How do I help my child feel like she has some control? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 08-31-2008, 12:15 AM - Thread Starter
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We're in the midst of potty training, and I was reading in Dr. Sears' Baby Book that if your child really doesn't want to use the potty, and you think it's just plain stubborness, it may be a sign that she doesn't feel like she has control in other areas of her life, and this is her way of asserting control.

I'm wondering if this is what's going on with 3 year old DD. How do I help her feel more in control of her life?
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#2 of 4 Old 08-31-2008, 01:28 PM
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offer choices. Can you imagine being told what do do and when to do it every second of your life? what to wear, when to eat, ect. Some toddlers feel that way. So instead of saying do this, offer a choice. example, offer a choice of two or three outfits (no more than that to avoid overwhleming her) and ask which one she would like to wear, rather than telling her what she will wear for the day. Try to offer lots of choices throughout the day. Would you like to do this activity, or this one; would you like to sit next to me or daddy? ect. This helps the child feel empowered, and they feel good about themselves for being able to make decisions on their own (except your kind of helping by narrowing choices so that they don't get overwelmed by so many) Also helps to avoid power struggles, because your giving the child some power througout the day. Maybe you can incorporate some choices with the potty too.

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#3 of 4 Old 08-31-2008, 01:53 PM
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What does her day look like? Is there a reasonable amount of predictability? Does she know, more or less, what to expect? Does she have enough time to just mess around and be a kid, play with what she wants, and really get involved in projects?

Also, FWIW, I think there are a lot of reasons that kids can be stubborn or resistant. Fear of the unknown, anger at their parents over something else (like a new sibling), or just plain experimenting with control. That's my two cents.

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#4 of 4 Old 09-04-2008, 02:06 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't assume at first she felt out of control in general, but I'd start with the obvious...

She doesn't want you to make her use the potty...and she knows full well you can't actually make her go.

So, I'd (and this worked with my dd) give it up for a while. A week or two or maybe a month. I wouldn't say one word about the potty. And then, after one morning when she dresses herself I'd say, "oh wow...did you get dressed all by yourself?!?! Really?!?!?! Wow! you sure are big!" And then, "can you show me how you can pull your pants up and down? can you do that with your pullup (panties, whatever), too?" now she KNOWS she can do it.

Then, after a few days of her knowing she can get dressed all by herself, a little kid potty appeared in the living room. I said, "hey, now that you can get your panties up and down all by yourself, you can go potty in this little potty that's just for you whenever you want, just like mama uses the big potty. see, the lid goes up and down like this."

She bit the bait and within a week was using the "big potty" with nary an accident. A few days after she was using the little potty on her own inititive, I just showed her the step stool in the bathroom in the same nonchalant way and told her she could use that to get up to the big potty if she wanted to. i didn't offer any pressure. just said it kinda off-handedly and then moved right to "so, are you ready to go to the park" or something similiar.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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