My Anxious Child will not fully toilet train
Toilet training can be difficult at the best of times but toilet training an anxious child can be very frustrating and at times one can find oneself not understanding why or what is happening.
I have selected a video on how to potty train so that you are starting off on the right foot and then give you tips for training the anxious child.
Another link is http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/toilet_teaching.html
In most cases, children with anxiety toilet train for going number one but for a bowel movement they would rather wear a diaper. They feel they are losing a part of themselves when their bowl movement is flushed away or they are afraid to let go of this last stage of being small. I experienced this and felt under pressure to train my daughter before Kindergarten to no avail. I informed the school and chose to not send my daughter to school in a pull up for the 2 ½ hours my daughter would attend. It turned out that my daughter was so stressed with going to school she would have a bowl movement before going.
My psychologist suggested that I cut a hole in my daughter’s diaper so the bowl movement would fall through. We started with a small hole where we would increase the hole over time. My daughter was very aware of the hole size to start and monitored the size for a while. This slowed down the process but over time I could increase the size. When cutting the hole make sure it is far enough back as I had started cutting the hole too far forward. You will have to adjust as you go and see where to cut with experience.
My daughter liked to do her bowl movement in her bedroom closet so we had to talk to her about standing in the bathroom with the door closed for privacy. Slowly we put her on the toilet with her diaper on and then started cutting the hole. All this take patience and time but it is worth it when considering some parents are struggling with this with their children when they are ten. I finally had a hole large enough for the bowl movement to fall through. The first time my daughter was very distraught and her reaction caused me to back off for a while. Expect a strong reaction the first time the bowl movement falls through. It can take a lot of strength to get through this beginning stage for both child and parent. I have talked to some moms who say they are not going to put their child through this because they become physically distraught. I felt the sooner my daughter and I got past this stage the better. This is where systematic desensitization comes into play. Systematic desensitization is a behavioural therapy where you put the child in a situation where they are uncomfortable for short periods of time and then increase the time. For the situation of the bathroom think about the first time you do something that you are unsure or nervous about doing. Over time, the routine of doing that activity becomes second nature. The same goes for going to the bathroom. The more the bowl movement fell into the toilet the less of a reaction was observed from my daughter until it was normal to sit on the toilet with a large hole cut in her diaper to go to the bathroom.
We had to wait for my daughter to decide that she did not need the diaper with the hole cut in it anymore and we were well on our way with no more diapers!
Of course at school, my daughter would not use the bathroom at all. Over time with encouragement she would use the bathroom for urination. It took some time before she would do a bowl movement at school and still feels she would rather not but if she has to she does.
If hope this article gives you hope to try this and push your child a little at a time. Remember one day at a time and one step at a time.
For more information regarding anxity join Parenting with Empathy Membership page for just $1.99 a year. You will have access to The Anxious Child a digital magazine with advice from other professionals. Membership
Tags: anxiety, anxiety and depression, anxiety in children, anxiety symptoms, anxiety treatment, child anxiety, childhood anxiety, kids with anxiety, parenting and kindergarten, separation anxiety
Posted in Anxiety