The most common cause of resistance to toilet training is that a child has been reminded or lectured too often. Some children have been forced to sit on the toilet against their will, occasionally for long periods of time. Many parents make these mistakes, especially if they have a strong willed child.
Transfer the responsibility to your child. Your child will decide to use the toilet only after he/she realizes that there is nothing left to resist. Have one last talk with him/her about the subject. Tell your child that the body makes “pee” and “poop” everyday and it belongs to him/her. Tell the child “poop” wants to be in the toilet and their job is to help the “poop” come out. Apologize to your child for being punished previously by forcing them to sit on the toilet or reminded them too often. Do not bring up the “potty talk” topic, when the child stops hearing conversations about not going, they will eventually decide to go to the bathroom for attention.
Stop all reminders about using the toilet. Let your child decide when he/she needs to go to the bathroom. Do not remind them to go to the bathroom or ask if they need to go. The child understands what it feels like when they need to “poop” or “pee” and where the bathroom is. Reminders are a form of pressure and it keeps the power struggle going. Stop all practice runs and never make them sit on the toilet against their own will because this always increases resistance. Don’t accompany your child into the bathroom or stand with them by the potty unless they ask you to. The child needs to gain the feeling of success that comes from doing it their way.
The main job of a parent is to find the right incentive such as giving positive feedback, such as praise and hugs every time your child uses the toilet. Giving the child their favourite sweets or video time can be invaluable. On successful days consider taking extra time to play a special game with your child or take them to their favourite playground.
Give stars for using the toilet. Get a calendar for your child and post it in a conspicuous location. Have them place a star on it every time they use the toilet. Keep this record of progress until the child has gone 1 month without any accidents.
Make the potty chair convenient. Be sure to keep the potty chair in the room your child usually plays in. This gives them a convenient visual reminder about their options whenever they feel the need to go to the bathroom. Do not remind the child even if they’re squirming and dancing to hold back the urine.
Diapers, pull-ups or underwear. Whenever possible, replace pull-ups or diapers with underwear. Help your child pick out some underwear with their favourite characters on them. Remind them they don’t like poop or pee on them. This usually precipitates the correct decision on the child’s part. Even if your child wets their underwear, persist with this plan. If your child holds back BM’s, allow selective access to diapers or pull-ups for BM’s only. Preventing stool holding is very important.
Remind your child to change their clothes if they we or soil themselves. As soon as you notice that your child has wet or messy pants, tell them to clean themselves up. The main role you have in this program is to enforce this rule – People can’t around with messy pants. If the child is wet, they can probably change into dry clothes by themselves. If they are soiled, they will probably need your help with cleanup.
Don’t punish or criticize your child for accidents. Respond gently to accidents and do not allow siblings to tease the child. Pressure will only delay successful training and it could cause secondary emotional problems. Your child needs you to be her ally.