Photograph by: Erik Benson
“Experts advise a few simple strategies for every parent to remember”
I studied Freud in High School and was fascinated by some of his theories of childhood development. One thing I read always stuck with me that Freud claimed that the mother’s reaction to a child’s defecation could make or break the personality. In other words, the term ‘Anal Retentive’ comes from when a child is made to feel ashamed of their bodily functions (usually by the mother) and therefore feels repressed and becomes obsessive and controlling.
This was a burdensome fear that I carried in the back of my mind through the toddler years with my children. On one hand I was glad to consider it and be aware of the importance of helping them to not feel ashamed about their bodily functions and on the other hand, because I tend to be somewhat obsessive (thanks, Mom) I doubted my methods every step of the way.
The experts advise a few simple strategies for every parent to remember:
- Praise is key-when your child does their business in the toilet, whoops, cheers and high fives are totally helpful in creating a chance that they will want to do it again.
- Bribes work. Yes, for potty training, a handful of a treat they love is an added incentive. Hell, I might even take a squat on that little pot if somebody would hand me chocolate after.
- Watch for signs. Your child will have specific tells. My kids would do a signature quick step dance move that always meant it was time to pee.
- When teaching boys to pee, accuracy and aim is key. Place something in the bowl like cheerios for target practice. Don’t you wish someone had taught this to your husband?
- Have patience above all else. Remember most kids are ready for the potty around two or two and a half, however it is important to not get too hung up on age. Remember no kids ends up going to college in diapers.