Child's Temperament Affects Potty Training
Temperamental Differences, Not Parenting Style, May Explain Toilet Training Difficulties
WebMD News Archive
Understanding Potty Training Difficulties continued...
That way, parents can recognize the things that the child is
learning and doing right rather than focusing what they're not doing, and it
gives parents an opportunity to work on those items in a step-wise fashion.
For example, if a child asks for a pull-up it means he or she
is gaining control of their bowels, but may not be ready to use a toilet.
Schonwald says the parent may then suggest that the child take the pull-up and
take it to the bathroom to have a bowel movement but not use the toilet.
"That takes off a lot of the pressure," says Schonwald.
"Then when they start feeling more success and they do it in the bathroom;
it becomes a lot more manageable."
Strategies for Potty Training Success
Experts say these findings show that recognizing a child's
temperamental traits can help parents overcome common toilet training
Schonwald says children who have a hard time staying on the
toilet may have a problem with persistence and may need a special toilet time
activity to keep them interested.
Other children who don't want to go into the bathroom may be
reluctant to try new things, and the parent may have to find a way to make the
bathroom more welcoming, such as scheduling brief play times in the
Schum says it's also important for parents to remember that no
two children are alike, even within the same family, and what worked for one
child may not necessarily work for another.
In an editorial that accompanies the studies, David R.
Fleisher, MD, of the University of Missouri School of Medicine, says more
research is needed to learn about the many psychological, physiological, and
social factors that may affect potty training success.
But he says it's clear that toileting skills are acquired
through several distinct and simultaneous processes: toilet training and
education by the parents, and toilet learning by the child.
"From a child's point of view, 'poo-poos' can be nice or
scary," writes Fleisher. "Parents need to understand that toilet
training differs from training in most other areas of behavior because they
cannot oblige their child to perform bodily functions their way."