How to Train a Child to Use a Pot

Readiness to use a pot depends on the age and on individual qualities of a child. Having heard plenty of different people, you will, probably, consider that to train the child to use a pot is a very hard work. Actually, everything is much easier. Getting older, children gain the ability to operate their intestine and bladder. The mother should watch closely her child expecting some signs of his/her readiness and encouraging him\her friendly to use a pot.
First of all, you should remember that different children’s intestine and bladder function occur differently. Besides, the relation of children to this type of training is also unequal.

Some Children’s Stools Happen Regularly, the Other’s Do not

Within the first year of life most of children almost do not feel functioning of their intestine. As soon as the rectum appears filled, faeces are pushed out so quickly that the mother does not manage to notice this.

Some children have the first (or the only) stool a day regularly in few minutes after the breakfast. The full stomach forces to operate the intestine, especially after a long night rest. It is quite easy to “seize” this moment. But that does not mean that you have trained your child to use a pot. During the first year of life he/she almost does not understand what is happening. Meanwhile, you are training not your child but yourself. The child only got used to the pot.

The other children have stools once or several times a day at different time. If the child defecates irregularly, it is useless to try training him\her to use the pot during the first year of life. You will have to put him/her on the pot so often and for a long time that is most likely that he/she will only become angry and resist this training purposely.

The Second Year

During the second year of life, the child acquires new features which will help his/her mother very much to train to use the pot. At this age, the child realizes that he/she loves his/her mother so much, and he/she likes to give her pleasure. If the mother explains friendly to the child that she wants very much that he/she uses the pot, and she will praise him/her when it happens, the child will have a strong desire to learn to use the pot to please his/her mother. However, there are some factors that interfere this.

A Two-Year-Old Child is Distinguished by the Feeling of Property and Obstinacy

At the beginning of the second year of life, the child feels the fullness of rectum. He/she can restrain and push out faeces intentionally. When he/she sees faeces in the pot or on the floor (if there are no panties on him/her at this time), he/she starts to feel a proprietary relation towards this. He/she even is proud of this. He/she can even bring his/her mother to admire his/her “work”. He/she does not feel any disgust towards this deed yet. He/she can play with faeces or even taste them as he/she tries everything around.

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Many children, using the pot willingly for several months, suddenly change greatly the relation to it. That happens between their 12 and 18 months. Such child sits down obediently on the pot, but does nothing. As soon as he/she stands up from the pot, he/she dirties his/her panties or does this on the floor as though he/she has never been trained to use it. Usually it happens to stubborn children, more often with boys. A lot of things depend here on the mother’s behavior; it is necessary to encourage the child not to force him/her.

In the Second Half of the Second Year of Life Children Start to Use the Pot

Usually, children inform about this by any means saying a certain word or any sound which only the mother understands. Some children start to ask sitting on the pot before they are one and a half years old, others – only after being 2 years old.

Different factors define the age when the child starts to tell his/her mother that he wants to defecate or urinate in the pot, but each child does it differently. If the mother regularly seizes the moment when the child should be sat on the pot, he/she gradually adopts her concern about it. If the mother tactfully encourages the child to tell her when he/she wants to use the pot, he/she wishes her to please. But there are the children that have never been trained to use the pot, and, nevertheless, they start to tell their mother when they want to defecate or urinate. At the end of the second year of life, it is unpleasant to some children, when their panties become dirty or wet, or they start to disgust looking and smelling their faeces. If the mother constantly inspires the child that it is bad and unpleasant to piddle in the panties, the child also starts to think so. But in other cases when the mother never showed disgust to faeces, this feeling arises inside the child all the same.

When the 2 Years Old Child Aspires to Imitate

The aspiration of a two-year-old child to imitate everything sometimes plays a large role in the potty training. It happens as the child that has never been trained to use the pot, suddenly pays the attention to the fact that his/her brother or sister or friend uses the pot and demands to be put on it too. Often the child, having understood what the matter is, is full of enthusiasm and in 2 days he/she already urinates and defecates only in the pot. He/she can be so proud of his/her achievement that it can even bother you as he/she asks to sit on the pot every few minutes.

