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10 reasons potty training can go wrong

I haven’t written about potty training for a while and as I’ve been getting so many questions about it lately, I thought it was time to write a piece.

This isn’t to make you feel guilty.

I went so wrong myself that I want you to avoid the pitfalls.

Maybe you worry that you are never going to get there?

Have you heard so many horror stories that you are too scared to start?

Here’s the thing, if you get to grips with a few of the pitfalls then it can make the process much easier.

When you first learned to swim someone probably told you or your parents – ‘don’t jump in the deep end, don’t learn to swim in a choppy sea, learn from a patient teacher…'

Do you see where I’m going with this – getting things right from the start (or correcting if you've gone wrong) helps get you on the right track.

So here are the 10 most common reasons things go wrong:

  1. Leaping in without preparation. You’ve probably heard me talk about his before for other areas of parenting – good preparation for potty training is the key – even if you have started you can take a step back to prepare.
  2. Putting pressure on your child – ‘you HAVE to sit on the potty when I say so’, ‘Hurry up, I haven’t got all day to wait’, ‘You are 3 years old, you shouldn’t be wearing nappies any more’.  Pressure will induce fear and the body won’t respond in a natural way with fear, nor will your child want to cooperate with you.
  3. Using negative  comparisons such as ‘Everyone else in your class uses the potty, why don’t you?’. This will make them feel inadequate or not good enough and this can be damaging.
  4. Expecting fast results and giving up too soon if accidents continue after a few days of trying. Patience is key here – whilst some children train from one day to the next, most take longer so don’t expect it to be super-quick.
  5. Being too influenced by peer pressure and consequently getting sucked into feeling like your child ‘should’ be responding the same way his peers are.
  6. Doubting or not listening to your own instincts as a parent. Parents know so much about their children but sometimes don’t trust themselves or realise that children are communicating so much and they are missing it. 
  7. Losing patience - children are sponges for our feelings and want to please us but if they sense we are impatient it will deter them.
  8. Picking a time to start when you are too preoccupied - eg with a stressful job, a brand new baby or just after you move home. Your child needs your time and patience, if you don’t have it at the moment it’s important to wait.
  9. Swapping between pull-ups and underwear - it makes it really hard for your child as pull-ups or nappies take away the sensation to wee or poo. 
  10. Having two parents (or nanny/nursery) using different strategies – this gets very confusing for your child.

There are so many positive ways to get a child potty trained, if you would like some help, please get in touch for a free 20 minute phone consultation.