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How To Give Your Child Control When Potty Training


Toddlers at the potty training age are also at an age where they want to cultivate independence and control over their bodies, routine, and well EVERYTHING. This can cause some resistance when we ask them to do ANYTHING that they don’t think is their idea.


As frustrating as this stage is, it is actually a very important part of their development and connection with a healthy sense of autonomy and ability to both set boundaries with you, others, and themselves. Giving our kiddos a healthy amount of “control” will help them learn how to deal with decision-making while they are young.


During potty training, a lot of the resistance or pushback you might experience comes as a result of your kiddo trying to maintain control. Let's be honest - peeing and pooping is one thing they have full control over! While there are things you can do to encourage it, you certainly can't force them to do it!


The best way to ensure an easier experience is to allow them to feel a certain level of control over the situation so they feel like potty training is something you are doing WITH them instead of TO them. We can achieve this by rewording our statements and questions, making the experience seem fun instead of daunting, and help them to feel empowered so that they really WANT to be a big boy/girl and go potty on the toilet all by themselves!


Here are some options:

  • Allow them to choose their own supplies. Picking out undies, a potty chair or seat insert, flushable wipes, or even new bathroom decor can help your kiddo feel involved in the process!

  • Let them decide where the potty should go! Give them a choice of two options that are acceptable to you. Take it a step further and let them decorate the potty with stickers or markers for an added level of ownership.

  • Count down the days to no more diapers. This is one of my fave tips to help your little one feel involved in the upcoming changes! X off days on the calendar or make a paper chain and tear off a loop each day for the course of about a week so they can mentally prepare for saying goodbye to diapers!

  • Use a potty watch. Instead of constantly asking or prompting, a potty watch can be a great way to give your child some independence and responsibility when it comes time to use the potty. (Make sure that you’re a few days into the potty training process so that you know your kiddos' regular bathroom routine before jumping in and using a potty watch!)

When we offer our kiddos a sense of control over their own body, and actions we are allowing them the opportunity to independently self-initiate going pee and poop in the potty which is our ultimate goal! The more quickly we can get to this end goal, the better!


Offering choices will allow our children to consciously think about what decision they want to make, and once they’ve decided, they’ll feel as if they came up with the idea all on their own! For example, “I can see that you have to go potty by the way you are holding yourself and dancing, would you like to go potty in mommy’s bathroom or in the hallway bathroom?”. This will sound much more appealing than, “You need to go potty her, now, let’s go!”.


Every child is different, and every family is different! Do what is best for you and for your family! If you need some extra help, I offer excellent online courses as well as consultation services!


Happy pottying!


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