….. and place them on him backwards so it’s difficult to access at night.
- REMEMBER to stay calm as you teach him poop is not for playing (Easier said than done…I know).
Holding it in. Try to figure out why your child is holding. Are they simply too busy playing, are they afraid to go, have they had a bad potty experience? Once a child starts holding, they will fall into a cycle that is very difficult to break. Holding will cause constipation and reinforce their behavior to avoid pain during a bowel movement.
- Make sure to take your child to the bathroom regularly. Without pressure, you want to create a habit of leaving play to release.
- If they have developed a fear…..check out the next section for tips.
Afraid of the toilet. So your daughter screams, flails and cries anytime she’s near the toilet? DON’T FORCE IT! Stay relaxed about potty training and try different techniques.
- Try letting her pick out her own potty from the store.
- Use a gradual technique. For example……start with bringing her into the bathroom to potty in her diaper. Then gradually move towards the potty, have her sit on the potty with a diaper, then sit on potty without diaper.
- See if she wants to go with you when YOU go potty.
- If you’re in a public restroom, make sure you talk about all the loud noises nonchalantly. Explain what everything does & gradually ask if she would like to explore (push the button, place hands under the dryer etc.)
- As usual, give lots of praise for every step forward yet make no big deal if its a step backward. Create a chart that she can place stickers on each time there is a success!
Accidents. Accidents are going to happen right! So just prepare yourself and remember not to make a big deal out of them.
- Try using a less thick pull up so your child FEELS the accident and how uncomfortable it can be.
- Let them pick out their new undies!
- Have your child wear easy access clothing…..dresses for girls, a separate shirt and bottom, no buttons, buckles etc.
- Try helping your lil one realize they need to go by looking for cues (crossing legs, wiggling, holding privates).
- Take them to the potty regularly and praise…even if they don’t go.
Bed Wetting. Ah yes…I actually remember the last time I wet the bed. I just so happened to be sleeping with mom too! =D That dream of falling overboard a ship felt VERY realistic lol!
- Don’t scold your child…..simply help them change into dry clothes, change their sheets and lay them back into bed.
- Make sure you have a waterproof sheet underneath the top sheet.
- Shift when they drink liquids and make sure they don’t have any a few hours before bedtime.
- Have your child sit on the potty right before bed. Praise them whether or not they go!
Regression. Baby girl has been going potty on her own for a couple months and now she has an accident every day! What’s going on!?
- Try to pinpoint the cause of the regression
- Medical–constipated, UTI etc.
- Stress—-Divorce, moving, new sibling, afraid to ask teacher etc.
- Wasn’t ready to potty train
- Once you start to investigate the cause of the issue a solution will be easier to find.
- Make sure you don’t punish or scold. This will cause MORE accidents!
- Bring in a rewards plan (sticker board, favorite treat etc.)
- Some children will have accidents for months after beginning potty training! Keep at it 🙂
***I am not a doctor or psychologist. This information is inspired by friends and families experiences plus my own from working with children in Early Childcare settings for 5 years***