Potty Training from A Child's Perspective

Have you really stopped and thought about potty training from a child's perspective?

Imagine yourself to be a child. At about the average age of 12-18 months, you begin to associate the feeling of fullness with the elimination that follows.

(See Typical Timetable or Stage(s) for Child Development that supports Potty Training and Toilet Training).

  1. You display this association by squatting, grunting, pulling at your pants, jumping up and down or whimpering. Your parents think that your behavior is cute and may mention that you are pooping or peeing. As time goes by - you get used to it and so do your parents.
  2. Then one day when your are about 30 months old, your mom starts talking to you about using the potty. You are not sure about this - but she makes it sound like it is going to be a lot of fun.
  3. You are getting a new doll and you are going to have a party when you go potty (Using Potty Train in One Day Method in this example - See the 5 different potty training methods).
  4. Okay - this is not so bad - actually it is sounding good - you are starting to get excited.
  5. Then comes the day when you are now a big kid. You get to wear big boy pants and pee in the potty like the doll. Okay - that doesn't seem so bad. Oops, you gotta go - you just went in my pants.
  6. Your mom changes you and makes you practice going to the potty. You know you can do this! You will do this. You will make your mom proud of you.
  7. Mom is showing you how the doll can go potty and oh you think you need to go - oh what do you have to do again?
  8. You tell your Mom that you need to go....oh some came out - but mom helps you and you go in the potty. Mom is so proud of You. You are proud of yourself.
  9. Okay - it is time for your nap. Whew what a busy day it has been. You get up from the nap and now you have the feeling that you have to go potty. Where is the potty?
  10. You remember, it is in the kitchen - you decide to go to it - oh what is that? - it is your toy car that you have been looking for. You love this car. Oh no, what just happened?

From a child's perspective potty training is a big change in their life. They have to learn to adapt to this change. Up until now with diapers, they could go potty whenever and where ever they were.

They did not have to stop playing or stop watching TV. They did not even have to acknowledge the feeling of fullness - because it just did not matter.

Now, all of a sudden, you want them to start using the potty. In order for them to use the potty, they have to stop and acknowledge that feeling of fullness in their minds. Then, they have to control their urge to go and work out a plan to go find the potty, execute the plan i.e. find the potty, pull their pants down, sit on the potty and then relax their sphincter muscle so that they can eliminate.

This is a lot of little dots that all have to come together for your child before s/he will be using the potty consistently.

Your job as a parent is to teach your child all the little steps and help him put all the step together so that they will be going potty all the time. After all, you did this with the other developmental skills - such as crawling, walking and talking.

Potty training is just another developmental skill that your child will accomplish in time when s/he is ready. How do you know if your child is ready? Check out How to Potty Train a Toddler for more information.

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