10 Things You Should Avoid When Potty Training A Child

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Potty training can be a tough experience for you and your child, but avoiding it is impossible.

The time will come when you’ll have to switch from diapers to the potty. It’s a test of patience and willingness to overcome the setbacks you’ll undoubtedly face. 

While every child reacts differently to potty training, it’s important that they feel supported and listened to while they tackle their next big step in life.

So, before you start, familiarize yourself with common mistakes parents make when potty training with this helpful guide, so you don’t make the same ones.

Forcing It

You can’t train a child who is not developmentally ready to use the potty. Consider this before starting training – forcing a child who isn’t ready won’t get you anywhere.

10 Things You Should Avoid When Potty Training A Child

Typical signs that your child is toilet-ready include being able to communicate their need to go, showing bathroom independence, and the ability to dress themselves.

If they refuse to go, forcing them on the toilet will create a negatively charged environment and will lead to more resistance and negative associations with using the potty.

If you suspect your child isn’t ready, wait a few weeks or months until they show the signs.

A full list of Potty Training Signs of Readiness is ready for you to read here.

Discounting Your Child’s Feelings

In a negative atmosphere, children can develop fears during potty training, fears that you would never consider as an adult.

This is why it’s important to listen to your child’s feelings during their training. 

Children can find new experiences frightening, and what may seem irrational to us is very real for your child.

The flushing of the toilet can be jarring to hear for the first time, and one slip off the toilet can scare your child away from the bathroom for a while.

Treat these fears with sensitivity and acknowledge them so your child feels listened to and validated.

Beginning At Times Of Stress

Consider outside stresses before you start potty training your child. Even good stress can be unsettling for your child because they are not used to change.

Coping with the challenges of marriage, divorce, death, moving, or new family members while potty training can be much for your child to handle at the same time.

If any big changes are happening in your life, then reconsider training for now.

Letting your child adjust to change before potty training will create security for them and help them place toileting alongside their normal daily routine.

It’s also important for you as a parent to devote your attention and positive energy without other worries on your mind.

Using Difficult Clothes

Using Difficult Clothes

Make it easy for your child to get undressed to use the potty.

Overalls with snaps, multiple layers, pants with zippers, and other difficult clothing can be hard for tiny hands to manipulate.

Consider your child’s motor skills when choosing the best clothing for them while they’re being potty trained.

Some parents have benefited from letting their children run around in their underwear or in the nude while at home during potty training.

This is something to consider in the early stages of potty training, so your child can focus more on using the toilet rather than getting undressed.

Overreacting To Accidents

Potty training is a learning experience for your child, so they’re not going to get it right immediately. Accidents are inevitable and completely normal.

It’s important to reinforce the fact that going to the bathroom is normal, and so are accidents. 

Making your child feel bad for an accident can actually reinforce more accidents by emphasizing feelings of shame.

They are a part of the process, so instead of overreacting, let your child know that it’s okay and that they can learn from them.

Giving In To Pressure

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. Comparing yourself and your child to others will not benefit either of you.

Pressure is usually derived from grandparents, teachers, or other parents, the pressure to potty train can come from anywhere.

Resist giving in to external pressure and use your own instincts and knowledge of your child to decide when to start potty training.

Your child will show signs of readiness when it’s time for training, so don’t get caught up in the development of other children.

Starting to train too soon because of what others think will end with you feeling stressed, which will reflect in your child’s training process.

Expecting Night-Time Training Quickly

Even a fully potty-trained child can still have night-time accidents. Full bladder and bowel control during the night comes years after completing potty training.

It’s perfectly normal for children to wet the bed, even at elementary school age. 

Your child will naturally grow out of bed-wetting as their body develops so don’t expect too much too soon when it comes to potty training.

Trust that your child will get there eventually and don’t treat it as a problem. If they know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, they are more likely to grow out of it quicker.

Taking Your Child Too Often

Taking Your Child Too Often

Between the ages of 18 months and 2 years old, your child usually needs to use the toilet every two hours.

Taking your child more frequently than this means you're asking them to empty a partially full bladder, which is a skill they don’t have at this age. 

You should wait roughly two hours between visits to the toilet while potty training to allow your child’s bladder to fill. Set a timer or use a Potty Training Watch.

Pay attention to what your child is trying to communicate to you and whether or not they need to use the potty.

Taking them less frequently will also reduce the stress and anxiety associated with potty training, speeding up the process.

Continuing To Use Diapers

Diapers and pull-ups are very absorbent, which is great when your child is a baby, however, as a toddler, it can hinder the potty training process.

To successfully potty train your child, they need to know the uncomfortable feeling of being wet, and diapers won’t allow them to feel this. 

The discomfort of feeling wet gives your child an incentive to use the potty and ultimately speeds up the training process.

You swap the diapers for training underwear when you start potty training. While it can be messy at the beginning, the payoff is worth it, as the process will be much shorter and simpler.

Asking Your Child If They Need to Go

It may seem like common sense to ask your child if they need to go, however, this doesn’t actually work for two reasons.

Firstly, your child is still learning what it feels like to “need” to go to the bathroom, and they might not know if they need to go. This can confuse them and they might not give you a reliable answer.

Secondly, sitting on the toilet is boring for your child so they may resist going. Asking them while they’re doing something much more fun will give you a definite “no!”, and then lead to an accident.

Instead of asking them, you should look for signs that indicate that they need to go, and firmly tell them that it’s time to go to the bathroom.

Conclusion

Potty training can be tough and messy, but the main thing to remember is positivity. Take it in your stride, and don’t worry too much.

If you work with your child and communicate effectively, they’ll be potty trained in no time.

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