Is it possible for your toddler to be stressed? We always talk about adults being stressed, but toddlers? You may think, "What could a two year old possibly be stressed out about?" I mean, they have no bills, no nagging boss to deal with, and no spouse to work those nerves, right? An article from Parents magazine struck my attention on this issue because it goes into detail about how, like adults, toddlers also can suffer from stress. According to Parents magazine, toddlers could be stressed out from a vary of things such as: separation anxieties, new family dynamic or big family changes, potty training and overwhelming schedules.
Today, I’m going to focus on toddlers being stressed from the whole potty training process. Sometimes potty training can be so hard, can't it? I know from my own experience with my boys that this can be a very trying time for parents as we feel pressure to make this work. God knows, you are not alone.
The article from Parents magazine talks about this issue and how toddlers may become stressed because they are unable to successfully make this transition into potty training in the timeframe based on what parents expect. And sometimes when our toddlers don’t learn how to use the potty within OUR expectation, we freak out and automatically think somethings wrong with our child. Then we sometimes push them more, and as a result, it often stresses our toddlers even MORE.
Dr. Rene Hackney, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and founder of Parenting Playgroups and Parenting by Dr. Rene, says that maybe your toddler is trying to tell you that they are not quite ready for this next stage yet.
I agree with Dr. Hackney and believe that sometimes we, as parents need to stop forcing things to happen that aren’t ready to happen. Just because your friends toddler learned how to use the potty at a certain age, doesn’t mean that you need to put on the panic button because your child hasn’t learned yet. That does not necessarily mean that anything is wrong with your child.
Every child is different and we need to acknowledge and respect that.
Toddlers can range from 18 months to 3 years old in age when it comes to potty training. However, according to HealthDay News, a new study suggests 27 to 32 months is the ideal window for moving your child out of diapers. But we need to understand that every child varies when they are ready to move to this stage, so you can not just go by age.
Toddlers need to be BOTH physically and emotionally ready.
Most toddlers will give you signs that they may be ready to start potty training. So parents need to look out for these signs.
Here are some indicators that your toddler may be ready for potty training according to Dr. Heather Wittenberg:
Some common readiness signs may include:
- Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper.
- Hiding to pee or poop
- Interest in others’ use of the potty, or copying their behavior
- Having a dry diaper for a longer than usual time
- Awakening dry from a nap
- Telling you that they’re about to go, are going, or have just gone in their diaper
Here is my initial suggestion, if you are having challenges potty training your toddler and your child shows signs of stress, then I would first try taking a break from it.
Try doing this for maybe a month and perhaps by then, they will be ready both emotional and physically rather than making it feel like a forced situation for them. I think that this break would take stress off both your toddler and you as well. It is equally important that you keep your cool because toddlers sense when you’re stressed more than you realize. They can see it in your facial expressions, the tone of your voice, and this stress can inadvertently transfers to them. What parents need to also understand is that you can’t FORCE this on your child because this is a PROCESS. You can’t speed up the process based upon when YOU want this to happen.
In the words, this requires patience (and a good place to vent or scream!😃).
It is also very possible that if you put less pressure on them by temporarily backing off from it, that they may surprise you and things just start unexpectedly clicking with them. This is exactly what happened with our oldest son when he was a toddler. Larry and I had been trying to potty train him for a while and we were starting to get concerned. So we decided to back off a little and then I remember shortly after, our son came running excitedly into our living room carrying his little portable potty toilet and then said so proudly,“I pee peed in the potty!” He was so proud of himself!
The bottom line is, potty training is a process and it takes as long as it takes. We don’t want to stress our toddlers or ourselves. Allow them to go at their own paste. We, as caregivers, are just there to GUIDE and FACILITATE them with patience and love. But it is up to them to do it….when it is right for them.
***Note: I you are really concerned about your toddler having serious issues with potty training, of course, talk with your pediatrician.
WHEN TO CALL THE DOCTOR:
If you are concerned about when to call a doctor, then look at this site.
If you are interested, there is a list of potty training methods from Parents Magazine that you can check out:
POTTY TRAINING METHODS:
Dr. Heather Wittenberg: