If Your Child Resists Toilet Training Children who refuse to be toilet trained wet themselves, soil themselves, or try to hold back bowel movements and become constipated. Many of these children also refuse to sit in the toilet or use it only if a parent brings up the subject and marches them into the bathroom. Any child who is over two and a half years of age and not toilet trained after several months of trying can be assumed to be resistant to the process rather than untrained. More practice won’t help him. What he needs now is full responsibility and some incentives. The most common reason that children resist toilet training is that they have been reminded or lectured too often. Some children have been forced to sit in the toilet against their will, occasionally, for long periods of time. A few have been spanked or punished in other ways for not co–operating. Many parents make these mistakes, especially if they have a strong–willed child. The following strategies are often helpful in overcoming resistance Transfer all responsibility to your child Your child will decide to use the toilet only after he realizes that he has nothing left to resist. Have one last talk with him about this subject. Tell him that his body makes “Pee” and “Poop” every day and it belongs to him. Clarify that his “Poop wants to go in the toilet” and his job is to “Help the poop get out” of his body. Tell him you’re sorry you punished him, forced him to sit on the toilet, or reminded him so much. Tell him from now on he doesn’t need help. Then stop all talk about this subject. When your child stops getting attention for not using the toilet, he will eventually perform for attention. Stop all reminders about using the toilet Let your child decide when he needs to go to the bathroom. Do not remind him to go to the bathroom or ask if he needs to go. Reminders are a form of pressure and pressure doesn’t work. Do not make him sit in the toilet against his will because this fosters a negative attitude about the whole process. He knows when his rectum needs to be emptied, when his bladder is full, and where the bathroom is. Give incentives for using the toilet Your child needs plenty of positive reinforcement for staying clean and dry. Give him praise, smiles, and hugs every time he passes a bowel movement or urine into the toilet. If he soils or wets himself on some days but not others, give him recognition whenever he stays clean for a complete day. Better yet, on successful days take time to play a special game with him or take him for a walk. Special incentives such as chocolates, or pennies are invaluable for turning around a resistant child, especially one younger than five years of age. Take him to the grocery store and let him select bags of his favorite candies. Give him some whenever he uses the toilet. It’s best to err on the side of giving too much, such as a handful each time. If you want to achieve a breakthrough, you may have to make the child “An offer he can’t refuse.” Record your child’s progress Post a calendar in a conspicuous location and place a star on it every time your child has a bowel movement or urinates into the toilet. Stars should be accompanied by plenty of praise. Record the child’s progress in this way until he has gone two weeks without any accidents.