It is normal for parents to seek the advice of others when it comes to potty training process. In fact, some parents aren’t necessarily looking for advice, but are instead looking for confirmation that (A) they’re not doing anything wrong, and (B) that there is nothing wrong with their kid’s potty training schedule. According to an article written by Beth A. Choby, MD and Sheaa George, MD for American Family Physician
, only 40-60 percent of toddlers are potty trained by the 36 months of age. But for parents whose children are late bloomers, that’s not much of a consolation. If your child is struggling to get out of diapers, don’t stress. It’s common. There could be a variety of contributing factors that are actually quite common.
Is it Fear?
Before assuming that your child is being stubborn or is a slow learner, consider whether the child has a fear of the toilet
or of the act of going to the bathroom itself. For example, one painful episode while trying to poop could cause the child to associate pain with the toilet, slowing down the training process. They need to know that the toilet has nothing to do with the pain and that holding it in can cause even more pain. When the fear is severe, some professionals even advise to keep the diaper on the child while using the toilet, but to cut a hole in the bottom of the diaper so that what comes out ends up in the toilet.
Is it Just Underdeveloped Muscles?
Children have to learn to sense when their bladder is full. Low muscle tone can hamper potty training efforts when children either can’t recognize when their bladder is full, or when they can’t control their bladder muscles well enough to hold it in. It takes practice for the muscles to become strong enough, and it takes patience on behalf of the parents.
Are They Too Content in Diapers?
Your child may not mind wearing a diaper and have no desire at to use the toilet, prolonging their potty training schedule. If this is the case, remember that diapers reduce the feeling of wetness. So, transitioning them to regular underpants or even putting underpants between your child and the diaper can make them feel wetness more, and hopefully they won’t like it. As a result, they may start to realize a sense of urgency when they have to urinate and take more of an interest in using the toilet.
What to Do
Stay calm. Take baby steps. The more patient you are, the quicker the potty training process will go. But always stick to your guns. Don’t ever revert to diapers if you are having a difficult time, as doing so will just confuse your child and delay the training process even further. You don’t want them to assume that diapers will always be an option. They need to know that diapers are gone for good. You may also want to reconsider your reward system. Just because they neighbor’s kid excelled by getting a sticker each time they used the toilet doesn’t mean your child will. Furthermore, a reward system in general might be a bad choice for a child who is late to potty training. The reason is because some children feel disappointment not only when they fail to use the toilet, but also when they fail to get the reward. Instead of a reward, consider motivating your child with special things they can do only while in the bathroom, such as reading new books or playing on the tablet. Special underwear helps too. Don’t underestimate the power of their favorite characters. No matter how frustrating potty training gets, remember that it is temporary. Your child has learned a lot in the first few years of life, but this may be the most challenging task. Try to be their cheerleader, even if it means cheering them on longer than you initially planned.
Additional Potty Training Resources:
How Long Should Potty Training Toddler Take Ways to Get Your Toddler to Actually Pee While Potty Training