The Potty Boot Camp is a remarkably successful new toilet training method developed by Dr. Suzanne Riffel. It combines a number of well-known techniques into one unique and EFFECTIVE program. Learn a LOT more by visiting our website at www.ThePottyBootCamp.com.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

The Bathtub Can Help Your Toddler Overcome Fear of the Potty!

My best suggestions for Potty Training usually come as a result of helping to troubleshoot when parents write me about bumps in the road as they go through Potty Boot Camp.  The following post is between myself and a Mom whose 32 month old daughter is crying each time she uses the potty - usually without success.  Follow through beginning with her original question through our entire conversation below:


We've been doing Potty Boot Camp since Friday with limited success. My  daughter (32 months) cries every time she is peeing on the potty. Is this normal? She has pooped once on the potty, and did not cry. She has not self initiated either; we're still going based on the timer.

Any advice you can offer would be great.

First Reply:

Sorry, I'm going to have a bunch of questions for you before I can help :)

Why do you think she is crying? Fear, or pain, or just to complain? What is your gut feeling? It isn't a typical response..especially for a 32 month old. We hear of this a lot in the little ones (18-22 mo.)

The reason behind it will help me tell you what next steps to take. Is she having a lot of accidents, or not? What are you using for timer intervals?

Mom's Response:

My gut tells me that it is fear. She pushes up on the potty with her hands while she's trying to go, like she doesn't want her legs to touch. We are having a lot of accidents, and she doesn't cry during those, and  they are often within 10 minutes of getting off the potty. After I wrote you this morning, she told me three times that she needed to go - one was a false alarm, and then has had three accidents followed by one self  initiation in the last few hours.

Our time intervals Fri-Sun were 10 minutes off, 5 on. Today I've done 20 off, 5 on, and 30 if she went. We don't have any trouble getting her to sit, and she'll often sit for 15 minutes if we're reading to her.

I feel like she finally understood the sensation Saturday night when she stood up in the bathtub and said she needed a diaper while pee was running down her leg. She even pooped on the potty on Sunday morning, but not since.

Second Reply:

It sure sounds like she is holding it until she just can't do so anymore....and even holds it when she's on the potty....likely due to the fact that it just simply scares her to let it go into the potty! I would try something called the "bathtub" technique. (I've copied it from another email:)

Bathtub Technique:

To get her to fully relax her bladder, you can try a little trick I have found to work well. Put her potty in the bathtub. Sit her on it (barefoot),and then turn on the bath water. Between the sound of the running water and the warm water on her toes, it almost always gets them to go! For obvious reasons, you will always want to do this supervised. Once she starts to recognize the sensation of what it feels like to "let it all out" it'll help
her do it on a more regular basis.

This will likely help her realize that it doesn't hurt, and it isn't scary.....low and behold it just happened without her hardly noticing!!!

If she has a success, go ahead and stick with the 30 minute intervals. That is GREAT news you finally got a self-initiation. She's on her way! Now we just need to conquer her fear of "letting go." Keep using the bathtub for a few days if needed..you can gradually work it out of the tub and back onto the floor.

Let me know how that goes!

Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.

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