Helping Your Cautious Child Know When To Go To The Bathroom

Jan 18, 2023 | 3.5 Minutes Read

Your careful child thrives on structure, and enjoys keeping track of his successes. A timer is a great way to provide the consistency that’s so important to your process-oriented kid. You can also create a sticker chart together, so he can easily see his progress. 

Mother and son potty training in bathroom
Create a Sticker Chart with your methodical child. Hang the chart on the wall in the bathroom at your child’s eye level, and let them pick a small sticker to put on the chart every time they’re successful on the potty. Don’t make it too difficult to get a sticker; taking steps in the right direction is all that matters. Stickers are most effective when used as an immediate positive reinforcement rather than as a goal to save up for later. That’s because toddlers don’t have a solid sense of time, yet. Have your process-oriented kid review the stickers later with family members and friends to show off their progress.

  • “Great job putting something in the potty! How many stickers do you have on the chart now? Let’s count together.”
  • “Grandma and Grandpa are coming over soon. Would you like to tell them all about how you got your stickers today, and show them your chart?”
Your child may need some assistance getting to the potty in time. Using a timer can be very helpful. Be sure to include your child in the set-up process (and what toddler will not be thrilled to get to touch your electronic device?!) and help her to understand how and why you’re setting the timer. She needs to see the timer as helping her learn to use the potty, rather than a punishment for not making it there on time. A timer can be used anywhere you and your cautious child go.

  • Remember to remind your kid to feel what their body is saying, and check their Pull-Ups® training pants regularly. “Remember to pay special attention to when your body is telling you it has to go. When you feel that really tight feeling in your belly, that’s the time. Tell me right away so we can make it to the potty and keep your fading graphic there!"
As your child becomes more independent, offer your cautious child wipes. Detail-oriented children love to be neat and tidy, and the wipes will help them know if they’re getting clean in just the right way.

Giving your careful child opportunities to practice the process when there’s nothing to wipe away can make them confident in wiping when there is actual pee or poop to clean up. “Let’s practice wiping so you’re ready to try once you’ve actually gone in the potty. We always put our toilet paper into the potty or toilet when we’re finished so it can flush away with the pee or poop!”

Teach your cautious child to continue wiping until nothing comes off on the paper. Remember that if your child is a girl, it is important for her to learn to wipe from front to back. If your child puts something into a potty chair, work together to deposit it into the toilet and clean out the potty. This is part of the potty routine that your careful child will want to learn about, given their natural need to know all there is to know about the potty. If your kid wants to help in a way that will still be hygienic, let them. If they aren’t showing interest, however, don’t force the issue.

Activity: My Own Potty Book

Create a special book with your process-oriented child about going to the potty. Use your child’s name and favorite colors, plus details from your lives. Kids love to see themselves as the star of the story. You can use this book if your kid needs extra time on the potty, and it will come in especially handy when you are traveling or in an unfamiliar place. Here is some text you might use in the book. Feel free to customize it for your toddler:

Watch out for children being too hard on themselves and having unreasonable expectations. Help them roll with the inevitable setbacks that happen throughout potty training, and encourage them to be flexible with themselves. Reassure and help them understand that sometimes they’ll get it all together, and sometimes they won’t — and that’s OK. You’re on the right track — together!


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