A reader wrote in asking for advice with her 3 year old. The child was potty trained to use the toilet to pee but had issues with being regular for her bowel movements. The child had memory of constipation and the pain had stayed with her. It was now preventing her from learning. She was, in fact, afraid and would hold herself till she had an accident. What positive parenting advice did I have for her.
I am not a doctor and my advice is only a ‘been there, tried this’ approach. You should always consult your doctor to rule out a medical as well as a physical reason.
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What Potty Training Really Means:
Potty training means the child’s ability to independently use the toilet for both her movements. Many children have a problem with going to the toilet for one or the other reason.
Potty Training is not an instant process or that which takes a few days or weeks!
You may teach her to get used to using the toilet in a few days but continuing to use it for the rest of her life is something that your child will have to learn and make a habit out of. The child who has been in diapers for two years or more and had no reason to think in that direction is now being made to realize her movements and also the need to go use a toilet for them. It is something your child will be anxious about. If amongst all that chaos, she has previous trouble with her movements like pain or constipation, it becomes a challenge.
A child who is ready to be potty trained requires a level of maturation to have the patience to first sit on that potty and then (don’t laugh!) have to concentrate to have that movement. Getting them to sit is the first step and then, getting them to do the job is the next thing. Mostly, with the first step, peeing becomes easy. But, sitting on that potty to have a bowel movement requires that patience. If they have memory of pain or if they have constipation then it becomes scary. They may not sit and the whole thing will become an ordeal.
Sitting on that potty to have a bowel movement requires patience. If they have memory of pain or if they have constipation then it becomes scary. They may not sit and the whole thing will become an ordeal.
If you have gotten your child to cross that first step of learning to use the potty to even pee then, congratulations! You’ve won half the battle. The other half requires a lot of dedication on the mom’s part. Teaching your child, encouraging them and then rewarding them too.
How do I get my reluctant child to use the toilet?
There are two steps to solving this problem.
1. Why won’t my child sit on the potty?
Why she doesn’t want to go. Is she in pain? May be she is scared of the toilet or the seat?Is it possible she is bored? Could she be constipated? May be she is anxious? Is there some other medical or physical reason that you may not be considering?
2. How to make your child sit on the potty longer.
What can you do about the problems you found? How can you make her sit on the potty longer? Whatever it takes is okay in the first few days, I feel. Give them candy, exclusive potty time toys, books, technology… sing to them, make that potty interesting… or play games. Whatever it takes. You will need to be a master at the art of distraction to get them to sit for as long.
Related: Here is what to do When Your Child Won’t Poop on the Potty
Discuss the matter with her doctor to rule out any medical issue and ask for his advice too. Find ways to alleviate her constipation.
3. Is your child really ready to be potty trained?
Sometimes parents potty train their child too soon. You need to first confirm that your child is really ready.
Next, Shop for a toilet seat that she will love to sit on.
Look out for her curiosity or any interest she is showing when you or a family member goes to the bathroom.