Potty training accidents
Accidents are a natural part of the potty training journey. Our responses to these accidents have an impact on the training itself as well as on their self-concept, self-esteem and their own emotional reactions to those and other failures. These are delicate situations where the child’s perception is the most important aspect. Most common reactions include:
- “Oh no!”
- “What have you done!”
- “Look everything is wet/soiled now!”
- Parents apologising to people around
- Experiencing shame/embarrassment by the parent themselves
- “How many times have I told you not to do that!”
- “See you have made everything dirty, I have to clean it now!”
- “Dirty boy/girl!”
In all the above cases and similar cases, the child may interpret it as a failure or as something that the child shouldn’t have done and may experience shame/guilt.
What if we hold our reactions and let the child react and then let the child know
- that it’s okay and nothing is wrong
- that the child is still moving ahead on this journey
- that there’s nothing to be ashamed of or guilty about
- that you love them no matter what
- that you understand that these accidents are natural
- that you are compassionate and loving towards them (so that they can learn to be compassionate and loving towards themselves)
- that it doesn’t make them good/bad
(make sure you use whatever feels appropriate at each time)
What if we don’t say a word about cleaning it and do it like we do other necessary things for our child?
Observe what you convey to your child when these accidents happen: through your words, tone, body language and own experience of emotional reactions.
Choose what you want to convey to them.
Create scripts/dialogues which you can say to your child at these times.