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How To Make a Child Sit Still During Potty Training

by Maggie McCormick, studioD

Potty training is an important stage of development, but some kids just won't sit still. If you've got a very active child, it can be hard enough to lead him to the potty, much less get him to actually sit down and use it. There's no doubt that it will take some work, but using a few tricks can help your child master the potty.

Schedule potty breaks at regular intervals. Your active little one is probably too busy doing other things to remember to use the potty. By scheduling potty time into the day, it becomes a part of her routine and you'll eventually be met with less resistance.

Give your child a small book or toy to hold on the potty. It's hard to focus on the potty when there are so many other attractive options waiting in the toy room. Choose a few books or toys to become the "potty time toys" and only allow those toys when he's sitting on the potty. When he can focus on those toys and books, he has something to do besides "just sit."

Offer rewards and incentives to sit on the potty. Incentives like candy or stickers can be a great motivator. The rules for the incentives may be something like "sitting still on the potty," but they can also be something more basic, like "try using the potty," even if your child doesn't exactly sit still.

Focus on your child's successes rather than failures. If you're constantly getting frustrated and criticizing her wiggles, she's going to feel self-conscious and may resist potty training. However, when you lavish praise on her during the times when she sits nicely on the potty, she'll want to please you more.

Try again a bit later. If your child is simply too distracted to sit on the potty, it may not be the right time for your child to train. Children reach this stage at different times and you may have a late bloomer. A child who's not showing real interest in the potty may not be ready for potty training yet. Wait a couple weeks and try again.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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