The World of Pregnancy

What Issues Can Appear in the Potty Training Process?

The sphincter control of the intestine is acquired before the bladder`s control which means the little ones will still have some wet nights for a while, even though they still manage to remain dry during the day. The potty training cannot be done in a single day but rather in a few weeks or even months, and there may even be some periods of regress if the child might get sick or refuses to accept the potty.

But you might be one of the lucky mothers: the child may “embrace” the adult behavior in just a few days and forget about diapers forever. But as a general rule, you should expect for all this to last for a while and also have some small accidents along the way.

It`s recommended to choose a peaceful period for the family when starting to learn your child how to use the potty, without any big changes being involved in that period (moving to a new home, organized parties, stressful exams of any family members, etc.) and with a warm climate. Also, you should avoid the negative development phase of the child, when his answer to any question is “no.”

Why Are Children Afraid of the Potty?

The fear of the potty is one of the most common fears faced by children and which give headaches to parents. For a lot of children, the experience of getting from the diaper to the potty, and later to the toilet, can be somehow terrifying.

Teaching the child how to use the potty is one of the most important stages in his development. It`s the sign that your little one is growing to become an independent human being. He learns how to control his body, but also how to manipulate the objects around him.

This kind of successes can frighten the child. He suddenly becomes aware that he`s not depending on you anymore to change his diaper, he has some kind of responsibility to announce when he needs to use the “toilet,” he`s making big efforts to learn how to refrain himself and not to wet his pants, etc. These are all pressures that may stress the child.

Additionally, there are a series of fears that may develop within the child when he`s learning how to use the potty:

  • Fear of falling off the potty;
  • Fear gained from a dream in which he was “swallowed” by a monster that comes out the potty;
  • Fear from a scare after a powerful sound or from an accidental bump when he`s on the potty;
  • He saw pictures or movies in which the character was traumatized while he used the potty.

At the age of 2, the difference between reality and fantasy doesn`t really exists. More than that, the child lives more in the fantasy world than in reality and this can be seen in his behavior and thinking. If he`s imagining that something bad may happen while he`s using the potty, he`ll certainly make everything possible to stay away from it.

How to Help your Child to Pass Over His Fear?

Your little one needs to become “friends” with the potty and to stop seeing it as something negative that wants to hurt him. He`s maybe not able to “tell” you what exactly scares him, but you can guess from noticing his daily experiences with it. Only if you know the cause you can take the necessary measures as it follows:

  • If your little child has been scratched or kicked by mistake while using the potty, then it may be best to change it because your child may not get near it again. He may start to see it as a trauma trigger.
  • Give the potty a cute name if you see your child starting to be afraid when hearing about using the potty. Maybe your child has caught a small aversion for the word “potty”. Changing its name to something that you`ll notice brings smiles on his face may fix the problem.
  • In case he may complain he sees a monster inside the potty, take his hand with a lot of patience and show him the interior of the potty by telling him that there is nothing there and that he is safe. Eventually, you can also try a small ritual of “removing” the monster to convince the child that there`s nothing there that could harm him.

Just like in the case of other kind of fears, the child should be helped with a lot of patience and plenty of explications for him to first understand from where comes his fear and how he can overcome it. It may not help to keep repeating him that “there is nothing there” if he really believes that there is a little monster in the potty. Remember that he still leaves in his own kind of reality, even if for you it seems like a fantasy. You need to learn his language and understand things his way to help him with his fear.

The work in persuading the child to stay on the potty includes communication and finding the right methods. You, as a parent, are the most important “tool” in this regard because your child trusts you which comes as a real advantage when you need to teach him new things.

How You Should React to Accidents

Be prepared for a lot of accidents or small glitches and avoid punishing your little one for every small thing he`s doing. Try to only change him and tell him something like “It`s ok! Next time we`ll use the potty!” or anything similar like that.

Try to only show your positive side and be sympathetic when any accidents occur. Focus on emphasizing joy and happiness when trying to get rid of diapers and not really on the benefits gained from using the potty. Don`t make a real drama when changing a few wet panties; children, especially as they grow, feel ashamed without you needing to outline this with every given time. You probably still remember how it was for you when you were in the same situation as a child.

Most people aren`t very relaxed when it comes to the functions of their bodies. Try not to share your child just yet about bad smells when pooping, not even when cleaning the carpet that was just “decorated” by him. – Read this!

Using the Potty when Not at Home

Children cannot use the potty before a long trip only to avoid stopping along the way. Take the potty with you and try to use it when your child is showing he needs it. When you are on the highway, you don`t risk your life only to avoid a small pothole. Instead, take as many changing clothes with your luggage as you need. Avoid thinking that if you won`t change your child of his dirty clothes too often, you`ll strengthen his desire to use the potty with the next occasions. – Read more!

Before leaving your home, ask your little one if he needs to pee or poop. If he`s offering a negative answer, offer him your example and explain to him that you may not refrain from peeing during a long period of time. Then go to the bathroom and teach him that he needs to do the same.

Try to take breaks every 1 ½ – 2h and tell him that it would be best if he`ll try to pee as well. You could suggest your child that not even a grownup can resist 4 or 6 hours on the road without using the toilet.

Giving Up Diapers during the Night

Don`t hurry to make your little stay dry during the night, especially if there are accidents happening during the day. When there`ll be a few days in a row without any accidents and he also starts having mornings when he wakes up dry, you can try and explain to him that is time to give up using diapers. Use some protection for your sheets, but ensure your him that there`s no problem if accidents might happen. The child will be changed in new pajamas and the sheets will be washed and changed as well. If the child still remains wet after him being 6 years old, we should acknowledge there might be a medical condition known, such as enuresis, and it`s recommended for you to get in touch with a doctor. It`s estimated that 1 out of 6 children wet the bed during the night, the proportion being higher at boys than at girls.

It`s not necessary to throw away the diapers just yet. Your child is still not mature enough yet to wake him up during the night to pee. Try to reduce the amounts of liquids that you give him in the evening and put the potty near the bed. Explain to him that if he feel the need to pee, he can use the potty and pee next to his bed without being needed to go to the bathroom.

Potty Training & Constipation

Early potty training can be a cause for constipation for the following reasons:

  • If your little one is not ready or interested to use the potty/toilet, he may refrain himself and this may lead to constipation;
  • Children who had a strong stool with difficulties and pain at elimination are more likely in refraining themselves to go to the toilet in the future.

In case you notice that your child starts to refrain himself in going to the toilet, you should immediately stop the training process. Encourage him to use the potty/toilet only when he feels the need to poop. Offer him a support for his legs when he uses the toilet because this way he`ll be able to push as he forces himself to eliminate the stool. Keep him company, read to him, kiss him and encourage him when he uses during the entire process.

Image courtesy of Parents.com
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