For many parents, helping their child become potty trained is a learning experience that is both challenging and fun. Of course, accidents happen, but parents are able to share the joy with their child as he or she successfully uses the restroom and cheers “I did it!” However, many parents are experiencing the exact opposite.
Does your child have frequent accidents at home or at school? Do you find that both you and your child are getting frustrated with potty training? Elimination disorders occur in children who have problems going to the bathroom (e.g., defecating and urinating). Your child may have a problem if this behavior occurs repeatedly for longer than three months, especially if the child is over the age of 5. Children who have elimination difficulties often show symptoms of anxiety and depression due to the embarrassment of accidents, and isolation from friends (e.g., not feeling comfortable having sleepovers because of bedwetting).
The good news is that you are not alone in your experience and help is available! I have had the honor of helping frustrated parents help their children successfully become potty trained. While every child is unique and requires a tailored potty training program to fit his or her needs, there are a few basic tips I use as a rule of thumb:
• Patience, patience, patience! You probably already know that patience is important to have, yet it is one of the first things that parents forget when things get messy. Encourage your child to help you clean up (e.g., ask them to take their soiled garments to the laundry room etc.)
• Read books together about potty training- One of my favorites is “Diapers Are Not Forever” by Elizabeth Verdick.
• Don’t go overboard with rewards- Stickers and occasional candy are fun and affordable rewards. You don’t have to promise you child a trip to Disney World for successfully using the potty!
Whether you child is 2 or 7 years old, by using patience and a structured regimen, your child can be well on his or her way to conquering potty training! Contact me today to come up with a tailored plan specifically for your child!
-Chelsea Moodie, M.S., APC, NCC