Friday, 10 August 2018

No Pressure Potty Learning (& What To Say To Your Child)

Benedict seemed to be regressing in his potty learning.

Choosing to poop in his underwear when he woke up from his nap instead of holding it a few minutes to go to the bathroom.
Becoming upset whenever I mentioned going to the potty, and then peeing in his underwear.

I was missing something. So, I decided to step back and listen to his cues, hear what he was communicating.

Was I Being No Pressure, Really?

Benedict had been in underwear for months, as we started back in March.
I still ask him if he would like a diaper or underwear every day, and without fail, he asks for underwear.

A few months ago he had been having almost no accidents and regularly pooping on the potty.
Now he was pooping in his underwear every day.

And honestly, this was not where I expected him to be this far into his potty learning journey.

Without meaning to, these expectations were colouring my attitude towards his progress, and therefore, how I was, even subconsciously, dealing with his accidents.

While I was meaning to treat his potty learning journey with as little pressure as possible (as I speak a little bit about in this first potty learning post), I was putting expectations on him, and as little people do, he was intuitively picking up on it.

This realization made me realize I needed to step back. To take away those unhealthy expectations.

And in the past few weeks of erasing my expectations and giving him back his freedom, I noticed Benedict taking so much more ownership, and having so much more confidence.

And, as I thought, fewer accidents.

Practically Speaking

Realizing the need to put even less pressure on Benedict, my focus has been more on make observations of what he is doing, rather than the mixture of praise and shame that comes so easily during the potty learning process. (We are trained to have such an unhealthy attitude towards potty learning, really.)

So here are some scenarios that happen regularly for us, and how I try to respond to them.

1. When I notice that he hasn't gone for a while and think he might need to:
I am going to the potty right now. Do you want to come and use your potty, as well?

If he doesn't want to come with me, I just say, "okay. If you don't have any pee in your body, that's okay. You don't have to come."

Sometimes he will then change his mind and come with me, sometimes he won't (and allowing him to make that mess and calmly walk through the process afterward is all a healthy part of learning)

2. When he is trying to get off the potty and I'm not sure he has completely finished (because sometimes he gets impatient and leaves halfway through) saying something like:
Did you put all the poop from your body into the potty?

And then trusting him to leave if he is confident that he has, even if I think he will potentially be pooping in his pants later on.

3. When he does poop on the potty, not celebrating but saying something like:
You just really wanted to put your poop in the potty, hey?
You knew there was poop in your body and you wanted to put it in the potty.

4. When he messes in his pants:
You were too busy playing and forgot to go to the potty, hey? Let's clean up your pants and get you new underwear so you can keep playing. 

Most of all, I am needing to give up control of the process. Give him freedom to decide if he does or doesn't need to go. Give him grace to make accidents.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. I would also love to hear any suggestions for posts you would like me to write about. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagram where I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer

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