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  • Writer's picturemommyincapetown

Potty Problems

We are currently in the potty-training period of parenting. It is honestly harder than I thought it would be. It’s glamorous, if I’m not talking about poop, then I’m looking at it and the best part is trying to convince a toddler that in fact, she does need to poo. My husband gets home and gets the daily update on our daughter’s bowel movements, see romance is not dead!

Our daughter Em is almost 3 years old and still in nappies. This seems to be a topic of conversation for everyone to participate, especially the well-meaning Tannies in Pick N Pay who like to give you tips and tricks on how she got all four of her children potty trained by their second Birthday. Potty training has been a hit and miss scenario our household. A few weeks before Em’s second birthday she started showing signs she was ready to use the potty and start the process of potty training. I must admit I was rather smug at the idea that my not yet two-year-old was getting potty trained. I rushed out to go get Em pull-up Nappies, panties and one of those fancy kids seats that clip onto the toilet.

Then poop hit the proverbial fan. Em got a really bad rash (the rash looked more like a chemical burn and had even her Doctor perplexed) from a food allergy which took us a long time to figure out and diagnose. This set her back both physically and mentally towards potty training.

Our daughter has recently started at playschool (creche). The school teachers are assisting with potty training and making it known that going “potty” is a normal bodily function. Kids being prone to peer pressure will start wanting to potty because their friends are doing it (I’m strangely praying that Emily will want to “fit in” with her classmates)

Not leaving this solely to her teachers, I have for the past few months been taking her to potty, offering the potty, showing her that mom goes on the big potty (remember what I said about the glamour of motherhood).

The transition from Nappies or diapers to using the potty is a big milestone and it’s important to make sure that the child is emotionally ready. I have come up with a list of Potty Problems that could be hindering the process:

1. Resistance to the potty. Does your child resist going to the potty? Resistance may mean that the time is not right. When it look like your child needs to urinate or have a bowel movement, take him to the potty. Keep your child seated on the potty for only a few minutes at a time, distract them with books or a fun “potty song”. Explain what you want to happen. Be casual, cheerful and don’t be too tense children pick up on stress and this may make them fearful and literally clam up. Which may lead to constipation. Don’t insist if the child protests, this will cause fear of the potty and bathroom breaks.

2. Accidents and bed wetting. Accidents happen. Treat accidents them lightly and don’t make a big fuss. Scolding a child who has wet their pants will often make children feel bad and may make toilet training take longer. Bed wetting Like most children, your own toddler probably will take a little longer to complete nap-time and nighttime toilet training. Encourage the use of the potty before going to bed and as soon as they wake up.

Don’t dismiss your child’s feelings. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know that accidents can happen to anyone. Always keep a change of underwear and clothing handy, especially at school or daycare in the event of an accident, you can quickly change the child, and no one will even know the accidental pants wetting occurred. When a child says they need to go, take them immediately.

3. Not recognize the need to urinate or forgets if they are distracted. this is normal and we are currently dealing with this issue.

Setting a reminder on your phone to take your littlie to the loo will be beneficial.

Em gets so enthralled in her toys or a game and forgets to go to the loo, landing up with wet pants, oops. Rewards seem to motivate Em to go use the loo. A sticker chart or a small treat of some kind will usually do the trick.

4. Your child tries to play with the feces, or Your child gets upset when they see their stools flushed away. Some children like to look at their feces. This is normal due to their inquisitive nature; some children think that it came from them and therefore is part of them – why are you throwing it away? Remind them that it’s not something to touch and remember to wash hands.

5. Toilet monsters and fears. Your child is afraid of being sucked into the toilet. Many children fear being sucked into the toilet if it's flushed while they're sitting on it. I let Em flush the toilet. She loves watching toilet paper go down the toilet. When your child has control of the situation, the scariness will disappear.

6. Peeing or pooping as soon as they have been taken off the toilet. This happens frequently during the potty training process. It takes time for your child to learn how to relax the muscles that control their bowel and bladder.

7. Your child asks for a diaper when a bowel movement is expected and stands in a special place to defecate. This indicates that your child is physically ready to potty train but not emotionally ready yet. When this happens consider taking them to the toilet and let them go in their nappy (diaper). They will get the idea that this is where I must do this and then this could become a habit.

8.Routine change can lead to regressions Anything that causes a child stress may encourage the return to nappies, Illness or new sibling, travel or moving home. Anything that removes the child from their normal routine could become a hurdle for a newly potty-trained tot. As soon as life is back to normal or the new normal, start encouraging your child to use the potty again.

Potty training is a big milestone but can be nerve wracking for both child and parent. Best advice I can give is to be consistent and not make it a huge issue, your child will learn to use the toilet it may just take a bit of time.

** Please note I am not a medical expert or a child psychologist. These are merely my thoughts and ideas. Please consult a physician for medical diagnosis.

I found these two articles which I found really helpful and insightful with regards to the Potty-Training issues I was experiencing and have added the links, so that you can go read their full articles.


Extracts taken from 12 common potty- training problems written by Karin A .Bilich – 5 potty training problems (and how to solve them) by Cheryl Embrett

All the best.

Potty Training Problems

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