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Potty Training

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
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