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Potty Training Resistance

All parents want their children to succeed, yet we sometimes place a stumbling block in the way of successful potty training. In order to be successful, we need to look at the issue from the child's point of view, and train according to his pace. Parents need take into account the child's physical and psychological readiness and think about other issues that could set him up for failure.

For example, is your family getting ready to move into a new home? Is Mom about to give birth, or is there already a new brother or sister at home? All of these myriad factors need to be looked at and dealt with or we risk a vicious cycle that ends with potty training resistance.

In general, it's normal for children to regress in potty training, but children who are still not trained by the age of 3-3 1/2 years old are considered potty training resistant. In younger children, when a trial run of potty training fails, parents should give things a rest and wait a few months before trying again, but at the age of 3 or so, a child resistant to potty training is not showing a lack of readiness and you'll need to change tactics.

Not Your Fault

It could be your child became resistant because of poor timing or technique, but sometimes parents are blameless and the child is just strong-willed. Here are some common reasons for potty training resistance:

Sitting on the potty chair frightens him

Flushing the toilet has scared him off of using the toilet

Being pushed into training too early or too fast

Being forced to sit on the potty

Being punished for not using the potty

Inconsistency in training (common when there is more than one caretaker or setting for training)

Painful movement from constipation (use a stool softener and wait until his stool is soft before trying again)

Heady Stuff

Power struggle between child and parents--wielding control over bowel movements and urination is heady stuff for your child.

Negative attention for being dirty and wet is better than not enough attention. He may like this type of attention from you.

Though unusual, there are medical conditions that can cause an inability to control urination and bowel movements, so it's a good idea for your child to have a checkup if things don't go well.

If things check out at the doctor's office, let your child be responsible for his own toilet habits. If he fails, he fails, and don't let anyone try to make you feel guilty about the way you handle things. This is the best way to remove toilet training as a difficult issue for your child.



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