We’ve been struggling with her total lack of willingness (not ability) in the potty training arena. To see her whole saga, check out this post.
|Image credit: sskie|
Some people will tell you that children should lead the way. Maybe they should but we don’t really ascribe to that. Seriously…the diaper thing works for them. They do their business without stopping what they are enjoying and then you, as the parent, scoop them up, clean up their mess, pamper their bottoms with powder, and send them off on their merry way. What have they got to lose in this?
I know you cannot force a child who is not physically ready, but also don’t underestimate their ability to learn new things and mimic what they are shown.
So many people told us to wait until our strong willed child was ready, as in, when she decided to tell us, “I’m going to start using the potty now.” If you have a strong willed child, you know that this won’t happen as long as they feel in control of their current routine. You have to push them along too.
But they are different from more passive children. You have to work around their rebellion to get to the core of things and get them to do what you want (and sometimes NEED) them to do.
So what did we do to potty train our strong willed child?
- DO offer the potty when you think they are ready. Even if they aren’t willing, it will put the idea in their mind. And you never know until you ask.
- DON’T force a child to sit on the potty. This will not make the potty or potty training pleasant for either of you.
- DO offer incentives if needed. Some children like stickers, candy, a special book or toy.
- DON’T give in to the tantrums if they want the special treat without the cooperation. And if you have a strong willed one – there will be tantrums.
- DO keep offering incentives until you find the one that works. And remember – just because it works now doesn’t mean it will work next week.
- DON’T punish a child for an accident. It happens. They are still learning and this is a whole new concept for them. Sometimes they do not realize how quickly it will be happening. Sometimes they get distracted by what they are doing and forget to tell you. And if you take two steps back – think of how hard it will be to get the process going again.
- DO have the child help clean up the accident, put their underwear away in the laundry and put on another pair themselves. Doing it for them does not instill the consequences (not punishment) of the accident.
- DON’T think that there is one method that works. Each child is different. Take all of the advice you can get and find out which of it works for you. If none of it works, it’s okay. Make up your own. There is no single solution.
- DO sing your child’s praises. Tell them how proud you are. Call friends (who understand this truimph) and relatives and let them tell him/her how awesome they are. Let them her you bragging to your friends. And whatever incentive was offered – make sure you follow through. Don’t make yourself into a liar.
- DON’T give up.
I promise, they will get it. The younger they are, they might need incentives. The older they are, you can use logic (to a 4 year old - you can’t go to the pool this summer if you aren’t potty trained so let’s start working now so you can swim this summer). You just have to find out what works for your child.
For us, it was the promise to wear a dress that was already hanging in her closet. Seriously…that’s all it took. It just took us about 8 months to figure that out.
What about you? Have any tips you can offer those who are struggling? Do you have a strong willed child?