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Solve Potty-Training Problems

Learn how to spot four potty-resistant personalities to avoid regression during toilet training.

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-I'm Dr. Ari Brown. Today, I'll tackle potty training problems. As parents, we all wish our kids would breeze through potty training on the first try. But let's face it. It can take several attempts and some kids do great at the beginning and then start having accidents again. It's common for setbacks to occur during stressful times. Any change, good or bad, such as a new home, a new baby, a new preschool or even a family vacation can disrupt the child's usual routine and lead to toileting accidents. Just remind your child about using the potty and expect to get back on track after a few weeks. But if you've struggled and failed to toilet train your child, there are 4 potty-resistant personalities to be on the lookout for. Number 1, the absent-minded professor. This child is so busy playing that he ignores the urge to go. The solution? Use a kitchen timer that goes off hourly to help your child tune in to his body and go to the bathroom regularly. Number 2. The terrified toileter. Some kids have real anxiety about the potty. They may be afraid of falling in the water or hearing the flushing noise or they may fear something completely outrageous like a toilet monster that lives in the hole and I'm not kidding. Because young children cannot separate fantasy and reality, the toilet can be a very scary place. The solution? Find out what your child fears and problem solve together. For example, maybe toilet monsters are afraid of little children who say, toilet monster, go away. Number 3. The control freak. Some kids are less concerned about sitting in soiled diapers and more concerned that their parents are telling them what to do. The solution? Just play it cool. Take away the diapers and put the child in-charge of using the potty and helping to clean himself up and avoid the power struggle. Number 4. The withholder. One painful experience with constipation and a child may never want to poop again. Withholders try to hold the poop in instead of letting it come out. It comes a vicious cycle because holding on to the poop only makes it firmer and more painful when it does come out later. The solution? Make a plan with your child's doctor about using a gentle laxative and a high-fiber diet. A child needs regular soft stools before potty training begins. Don't worry. No one gets on the school bus in diapers.