Been toilet training lately? Experiencing any potty training resistance?
Yes? Then you have probably been in the frustration zone – big time!
A lot of advice for parents who are potty training their toddlers mentions staying calm and patient.
That's good advice, to be sure. But it's also extremely hard to follow.
Based on my own experience toilet training four children here are suggestions for even the most harried parent who wants to stay calm but just does not know how.
1. Take a time out.
Time outs are not just for your kids, they'll work for you, too, Mom or Dad. And you have the advantage of using one to its full benefit.
When another potty accident happens with your child, make that your cue to take a deep breath, turn around and count to twenty – slowly.
You're doing a couple of things here to help yourself respond to your child instead of react.
You're injecting time into the situation. Emotional blowups are almost always based on the desire to do something NOW. By allowing yourself the luxury of time – even a few seconds – you give the rational side of your brain time to catch up with the emotional side of your brain.
In other words, you can think clearly.
Also, there's a physicality to this approach that helps you stay in control. The act of taking a deep breath is widely known for its calming effects. Turning around gives your body something to do in a heated moment; in other words, you're letting a bit of steam escape and that helps you get a measure of control back.
And the counting to twenty is another time trick. If you are in the throes of potty training resistance, then you may be in the middle of a power struggle with your child. If that's the case and your toddler or preschooler has learned that having a "potty accident" sends you into orbit, then your first job is to stop reacting and take back control of the situation.
Sometimes the effectiveness of this simple method is underestimated. Do not make that mistake yourself. Try this idea and see how it can put you back in control which is where you and your child need you to be.
2. Expand your knowledge base.
Even in potty training, doing the same things over and over and expecting different results is a good definition for insanity – and frustration!
Just because what you were doing with your toddler worked two, four, or six months ago, does not mean it will work today.
Your child has mastered that particular way of doing things and is looking for something new and interesting.
Doing a simple online search for "potty training issues" or "potty training regression" means you can get all kinds of advice – for free.
Taking ten minutes and sifting through what you find will enable you to glean just one or two nuggets of toilet training wisdom you may not have tried before.
Do this regularly and you might stay ahead of any potty resistance as well as your frustration.
3. It really is funny. Really.
This tip works – and it's hard. Perhaps it is difficult precisely because using humor during moments of potty training resistance is so unexpected.
If you have a preschooler who is enjoying her newfound power derived from refusing to cooperate with the potty process, using genuine humor will totally deflate her power trip.
And that's what you want.
The trick to effectively using humor is to keep the responsibility for potty training where it belongs – with your child. After all, you are already potty trained (right?) And you can not force your child to train.
You are guiding your little one into a new stage of development. So when the next "accident" happens, try a response like "Whoa! That was not supposed to happen! Did you forget where to put your pee? It goes over here (point to the potty chair)!" Now you have to do this with an exaggerated tone of voice; being silly helps.
I'll warn you. The real problem with this method is your child will want you to do this all the time.
Hm. Constant humor instead of constant frustration. This is a method worth trying. Believe me, you'll get a lot more cooperation with humor.
So the next time a potty training problem raises its head in your home, zap it under control with one or two of these simple tricks.
And say "bye-bye" to your frustration.