Potty Training Resistance

Potty Training Resistance

Why do Children Resist Potty Training

Each child is an individual and therefore each child will learn to potty train in their own way and will also have their own reason for resisting. Here are some general ideas that may help you figure out why your child is resisting.

Confusion about the toilet training process or about what is expected from the child.

Confusion around the toilet training process could be as simple as the child is not connecting all the dots that are required to successfully go on the potty, so since s/he does not understand, s/he does not want to try and will therefore resist.

Confusion around the expectations occur when the child is getting mixed messages from the parent. Consistent is the key. Create reasonable expectations according to your child's abilities, then express them clearly and frequently and follow through on what you say.

Sometimes, as parents we don't always think about or know all the things that could occur and therefore when unexpected thing occur, the child could be confused as well. It could be things such a painful BM because of constipation on the potty and now the child associates the pain with the potty and will resist doing BMs in the potty.

Curiosity about what will happen when they resist

A toddler could just be testing the waters to see what will happen - they will simply resist to solicit your reaction. This gives them information on how far they can push and what their boundaries are.

Anxiety or fear about the process of elimination, or fear of the potty or the toilet.

A child could develop fear or anxiety about the process of elimination if for some reason the experience has been negative in some way. This could be from having a pain while urinating because of skin irritation or a painful BM from being constipated.

If the child has had a negative experience with a potty or a toilet seat, s/he could become afraid of using that potty or toilet seat.

Independence and control issues that make it hard for him/her to satisfy your wishes at this time

One of the child development stages that a toddler goes through is the desire to master one's own body and environment. You will hear toddlers say "I can do it" and "I am a big boy/girl now" are indications of the desire towards independence.

So, if your toddler happens to be in this stage, s/he may not want to satisfy your wishes at this time and will want to demonstrate to you that indeed s/he is an independent human being and in control of him/herself!

Too much pressure to perform

A parent who constantly ask the toddler is s/he need to go potty may spark resistance in the toddler, especially if s/he happens to be in an independent phase.

Inappropriate potty training or toilet training technique that does not suit the child personality or learning style

Your potty training technique has to suit your child's personality and learning style. For example if you select the "Practice until you get it right method" where you have defined a potty schedule for your child who is extremely independent and a self starter, you may find yourself in a power struggle.

If you have a child that tends to day dream and is easily distracted, s/he may need you to set up a schedule and remind him/her to go and use the potty.

Other examples include - asking a shy child to use potty in the kitchen or family room - around a lot of people. Shutting the bathroom door on a sociable toddler. Asking a physically active child to sit on the potty for more than 3-5 minutes at a time.

Physical pain cause by an infection or constipation

It is human nature to avoid pain, so if your toddler is experience pain when urinating because of an infection or experiencing painful BM because of constipation, you child will avoid going potty until s/he can no longer hold it and ends up having accidents.

Parents may overlook physical or medical reasons for resisting potty training. Observe you child behavior and if you see any signs of skin irritation or urinary tract infection, consult with your child's pediatrician.

Need more potty training tips and advice on potty training problems or just general advice, check out all of our Potty Training Articles!

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