World Women Global Council

A toddler is on life support after her 22-year-old mother glued her daughter’s hands to a wall, kicked her in the stomach and beat her over a potty training issue, Dallas police said.

This horrifying story seems impossible to imagine to most of us parents, but truthfully learning to use the toilet can be one of the most frustrating experiences parents have with their young children. Because if a child goes in the toilet once, it’s easy to think that if they don’t do it again, the child is deliberately manipulating their parent by withholding going.

Remember you cannot train a child to use the toilet, it is a learned developmental task and so it takes time and practice, with lots of mistakes, just like learning to roll-over, use a spoon, walk or talk.

I think once parents know that learning to use the toilet has much more to do with biology than psychology it can lower their frustration when their child seemingly doesn’t do it right. And just like every other thing your child has to learn, each child does it at their own pace. Two-years old is rather ‘early’ to accomplish toilet learning, so relax parents and let your child learn about their own body at their own rate instead of expecting your child to be able to do this at a certain age.

There is nothing wrong with helping your child, by changing their diaper in the bathroom, making sure that the bathroom is the warmest place in your home and looking for dry diapers as a sign that they are getting the hang of it!

Finally, if this mom had someone like to to help teach her that only her child can decide when they are ready to use the toilet, maybe she wouldn’t of lost control assuming that she should be training/punishing her child into it!

So when frustration hits, as it does with all of us, remember to take a deep breath, blow it out and remember to be patient as your child works on all the skills they have to learn in early childhood, Dr. Ann.