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Potty Training Top Tips for the Most Strong-Willed Toddlers

By Raisa Weisspapir 

“My two and a half-year-old son refuses to use the potty. He holds his bowel movements as long as he can”

Potty training is a monumental milestone for parents and toddlers alike. It may be easy for some children, but it is not uncommon for a toddler to have potty training problems. Some of these problems are easy to solve, while others may take a little more ingenuity and time. There are several key factors that lead to success: choosing the right time, approaching individually, teaching consistently, recognizing a problem on time and dealing with it patiently.

The right time

Most children begin potty training sometime around eighteen months to three years of age. Although many parents feel like three years is a magic age by which their child must be potty trained, that is not always the case. A recent study showed that almost twenty-five percent of kids weren't potty trained until they were three and a half or four years old. The average age that a child will be potty trained is around two and a half years, and girls generally potty train easier than boys.

When to wait

It's usually best not to start toilet training your toddler during a stressful time, such as:

  • changes in the family - moving, the arrival of a new baby, separation or divorce

  • starting a new childcare arrangement

  • when one of the family members is ill

  • when a toddler has an acute condition

Is your toddler ready?

You child may be ready for toilet training if:

  • staying dry for at least a couple of hours each day

  • having regular bowel movements

  • being able to follow simple instructions

  • being uncomfortable with dirty diapers and wanting them to be changed

  • recognize the need to 'go'

Why toddlers may become resistant?

Using the potty might be a scary process for a little one.

  • Potty training resistance usually occurs because a child has had a bad experience at some point, especially if he was started before he was intellectually or psychologically ready.

  • A child can be afraid of the flushing sound, the disappearance of the water along with the waste, or any other reasons that he/she can't even put into words.

  • A big problem for many toddlers is simply lack of consistency. If a child has several caregivers who look after him during the week, for example.

  • A child may need the negative attention he gets from not using the potty or from having accidents

  • Some children simply use the battle over the potty as a battle of wills.

  • Toddlers learn at a young age about power.

  • Finally, there may be health problems that deter a child from using the potty, such as constipation, diarrhea, bladder infection, kidneys problems, food allergies, lactose intolerance.

How to solve the problem?

The program that I usually use in my practice includes:

  1. Individually chosen homeopathic remedies to address the main problem

  2. Food Allergy Test

  3. Change of the diet

  4. High-quality vitamins and supplements

Here are just a few examples of homeopathic remedies, which I successfully use for my little patients:

Natrium Muriaticum

Those children are well-behaved and introverted. They have a tendency to constipation. The bowel movements are painful because of the dryness and impaction of the stool, causing the anal sphincter to tighten involuntarily, making it even more painful. They also have difficulties to urinate in a public restroom.


Hyperactive children, who are unable to remain long in one place, very demanding and capricious. Constipation is usually quite severe, with the stools becoming very hard and consisting of little balls. It is accompanied by colic. The common history elicited from the parents is that the child has recurrent bouts of diarrhea that last for months.

Calcarea Carbonica

The child is usually strong-willed, yet often very anxious concerning security. He/she has weak resistance to infections. The constipation may be so severe that these children only have stool once in ten days. The child loves all the carbohydrates: sweets, ice cream, pasta, bread, and potatoes, they also crave cheesy foods such as pizza, macaroni and cheese, and lasagna.


The constipation can be caused by anxiety or the lack of effective bowel urges. The difficulties in passing stool may occur in situations that cause anxiety for the child, such as in public restrooms. Passing stool may be painful, though; the child may fuss and cry and be averse to anything and everything until relieved by a bowel movement.

Tips for parents

  • Be positive. Give lots of praise whenever your child had just tried.

  • Be patient. While one child might understand the urge to use the toilet at eighteen months, her sibling might not grasp the concept until he is three years old.

  • Address their problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, lactose intolerance, leaky guts syndrome due to frequent use of antibiotics, food allergies, bladder or kidney infections, kidney reflux, lactose intolerance, celiac disease. Of course, the emotional state of the toddler should be considered as well. If he/she is scared of the dark, has nightmares, or is overly anxious about being alone, this child has to get some help.

There are no two children alike

When it comes to potty training, a child's individuality and learning style needs to be considered. Because parents may have developed a successful potty training routine with one child, they may be tempted to follow that exact routine with another one. However, this method might not work for another sibling at all.

To recognize your toddler's individuality and develop a technique that fits him/her, I strongly suggest learning your child's personality.

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