When your child has a potty training problem it often manifests as a particular behaviour. But the key to resolving the behaviour is to look below the surface at what’s happening underneath
We find it helpful to explain this with an iceberg analogy.
What you think is the problem – perhaps resistance, refusal, tantrums, hiding, multiple accidents, denial of needs, pooping in pants… all of these behaviours are actually symptoms of what’s really going on underneath. Treating the symptom alone isn’t enough.
When we uncover the underlying issue, we can work on resolving not only the undesired behaviour (or symptom) but also the deep-rooted issue beneath it. If you don’t resolve that underlying issue, it will likely continue to manifest in other behavioural issues.
What are the underlying issues?
They fall into three categories:
1. Gap in learning
2. Behavioural problem
3. Emotional issues.
Then, within these are further subcategories like a lack of consistency, fear, needing more control, going through a major life change, or temperament traits.
What this tells us is that potty training cannot always be a one size fits all approach and gimmicks and one-size fits all methods may work for some children but if you run into a persistent, deep-rooted problem these methods will fail.
This is where creative thinking to reach your child on their level, through play, games, stories and gentle teaching really work wonders. This therapeutic approach is about tapping into internal drivers – the things that really make your children tick – as a way to engage your child and get them wanting to cooperate. To bring out their natural love of learning and desire to succeed.
When you, as a parent, can start to consider the problem you are seeing holistically, you can not only solve the behavioural problem you are presented with (the superficial symptom) but truly understand what is fuelling it underneath. This gentle method of parenting is about looking at the child in the context of their lives, and themselves, and considering what barriers to success they may be facing.
So what does this look like?
Perhaps your child has a learning gap that is making them fearful and needs help to build their skills, more opportunities to practise them or empowerment to feel in control of their own body.
Perhaps they need reassurance and empathy to improve their self-esteem and confidence, rather than shame or scolding.
Perhaps you can help them overcome a temperament challenge that they will likely come across again whilst working towards another milestone and in doing so you can better understand and connect with your child along the way.
Our role as parents is to help bend the world to our children’s favour when we can, and teach them when to bend when we can’t. The major milestone of potty training is an excellent opportunity to start this.
If you would like to learn a potty training method that can be customised to suit your unique child’s temperament, access our Advanced Potty Training Course.