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Conflicts with Toilet Learning

Do you ever end up having a battle with your child over them using the bathroom? Then this is the right blog post for you. Working with your child to help them learn healthy habits regarding toilet learning can be difficult. Below are some tips of what to do when a child refuses to go to the bathroom.

  • Avoid a power struggle.
  • Always give a choice and make both options work for you.  For example, don’t say “Do you want to go to the bathroom or not?” This gives them the option to not go which doesn’t work for you.
    • Rather, ask “Do you want to go now or in 5 minutes?  Do you want to go there by yourself or do I need to help you?”
  • Remember, you cannot make a child use the toilet.
  • Make it fun for the children.  “Hey would you like to look at a special book on the way to the toilet?”  Use something imaginative “Hmmm, I wonder if we will see animals on our way to the toilet?  I wonder what kind?”  Be creative.  As long as it is developmentally appropriate, do it!
  • If a child refuses to go, explain the logical consequence.  “I know you really love that dress you are wearing so we should go to the toilet now to avoid getting pee/poop on your dress.”
  • If the child still refuses, ask another caregiver to step in.  Sometimes, a different person is the solution in that moment.
  • You must change a child’s diapers even if they refuse as they can get a bad rash.  Explain to the child that you will do it as fast as you can.  Empathize and explain the process.  Validate their emotion.  You can diaper them in another position if needed.

Remember to communicate with your child throughout the process. If you are feeling frustrated, you can explain that. Holding in your emotions or not explaining to them what you are doing often is what leads to conflicts and struggles.