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5 Common Potty Training Problems and How to Solve Them


Potty training problems come in all shapes and forms. However, whether your child is afraid of the potty or just unwilling to start training, each problem needs to be addressed to have your training efforts be successful. Below are five common potty training problems and how to manage these problems.

1. Fear of the Potty

Perhaps the most common toilet training problem, fear of the potty keeps many children away from the bathroom. When you think about their fear, it's not unreasonable; a potty is loud, filled with water and operates in a way they cannot understand.

To overcome this problem, discuss with your child why he is afraid of the potty. This conversation should occur over several days and be light. Do not say that your child is being unreasonable for being afraid of the potty. Instead, counter your child's fear with a fact about the potty. If, for example, your child is afraid of the potty's noise, tell him that you were once afraid too, but that over time the noise becomes quieter. Maybe consider flushing the potty several times together.

2. Refusal to Tell You When It's Time to Go

Despite being told to do so, many children refuse to tell their parents when they need to go to the potty. Of course, learning when they need to go is part of training, but if after a few weeks of training your child still is not telling you that he needs to use the potty, then this might be the problem. To overcome this, start announcing when you need to go to the potty. It might sound ridiculous and you might not even need to go, but doing so will show your child that it's okay to let you know when he needs to go.

3. Refusal to Stop Going in a Diaper

Many parents make the mistake of letting their child remain in pull-ups or regular diapers during toilet training. This decision confuses a child because he is still able to urinate in places other than a toilet. To eliminate this problem, stop using diapers. This may mean that your child has accidents, but the discomfort of an accident will soon have your child telling you when he needs to use the bathroom.

4. Holding Too Long

To avoid using the toilet, many children hold their bladders for too long. Not only is this counterproductive to training, but it can also cause the child to develop a bladder infection. Create a potty schedule where your child has to sit on the potty for five minutes every two hours and 30 minutes after every meal. Use a timer to keep track of the schedule. Award your child for following the schedule (if need be).

5. The Failure of Rewards

Giving a toilet training child a reward for using the potty is an ancient training technique, but not one that works for every child. The failure of rewards does not mean that potty training will be more difficult, just that you need to change tactics. Do not continue to give rewards if they are not helpful. Sometimes, a child just needs a schedule rather than a reward. Make the schedule something that is enforceable; stick to the schedule with calm authority and refuse to give in to tantrums. Many times, this method will make training faster and easier.

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