I often hear this: I don’t want to create a negative association with potty training.
Yes. I understand that.
And I often hear: I don’t want to do psychological damage.
Yes. I understand not wanting to do that to a child.
But lately, I’ve been thinking about this. In my years of social work, I worked with very damaged humans. No one ever cited potty training as their core issue. I have many good friends who are therapists and I checked in with them. They have never heard of deep seated issues caused by potty training. In just my very close circle of friends, we’ve collectively logged in about 100 years of therapy. Never once did potty training come into play.
Which leads me to believe we’re being super fearful of something that doesn’t really exist. If we go back to the 1940s, when potty training definitely had an abusive bend, I could see that doing some damage. But we don’t tie kids down to potty chairs anymore.
Are we afraid of power struggles? Oh! Yes…I’ve seen power struggles in potty training but I’ve seen power struggles over the iPad, too. I don’t think that leads to long term damage. And if you’re experiencing a power struggle over potty training, you probably need assistance; not to abandon potty training.
Is this another soundbite being thrown at us?
To…you know…keep us scared of our own parenting?
I know some kids get locked into a pattern of holding poop. But that’s usually a “holder” and it’s a physical as well as mental block. And if you’ve got a holder, you have a holder, no matter when or how you potty train. And unless you are dealing with encopresis, most issues can be resolved in a short amount of time.
I’m not denying there can be issues WHILE you are potty training and those are best taken care of in the moment.
But are we really fearful of long term damage?
Or is this another monster that when we shine some light onto it…dissolves?
Any thoughts? I’m really interested. It’s always best to not have a vague fear. If you know what is specifically making you fearful, it’s that much easier to address.