The final stage is an ability to carry out this procedure by the child himself/herself from the beginning to the end. Even, when the child constantly asks to sit him or her on the pot, he expects his/her mother to put off his/her panties and to help to sit him/her. You can consider that your child really uses the pot only when he/she learns to do everything from the beginning to end himself or herself (usually between 2 and 2 and a half years old). A lot of things depend on the mother’s encouragement. But till the age of 3, emergencies are possible from time to time: during a walk, outdoors or during the gastric frustration.

Relation of Parents to a Problem of the Potty Training

On the one hand, there are the parents who do not give great attention to the potty training. They prefer to begin it later whenever this is possible. It is not disgusting to them to change dirty nappies till 2 years old, and sometimes even longer. On the other hand, there are the parents who consider that for the development of child and the formation of his/her character purity is very important. They try to train the child to use the pot as soon as possible. It is extremely unpleasant to them to clean after the child, and they cannot suppress their irritation if their child dirties panties after 1 year old or one and a half. All of us, parents, to a greater or lesser extent belong to one of these types. Often the sources of our relation to this problem need to be looked for in our childhood. Most of people aspire to bring up their children the same as they have been brought up.

If Parents Are Afraid to Help Their Child

The problem of potty training began to be represented as an especially difficult problem in the light of the latest works of psychiatrists, psychologists and pediatricians.

Studying the reasons of the increased nervousness of adults and children, doctors came to the conclusion that too early and strict potty training, which was very popular earlier, resulted to the child becoming extremely stubborn or unduly caring of neatness. Pediatricians say that it was terrible for some mothers, who have been training their first child unsuccessfully and for a long time, to start this fight with the second child. But how amazed they were when being 2 years old the second child started to use the pot himself/herself. It gave hope to some psychiatrists to believe that if it was possible to convince parents not to apply too active efforts in this direction, probably, the children would be accustomed to use the pot themselves. But, unfortunately, this method did not bring desirable results to those parents who were against it in soul and tried to carry out the following recommendations of pediatricians, and to those parents who were afraid to “go too far” and did not encourage their child to use the pot.

Methods of Potty Training

I think there cannot be a unique correct method to train a child to use the pot. What is suitable for one child can be harmful to another. There can be the failures with any method. The main thing is to define your own relation to this problem, to find out how children react to this or that method to wait for the signs of readiness of the child to this type of training and then to use an encouragement method instead of punishment.

Some time ago parents used mainly one method. From the first months of the child’s life they moved up the pot when the child was defecating. But it was not possible to reach much by this. Many months have passed before the child understood what actually the matter was and started to participate voluntary in this procedure.

The main lack of such early attempts is that mother, as a rule, starts to pay too much attention to this problem and becomes more and more demanding; she forgets that the main thing is to cooperate with the child. I think it is more reasonable to give your child the right to make his/her own mind. Don’t become angry with him/her, it is better to wait while your child grows up and understands what is required from him or her, or, at least, while he or she, at least, starts to sit on his/her own.

Methods of Potty Training from the Second Half of the First Year of Life

If the child has regular defecations, parents usually start to put him/her on the pot between the 7th and 12th months. It is a reasonable method for those parents who aspire to teach the child to use the pot as soon as possible. At this age, the child is able to sit well and is able to operate partially with his/her lower part of body. If the child’s stools happen in 10 minutes after breakfast every day, the success is reached quickly and with less efforts. In this case, the child should not sit on the pot too long as children seldom have patience to do that. Certainly, it is only the very first stage of training as being one year old the child still understands badly what is required from him/her. He/she simply gets used to sit on the pot and associates the feelings caused by excrements with it. You can tell that it will prepare him/her for further training. But the following stools in the second half of the day this hardly happens at the same time; therefore, it is not necessary to “catch” this.

