3 Reasons your Child is Fighting Potty Time
by: Michelle Swaney of The Potty School
Reason #1: The Need for Privacy
Maybe your kiddo has started to hide behind the couch in order to poop in his diaper. Maybe your little girl goes to her room. Maybe your child is so stealth at filling her diaper that you have no clue where s/he went, all you know is that "I have poop in my pants" look when they return.
Or, perhaps your child gets upset at you when sitting on the potty/toilet. Maybe you've been interpreting that as him not being ready, when in actuality it may just be a toddler's version of saying, "gimme a little privacy Momma!"
Often parents will attribute kids hiding to poop as a sign that they are not ready to potty train...but think about it this way. Your child feels the sensation and then does something about - chooses to do their business elsewhere...why not capitalize on that and instead of running to hide, run to the bathroom. Instead of pooping by squatting in a corner, teach them to put the pee/poo in the potty?
The "hiding" typically starts to happen around ages 12-18 months. If you don't potty train when this starts happening, your child will begin to develop their own pottying routine, and it will be a harder/more dramatic habit to break if you miss this window of opportunity when they are physically telling you that they can feel that they need to go.
Reason #2: Over-offering
My Grandmother was Italian...like really, really Italian. As in, came to America as a little girl at age 6 not knowing a lick of English, straight from Italy kind of Italian.
She'd answer the door jokingly "we don't want any", after we had already said who it was. The second you crossed the threshold into her, habitually 75-degree, home you had made the subconscious choice to be fed.
First it started with beverage choices. If you said no to that, it was a meal, no to that? Well, how about just a snack? If no to a snack, how about just a little dessert? ...the more you said no, the more she offered...and the more you wanted to hold your ground and keep saying no...even if the discussion lasted so long that you were in fact hungry...you just kept saying no for the principal of it! (ok...typically I caved at some point...but the woman could cook...).
How does this trip down memory lane apply to potty training? Well, the same sort of mentality exists with kids. If you ask them if they need to use the potty and they say no, and you re-word it, or you suggest it every 2 minutes...they're going to keep saying no...just because...well, because they already said no...not necessarily because they don't need to go.
Give your kiddo a bit of time and space. Don't ask if they need to go. Just take them.
(1) Tell them what you're observing ("I see your poop face starting", "it looks like you're doing the peepee dance")
(2) Take them - physically walk them over, or carry them (based on age, or comprehension)
(3) Tell them to ask/indicate next time that they need to go (whether it be sign language for your 10-month-old or grabbing your pant leg, or verbally telling you "Momma, potty!").
Reason #3: The Desire for Self-Mastery
I have heard so many stories about kids throwing temper tantrums in the bathroom, sprawled out on the floor kicking and screaming, refusing to potty and verbally telling a parent that.
When I've done consultations with such parents they typically tell the story as one of frustration and a child's defiance and stubbornness...but as I listen and ask questions, it's typically the reverse. It's typically that a child just wants to do something himself and it has absolutely nothing to do with defiance toward putting pee/poo in the potty at all...and the parent is the one letting their frustration escalate out of control.
Maybe it's that the child wanted to turn on the light, maybe she wanted to push down her pants by herself, or pick whether she went on the mini-potty or the "big potty", maybe she wanted to put the seat reducer on herself, maybe she wanted to pull out the stool on her own, or pick a different book...the options are endless...but in a moment like this it's typically the parent who is getting super frustrated and who just keeps repeating the same thing.
The parent says "get on the potty", then louder "get on the potty", then yelling "last chance, get on the potty yourself, or I'll put you there!" ...when in reality your sweet little would be happy to get on the potty...but she just really wanted to push down her pants on her own first and you did that for her.
If you can muster the patience in the moment - ask, and then help her go back to the moment when the frustration/fits started and recreate what was going on...then talk through it. At this point, you're 1-foot from the toilet, in the bathroom, so if she has an accident while role playing because she just couldn't hold it any longer, it's not the end of the world - you can just plop her on the toilet to finish her business and finish the role playing afterwards. But, you might be surprised how long most kids can "hold it" if they are in the middle of telling you things from their point of view...
Sometimes kids fight potty time, just because we aren't listening to what they already told us. "
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