Having Difficulty Potty Training?

You are not Alone!

Here is why you might be having difficulty potty training your older child and 3 practical things you can do to finally ditch the diapers.

As children get to 3, 4 and 5 years of age and older, potty training tends to become more of an issue for parents. The more children develop, the more conscious they become of their bodies and themselves in general. That consciousness of self results in desires to be independent and in control of what they do.

By the time you are potty training 4 year old you have most likely made some attempts at getting out of diapers. Unless there are some medical reasons to further delay potty training its definitely time to review your tactics.

The 3 Reasons Parents Have Difficulty Potty Training

  1. The Power Struggle
  2. Need for Independence
  3. Constant Potty Reminders

While for most parents having an independent child is fulfilling, for others it can be an issue, especially as it relates to things like the fact that their older child isn’t yet potty trained. In some cases, power struggles ensue when parents attempt to potty train their older child. The first mission for deducing what's hindering your child's progress with potty training is to identify if there is actually a power struggle. If there is, your course of action would need to be relevant to the situation.

Difficult Potty Training: The Power Struggle

Essentially, a power struggle is a battle a child has with a parent for control over their own body and activities. The child feels like they shouldn’t be encouraged or "pushed" to do anything without their own willingness. Older kids build resistance to excessive reminders to sit on the toilet to eliminate. These behavioral delays are often difficult for parents to deal with, especially when the child already knows what's expected for potty usage and simply refuses to do it.

If you are going through something like this for your older child, you could look into providing incentives for helping your little one overcome the resistance to potty. Incentives usually give children a reason to leave a power struggle, because they realize that the parents are rewarding them for independent actions. In many cases, it results in a change of mindset for the child.

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Difficulty Potty Training: Independence

Tell the child that what they eliminate belongs to their body, and nobody else's, and as such you can't determine when or where they should actually have a bowel movement. The child usually appreciates your effort to give them independence and will eventually take responsibility for having bowel movements on the toilet as opposed to in their underwear or diapers.

CEASE ALL POTTY REMINDERS while potty training 4 year old.

This is an Absolute MUST DO. Reminders to use the potty are usually what keep a power struggle going. Kids over 3 years start to develop independence and knowledge of self, and therefore take offense to being reminded to use the potty. Additionally, parents should already know that a 4 year old no longer needs reminders because of their elevated level of consciousness compared to younger ages.

What parents need to remember is that the majority of older children despise wetting themselves. Tied in with this is that 4 year olds consider themselves "big boys" or "big girls", and as such they shouldn’t be wearing diapers. That's for babies! Therefore, the agreement that needs to exist between you and your older child is that you'll allow them to wear regular underwear to preschool if they desist from wetting themselves. On the flip side, you will put them in diapers when going to school if they can't control their movements. In most cases, an independent, self-conscious child will quickly develop potty usage skills so he continues to feel like a big boy amongst peers.

These are some of the best ways to potty train an older child, who already knows what to do but is just resistant to doing it. At the end of the day, you need to maintain psychological control without taking away your child's independence.

Return from difficulty potty training to Child Potty Training.

Return to Little Darling Potty Training home page

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