Potty training is a time of joy and excitement – just kidding! Potty training problems are a huge pain in the butt (when you take into consideration the constipation angle, it’s a literal pain in the butt). Children have minds of their own. And some are just not down with the doo-doo. This is especially true if your child has one of the four “potty resistant” personalities that haunt parents (and stain underwear). But these personalities aren’t written in stone: there are solutions to the stubborn!
Before we get to that, remember that any toddler of any personality type can have a lapse in potty training. Even doing something like going on vacation can interrupt a regularly scheduled bathroom break. When this happens, it’s important to take accidents as they come and make sure they’re not made into a big deal.
And now back to the four “potty resistant” personalities. These personalities are based on Dr. Ari Brown, M.D.’s observation. She’s a Pediatrician and author of Baby 411 and Toddler 411.
The Absent-Minded Professor:
The Absent-Minded Professor is a child who simply forgets to listen to their body. These are kids who are enjoying their lives and don’t care when nature comes knocking: they don’t answer her call no matter the urgency. So, how do moms and dads get them to turn their attention to the toilet? A kitchen timer or a stopwatch works well. Set it regularly and put your child on the toilet whenever it goes off. This helps remind the Absent-Minded Professor that there’s things to “do-do.”
The Terrified Toddler:
From alligators in the sewer to pipe monsters living inside the toilet, the potty is scary for some. The Terrified Toddler is so scared, in fact, that they’ll avoid the toilet whenever possible. The best way to thwart this fear is to use creativity as your ally. Why does the toilet flush so loudly? Because that scares away the pipe monster and keeps the potty safe!
The Control Freak:
The Control Freak is the type of child who won’t use the potty simply because their parents tell them to. These children resist because they want to get their way (and their way is pooping in their pants where it’s nice and convenient). Yet there are tricks to training the stubborn: they like control so give it to them! Let them lead the potty training charge and, importantly, let them clean up their own accidents too.
Children adopt The Withholder persona when they experience a painful bowel movement or uncomfortable urination. This unpleasantness leaves them afraid to use the bathroom – it hurt once, so they assume that it will hurt again. For these kids, ask a doctor for a gentle laxative or high-fiber recommendations. A diet that helps perpetuate poop will make the potty be a more comfortable experience.
If your child is one of those described above, potty training might be more aggravating than usual. But, remember, patience is a virtue – they’ll get there eventually. Potty training doesn’t take forever, even though at times it feels as if it does.