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Potty Training Is Driving Me Crazy

25 October, 2021
Q My 3-year-old daughter will not potty-trained. She knows how to do it, but she will not do it. We have been working with her for over a year and a half and have had no luck. We have tried treats and stickers to encourage her, but she is not interested. Any other suggestions as to how to handle this?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Wearing a diaper encourages children to become accustomed to the convenience of being able to relieve themselves spontaneously, and to being wet or dirty.

•By taking off the diaper for an increasing length of time each day, your child can separate her body from the product, actually see the waste product. Yes, it may seem inconvenient to clean up afterwards, but if you enjoin your child to help clean up and put the feces where they should be at that stage of development (in the potty).

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•Gradually, with some gentle coaxing and guidance from you, your daughter will learn what she should do.


Answer by Hwaa Irfan 

As-salamu `alaykum sister,

Children at this age do not feel separated from parents as such, meaning that children do not necessarily know their own minds and assume that you, as the parents, think and feel as they think and feel.

So, if you cannot understand what they understand, this can create a feeling of frustration and confusion. Children may not feel independent enough to do things on their own, particularly willfully controlling bodily actions when it is still involuntary on their part.

Some mothers take the process in stages, first taking off the diaper and always making sure the potty is visible. By taking off the diaper, the skin gets aired and the child slowly grows accustomed to the feeling of being without a diaper.

It may be interesting to note that in those families where a diaper is not a part of childcare, children toilet-train sooner. But this is when the mother is not obliged to be anywhere else and her time is free for the child.

Wearing a diaper encourages children to become accustomed to the convenience of being able to relieve themselves spontaneously, and to being wet or dirty.

By taking off the diaper for an increasing length of time each day, your child can separate her body from the product, actually see the waste product. Yes, it may seem inconvenient to clean up afterwards, but if you enjoin your child to help clean up and put the feces where they should be at that stage of development (in the potty), then gradually, with some gentle coaxing and guidance from you, your daughter will learn what she should do.

How-Potty-Train-Older-Child

This way, the tension is taken out of potty training and resistance from your daughter to what you want her to do is lessened.At the same time, she will grow increasingly aware of the function of her body and will be able to learn to tell beforehand when she wants to go to the toilet or sit on the potty.

When your daughter is ready to do this, she will tell you. You can help this along by asking if she wants to urinate or defecate. It can be trial and error on the part of your child because she is still learning about what her body wants to do.

There will be times when she will sit on the potty and nothing will happen, but that is just a part of your child’s learning process, a process you must allow for if your child is going to gain control over her bladder and rectum.

As for offering sweets and so on, all your child is learning is that if she does not do anything, she will get a treat. The reward should be the achievement of doing something by herself, sitting on the potty, using the potty, and finally being free of diapers.

If you feel good about the small achievements and your child knows that you feel that she has achieved something wonderful, then your child will want to go a step further, in sha’ Allah.

Not only are you offering your child greater mobility, but let your child understand that there is a lot more going on in her little environment that she is missing out on because she is being slowed down by having to waddle along.

Most importantly, be observant and receptive to your child’s needs, so if the whole process takes longer, it takes longer, but if all goes to plan, you both will have an understanding that can go a long way into other fields in your child’s development, in sha’ Allah.

Answer by Soha El-saman

Your problem is very much related to your child’s behavior; her perception of and her relationship with her parents at this very early stage of her life.

From birth, infants get into routine of feeding, sleeping, and bathing. They respond to their bodily needs and interaction with their mothers in similar ways. So, once you get the order and routine of different activities straight with your children, they will follow.

Children try their parents. Based on parents’ persistence and consistency in their behavior, children react either positively or negatively.

What this means in real life terms is that when you ask your child to do something and set the rules for it, you have to be positive in your approach and never back off or show signs of retreating from your position, as this may give your children mixed signals and they will simply not adhere to your will any longer.

The majority of children are stubborn and will try to see how flexible you are in your stand, be kind but firm.

When children go to nursery or to preschool, the first days in the new environment are difficult and there are many clashes of wills between the teacher and the children until children adjust to their teacher’s way and the school regulations.

You will most likely find the child’s behavior differs between school and home, as there are different characters with different sets of rules that they have to deal with. I am drawing on this example to help you understand that children adjust to mentors and rules. They always start trying to avoid rules and routines but eventually give in.

When you ask your daughter to do something, including the potty training, you have to be firm and strict with her. That does not mean to punish her or harm her, but rather to be consistent and persistent in your orders. You can try the following list of tips with her

•Praise her brother, in her presence, for his adherence to the rules and for learning to use the potty early.

•If she wets herself, show signs of disgust and tell her that she will not be allowed to touch any toys (especially the toys she loves) as the bad smell may be transferred to them.

•Try not to change her immediately she offends (don’t leave her too late though, as this may have bad effects on her skin), to show that you are not happy with what she is doing.

•Create a flip chart for the potty, put XX on it when she offends and take away things she likes accordingly.

•My advice to you is that you must try all possible solutions with her until something clicks, but as we said, be consistent in your actions with her.

At the end, I wish you all the best and pray to Allah to reward you for your patience.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.