If the first stools of the child are still irregular, it is unreasonable to try to “catch” it at this age. If you put the child on the pot too often and for a too long time, it will make the child impatient and stubborn.

Method of Potty Training in the First Half of the Second Year

A considerable part of parents start to train their child to use the pot in the first half of the second year. The child is getting older and starts to notice various parts of body and their functioning.  He/she can notice urination and excrements. If the stools of the child happen regularly at the same time, he/she can be put on the pot for 5-10 minutes. When he/she makes something in the pot what he/she is expected to do, it will make some impression on him/her. The mother can increase his/her satisfaction with praises. Some weeks later, the child will be even more proud of his/her achievement. It is already almost a success. The child understands that he/she does what is necessary; and it is necessary to defecate and to urinate in the pot.

Patience Method

Many parents prefer to wait for the second half of the first year to encourage the child to use the pot, saying either a word or a sound for defecation. It seems to me, that it is the most suitable age for the child’s potty training. The parents are not required too many efforts; the child takes an initiative himself/herself and shows an interest concerning the pot. Some children at this age feel the completeness of rectum and bladder so clearly that they start to ask to sit on the pot without any reminders and arrangements.

If the stools are regular, for example, they happen after breakfast, it is possible to start to make your child sit on the pot for a short time, but I recommend starting not earlier than he/she is one and a half years old. The mother should show pleasure and praise her child when he/she manages to defecate or urinate in the pot and to ask him/her to inform next time when he/she wants to defecate or urinate again. The matter is that at this age the child will understand more quickly what he/she is required.

If dirty panties are unpleasant or even disgusting to the child, the mother can explain to him/her that if he/she asks to urinate and defecate in the pot, his/her panties will remain dry and pure and the same happens to adults.

In case the child shows neither interest nor disgust to dirty panties at the end of the second year, the mother can leave him/her without panties (but only in the room where there is no carpet), and he/she will understand what actually occurs. Then, the mother can suggest asking to sit on the pot next time.

You should encourage the child to ask to use the pot gradually and tenderly (do not do it too vigorously). Some weeks usually pass before the child understands what he/she is required. At first, he or she will be able to tell his/her mother after he/she has dirtied his/her panties. It is already a significant progress, though parents do not think so. It is necessary to praise the child and ask him/her to tell it the next time again.

The mother should stay calm and optimistic by all means. She can tell the child that both the father and brothers, sisters and friends, all use the toilet, he/she gets older every day, and it is pleasant to go in dry and pure panties. I don’t want to tell what is necessary to repeat this sermon every day from the beginning to the end, it is necessary to remind of it only from time to time. All this demands the enormous patience. In some days, the mother will become irritated because of the absence of visible progress. If you are convinced that your efforts are vain, leave them for some days or weeks. Avoid irritation and despair. Try not to shame and not to punish the child for dirty panties. Remember that if the method of encouragement does not help, the punishment will only worsen this business.

If the Child Refuses

If the child refuses to use the pot within several weeks and if his/her resistance is growing, he/she can restrain defecation not only sitting on the pot but also throughout the day if it is possible. This type of stool detention is called psychological. It seldom harms an organism of the child and shows a condition of his/her nervous system.

Sometimes it is possible to soften such resistance, if the mother is near the child, she is talking tenderly, occasionally reminding him/her what he/she should do in the pot. In other words, you can break his/her persistence with jokes and care more quickly. If in few minutes he/she dirties his or her panties or the floor, you, of course, become angry. But if you remind yourself that, thus, the child shows his/her independence, you, possibly, can treat it with humor. The best approach to the child in such situation is to tell him/her that,”Tomorrow you, maybe, will do it in a pot, as a big boy/girl”. Be not surprised, if resistance of the child lasts for some weeks. Certainly, there is no sense to say the same speech every day. It is best of all to leave any attempts for some time, and then to try again when you guess that he/she becomes more mature and flexible.

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