Was elimination communication going smoothly but now all of a sudden your little one is refusing to use the potty? This potty pause may be very frustrating, but with the right support, you and your little one can get back to pottying.
A potty pause occurs when your baby was using the potty just fine, but suddenly resists. Here are some tips to sail through.
Take a minute to reflect inward and think about the source of this sudden resistance. Is your intuition telling you what could be done to improve the situation? Next, read our 10 Tips to Help You Through a Potty Pause and see if one resonates with you.
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1. Take a deep breath.... Exhale
Hitting a potty pause is frustrating. But it is also quite common. Potty pauses often occur during major developmental milestones or life changes. Ask yourself, "Is there something happening that is taking all of my child's energy and concentration?". For example, is s/he learning to crawl or walk; teething; or ill? Remember, the pause won't last forever!
2. Offer pottytunities less often
Your child may be seeking autonomy in deciding when to potty. Avoid over-prompting. Instead, ask your child to let you know when s/he needs to go and then back off. Only offer based on signals or transitions. Focus on communication, not catches.
3. Allow for more independence
Your toddler may be asserting that s/he is ready for more independence. Prepare the bathroom in a way that allows your toddler to, "do it myself!". A small potty on the floor and a step stool to reach the sink are a good start. Make sure everything s/he needs is within reach.
4. Teach a skill
Your child may be missing a skill that would allow him or her to potty independently. Teach a necessary skill, like pushing down pants or sitting down on the potty. Having another child demonstrate is ideal, but you can also show a book or video. Teach sign language for "toilet" or the phrase, "I need to potty!". Ask yourself which skills would help your child potty more independently.
5. Allow for more privacy
Privacy is especially important for toddlers when they need to poop. You can stay in the bathroom, but busy yourself in some way and pretend not to notice what your toddler is doing. Or you could shut the door and leave for a couple minutes and ask your toddler to let you know when s/he is finished.
6. Mix it up
Your child may be bored with the status quo and ready for a change. Try a different potty or toilet seat reducer or a more creative receptacle, such as the shower, a urinal, or the great outdoors! Have a different caregiver offer the potty.
7. Bring a toy or book
Our little ones are so busy exploring the world that it can be difficult for them to stop and take the time to sit on the potty. Try bringing along something to keep your child's interest, such as the toy s/he was playing with or a book. Even opening and closing a pack of wipes can be an entertaining distraction.
8. Take the next step
Resistance from a toddler often indicates that s/he is ready to take the next step. Consider moving from diapers to cloth training pants, which your child can help push down and pull up. Or skip the trainers and let your little one go commando for a couple weeks, followed by wearing real underwear.
9. Attend a Class about EC
Look for a local class about EC and ask the teacher for advice on getting through a potty pause. Or you can get EC back on track with Andrea Olson's online Potty Time MiniCourse.
10. Find an EC Support Group or Coach
Parenting is so much easier with support! Find people who understand what you are going through and who can offer advice. Search for a local support group or coach.
We hope you found these tips for getting through a potty pause helpful! Next we will cover some useful Elimination Communication Supplies.
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At what stage during the EC journey did you encounter a potty pause? What have you tried to get your little one back to using the potty?