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This natural and healthy desire for control can lead to power struggles, as children quickly figure out that one way to feel in charge is by refusing to do something they know their parent wants them to do. Toilet training is particularly ripe for power struggles because it is so tied up with toddlers wanting to have control over their own bodies. Think of it as just another skill you are helping your child learn. Refusing to do it becomes a very powerful way for your child to feel in control.

The more emotional you are, the more it shows your child how much it matters to you that he use the potty. It is also very important not to force your child to use the potty because it can cause intense power struggles. These power struggles sometimes lead to children trying to regain control over their bodies by withholding urine or bowel movements.

This can create physical problems, like constipation. So if you are starting to see power struggles developing over potty training, it might help to take the pressure off. Stop talking about potty training or doing anything about it for a little while, until your child shows signs of readiness and interest again. Many parents wonder about offering rewards for using the potty—a sticker, an extra sweet, or a little toy every time their child is successful on the toilet.

The other risk is that the use of rewards for toileting can lead children to expect rewards for doing almost anything—finishing a meal, brushing teeth, etc. Occasionally, children have physical issues that make potty training more difficult, so a check-up is always a good idea. You may also want to sit down with a child development specialist who can help you figure out what the challenges around potty training might be for your individual child and can help you identify toilet learning strategies that might be more successful.

Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, Toilet learning: Anticipatory guidance with a child-oriented approach. Available online. All About Learning to Use the Toilet.

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From Baby to Big Kid: Month Potty training dolls can also be very helpful. Most kids love them.

Potty training Chinese style: With a diaper-free child, look for potted plants -

And once you get a potty, be sure that your child's teddy bear gets to sit on it regularly. Start talking about what you're doing in the bathroom. Let your child watch. Boys will benefit by watching other boys or their father use the toilet. Slightly older cousins or friends who are willing to use the bathroom in front of your toddler can be invaluable in modeling.

For boys, you might make a game of it by putting a small bulls-eye in the toilet for them to aim at. That way, kids can practice sitting whenever they want, including while they keep you company in the bathroom. Just encourage your child to sit, fully clothed, on his potty.

How to Potty Train a Stubborn Toddler

It builds muscle memory for your child to get on and off the potty, and you want her to feel comfortable sitting there. Make sitting on the toilet festive and fun, well before she even thinks about peeing in it. For instance, be sure there is a stash of books next to the potty. Sing silly songs or give special cheers each time she gets on and off the potty.

But never force your child to sit on the potty, or to stay there. Sometimes he will say yes, and sometimes No. Don't make a big deal of it. If he says No, just say "Okay. Read potty books and other books to him while he sits there. Toddlers are busy. You have to make the potty a place they love being if you want them to spend enough time there to let anything come out. Explain that every day her body is making poop and pee, and they belong in the potty.

Tell her that whenever she is ready, she will begin peeing and pooping right in the potty. Admire it there, don't be in a hurry to dispose of it. After awhile, let her help you empty the potty into the toilet and be the one to flush it. Cheer happily each time and wave goodbye to the poop. But be sure you're celebrating other things, too, like his climb to the top of the play structure or the sun coming out.

Don't make such a big a deal of his using the potty that the pressure on your child makes him anxious. He isn't confident yet of his abilities; don't make him feel like he has to repeat his use of the potty -- this should be his choice. Remember, your child should be in control of the process.

No pressure. In fact, try to avoid mentioning underwear until your child brings it up. Let it be her idea, let her choose it herself, and don't rush it, or you're just asking for accidents.

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Cleaning up after accidents will frustrate you, and your child will sense that. Humans naturally like privacy when they defecate, and it's fine if she wants to go off by herself. Remind her that the bathroom is a great place for poop, that you will help her take off her poopy diaper whenever she is ready.

What Helps

It may take her awhile to begin telling you, but she will begin to learn the concept that when she feels like this, it's time to go into to the bathroom. Eventually, she will probably be pooping in her diaper in the bathroom. Once that's a habit, you can ask if she wants to try sitting on the potty to poop, even with her diaper on.

Many toddlers squat to poop and prefer a potty that allows them to assume a similar position.

New Apps Help Parents Potty Train Their Children (WFMJ)

Or they prefer a potty because they are afraid of falling into the big toilet or are afraid of the flush. Some kids, however, will want to get a seat that goes right on the big toilet. If so, be sure his feet rest securely on a stool. Dangling legs tighten rectal muscles and make defecation difficult.

Flip seats have a regular toilet seat plus a training seat. Some kids will love a seat that makes music when something is deposited in it. Just google potty training seats and you'll have lots of choices. I particularly like the ones at the end of this article, which my clients have used with great success.

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First thing in the morning, after breakfast, before snack, before and after lunch, before you leave the house, etc. Make clear that the rule applies to you, also, so your child doesn't feel singled out. This will help your child's body move onto a schedule, which will be a bit easier for him to manage.

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Of course, if he asks to go on his own schedule, cheer him on for listening to his own body. Usually, over time, he will ask more and more, gradually taking on the responsibility. But don't assume she's toilet trained until she's initiating. Toilet-trained is when she knows when she has to go and gets herself there.

Don't express any disappointment at "accidents," or you'll make the stakes too high and your child may rebel or give up. Remember, no one like to feel like they're failing. Your little one is more vocal about going to the bathroom. When your child starts to broadcast peeing and pooping by verbalizing or showing you through his facial expressions, potty training is on the horizon. Your child notices and doesn't like dirty diapers. Your little one may suddenly decide she doesn't want to hang out in her dirty diapers because they're gross.

23 Potty Training Tips for Boys and Girls

Your child is turning her nose up at stinky diapers just like you do and is ready to use the potty instead. How old should my toddler be when I start potty training? More About Toddler Milestones. Potty Training Tips for Boys and Girls. Pretend Play.