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Cleanliness: Mistakes to avoid

by Content Editor
Cleanliness: Mistakes to avoid

Parents are generally anxious for their children to be potty trained. This impatience should not lead them to make certain mistakes, which could slow them down in this new phase.

Table of contents

Baby on the potty: yes, but not too early!

Before 18 months of age, the child’s nervous system is not mature enough to allow him to control his sphincters. These muscles, located around the anus and urethra, allow them to control the opening and closing of these orifices and, therefore, hold themselves back. Offering your baby the potty too early is therefore of no use. And even if this sometimes gives results, they owe everything to chance. It is said that the child must be able to go up and down stairs alone to know if he is physically prepared, a sign that he controls these famous muscles. An unsoiled diaper during naptime is also a sign that the child is ready. But the psychological aspect should not be neglected either. If your child is completely uninterested in the potty and does not show any desire to get rid of his diapers, it seems better to wait a little longer.

Leaving the child too long on the potty

To begin with, you’ll have to explain to him what this new object is; the best way? Put it in the toilet, and show yourself there, if you don’t mind, so that he understands the function of this room. Then you can start to put it in gradually, with your bare bottom. Preferably choose the time of day that you feel is the most favorable, i.e., the time of day when he is used to having his bowel movements. But it is strongly advised against leaving him there for too long. Staying more than 10 minutes on the potty would be experienced by the child as a constraint, preventing him from doing more interesting things, and would disgust him. If, on the other hand, he wants to stay on the potty, remind him that the potty is not a game. If he doesn’t want to do it, there’s no need for him to go on and on.

Putting him on the potty after each meal

Establishing a routine is important for the child. Rhythms help and reassure him. But going to the toilet must remain spontaneous; otherwise, you risk depriving him of the notion of need. The child should not go to the potty because you tell him to, but because he wants to. In the beginning, you can put him on the potty after meals, but don’t make it an unavoidable habit. The routine to be set up should therefore be more like a ritual. It should not be linked to the time of day but to the signals it sends you. Each time you understand that he is getting ready or doing something: guide him to the potty.

Emphasize the idea that potty training makes you grow up

Contrary to what some may believe, the notion of “growing up” is not the most convincing argument for children, especially at this age. The fear of the unknown and the anxiety it generates in him could block him. Remaining a baby, a situation he knows is a reassuring temptation. So, by equating diapers with this status, you may be surprised to see him suddenly become attached to them.

Praising him excessively

Potty training is not an achievement. It is a natural and necessary action to meet the baby’s needs. By praising him too much, your child may see the potty as a real issue between you. This overemphasis on potty training gives your child leverage at an age when he’s already a strong opponent.

Dramatize failures or relapses

In the beginning, accidents are frequent and normal. As long as the potty reflex is not acquired, it will undoubtedly happen that the baby forgets to ask for it or does it a little too late. Could you not make a big deal of it? Be patient and continue to encourage him. Remind him that you trust him and that he’ll get there eventually, at his own pace. Because even if you’re stressed about the school start date, he shouldn’t feel rushed. You can explain to him that he has to be potty-trained to become a schoolboy, which motivates some but doesn’t pressure him. It is also possible that he will relapse after several days of control. Again, don’t overreact. Continue to support him and try to understand the cause. Perhaps he was not yet ready or is reacting to an upheaval in his life (birth of a younger child, absence of a parent, etc.).

Throwing away stool without explaining why

Toddlers often have a hard time understanding that their stools, which come out of them, are not “parts” of themselves. Flushing the contents of the potty down the toilet, without any further explanation, can therefore be difficult for your child to overcome. It is important to tell your child that these excrements are waste, that his body has produced and then thrown away, and that it would be dangerous for him to keep them inside him. There is no need to force him to look at the potty if he seems to be bothered. When he feels ready, he will let you know. Many children end up loving going to the bathroom to empty their potty themselves.


The child’s neural system is not mature enough until the age of 18 months to allow him to regulate his sphincters. Offering your infant the potty too soon is therefore futile. If your child is utterly uninterested in the potty and shows no desire to get rid of his diapers, it appears that it is preferable to wait a little longer. As long as the infant’s putty reflex has not been established, he or she will either forget to ask for it or will ask too late. Be patient and continue to encourage him.

Without more explanation, flushing the contents of the potty down the toilet might be challenging for your baby to overcome. It is critical to explain to your baby that these excrements are trash that his body has created and subsequently discarded and that keeping them inside him would be hazardous. Potty training does not happen overnight! Whatever approach you select will take a lot of patience and effort, but it will be much less stressful if you choose a method that is a good fit for your child.

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