Accidents are something that all parents must learn to endure during the potty training years. Guest parenting expert Laura Jana, MD, observes that the child who makes it from diapers to diaper-free without the occasional poop in the underwear or urine on the living room floor is truly rare.
So how should you handle potty accidents? Jana offers a few key potty training principles for parents:
- Don’t belittle or demean your child. This rule should go for all caregivers, including grandparents and babysitters.
- Have realistic expectations. If your child is having constant accidents, he just may not be ready to train yet.
- Kids may have more accidents if they’re struggling with something -- like anxiety about a move, a divorce, a new sibling -- or physical problems like constipation or a urinary tract infection. Ask your pediatrician if you suspect such an issue.
- If you make potty training a battle of wills, guess who’s going to lose? Figure out how to enlist your child’s cooperation rather than fighting over control. Remember that when you’re 2 or 3 years old, you don’t get to control much -- but you can decide where you put your poop!
The overall guiding principle, Jana says, is to stay calm and matter-of-fact when accidents happen. Always be sure to acknowledge your child’s efforts -- even if they didn’t quite make it to the potty this time. This, too, will pass!
How do you react when your child has a potty training accident? Offer your tips and strategies to the community.