What are some signs the child is not ready for potty training?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 33,665
    Parenting educator Dr. Rene Hackney talks about signs that your child is not ready to potty train.

    Rene Hackney

    Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.

    For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide

    range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.

    Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.

    Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.

    Host: What are some signs the child is not ready?

    Rene Hackney: Signs they are not ready would be a child who hides to poop. This is really common, more common than most people think, but a child who in the middle of playing in the playroom will go off behind the couch with their diaper on and just poop in their diaper behind the couch.

    A lot of parents take that as a readiness sign, they knew they had a sensation in their tummy, they had time to get somewhere, but what is actually suggested is that they are physically ready, they feel the sensation and they have enough time to get somewhere, but they are not psychologically ready. They are hiding it from you, they are saying I am ready to do this, but not with you yet. So the idea is you might want to increase the videos and the story books at that point to get them more interested in the process.

    Another sign, children are quite ready is the child who will willingly sit on the potty for 10 or 15 minutes, but then stand up and poop on the floor or pee on the floor and you are by, that again is really common and it frustrates parents because they think the child was holding it. What tends to be happening though is that the child who was sitting on the potty was feeling nervous and tensed and their muscles were tight and so when you are feeling nervous and tensed and your muscles are tight you can not go and then somebody lets them off that thing and they go, oh, thank goodness I am up and then they go because their muscles relax. So the idea is parents should often say let us sit and relax. Let us sit and read a story and so you are reading a new story book while they sit on the potty rather than sit and try.

    Sit and try can be a big struggle. Another sign that they are not ready is they are just struggling against you, they are screaming they do not want to go potty, they are yelling, they are upset when you are taking off their diaper to try to go into the bathroom. If they are doing that the idea is that they are not ready and you want to give it a little while and wait till they are more willing to be in the process.