I have heard many parents complain that my sister’s friend’s nephew got potty trained completely by the time they were 2 or that my eldest child began to potty train as soon as they turned 18 months, then why is it that my child does not act in the same way? Not many studies have been conducted on why some children learn to use the bathroom on their own early in life while others seem to take longer, but most experts say that each child has a separate and distinct learning pattern.
Some children become aware of themselves and develop the right set of motor skills faster than other kids. This could be due to various reasons, but what is more important to understand is the fact that all children are not the same and they will behave differently. In times like these, you need to stop listening to everyone else and only focus your attention on your child. Keep an eye on their needs and see what they are comfortable doing. It does not matter that your neighbor’s child learned to go to the bathroom at 2½ years. The only thing that is of significance to you is what your child wants to do.
Learning New Things is a Full Time Job
Going to the bathroom on your own may be natural to you but for a child who has always been going to the bathroom in their diaper, learning to use the potty is a full time job. The task is totally new for them and they won’t even understand why it is necessary. You are asking them to leave behind their 2-3 years of not doing anything and then suddenly remembering to tell you when they want to go or that their bladder might be full or that poo-poo is on the way.
Why would an active toddler want to spend time learning to remember such mundane things when they can instead climb, jump, run or wreck your favorite sofa? Think of it from the point of view of your little one.
More often than not, a child who is not ready now, will be in a few months. So give them time. If they still show resistance, then there might be some other measures you will have to take. We will talk about this in detail in the upcoming chapters.
Fear of the Unknown
This may sound a little strange for you, but again, look at it from your child’s perspective. Many times when parents are too pressurizing or expect too much from their children, kids develop a fear of what lies ahead. As soon as the time to sit on the potty arrives, they began to be fearful of the whole ordeal. To them it is another hour of sheer torture where they are required to do something they simply cannot handle.
This is the reason that they become cranky and even refuse to sit on the potty. Keep in mind that if the situation gets worse, your child may even develop a fear of the toilet and refuse to even go in, let alone use the potty. This is why you must be very perceptive of how your child is reacting to the whole potty training process and do something that makes it easy for them to learn instead of it becoming something they are terrified of.
Lack of Confidence
As mentioned above, lack of confidence to the fact that a child is unable to meet his/her parent’s expectations is also a factor in why your child may be unable to learn the art of toilet training. It could be that you see that the child is making progress and then all of a sudden they may not be able to hold it in, or demand the use of their diaper. This too can be due to the lack of confidence in their success.
The easiest way to make your child confident is to concentrate on the little achievements they make. Celebrate and reward even the tiniest progress so that they get assured by the idea that they can do it, no matter how long it may seem.
Some children are embarrassed by the concept of having to go to the bathroom and doing the job. They feel uncomfortable with the attention or may be shy enough to think that the parent is being invasive in their privacy. The situation can worsen to the point where the thought of using the potty makes them so upset that they refuse to use it at all.
The best practice to adopt in such a situation is that you allow them to see how it is a natural process and nothing they do is embarrassing or uncomfortable. If for example, you have a baby girl who does not feel comfortable doing the poo-poo in front of her dad, you can make sure that it is the mom who does the training. Once the child has learned to go on their own, you can introduce the father in the equation so that your child is able to use the toilet just as comfortably with the father, as with the mother.
But these were only some of the reasons why children may not seem like they are ready to begin going to the bathroom on their own. Before we discuss the physical and emotional factors, here are some other things that may suggest that your child is either too young or still not willing to go to the toilet on their own:
- Cries, seems fearful or screams whenever it is suggested that they use the potty
- Keeps shaking their head or yelling a resounding no
- Stands right next to the toilet but refuses to get on it. Goes on the floor instead of showing any inclination to use the potty
- Does not want you to remove the diaper and seems comfortable even when it is soiled