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Dealing With Your Own
Anxieties and Frustrations

Because there is no one-size-fits-all method and toilet training is likely to be a very slow process, parents and other caregivers can become very anxious and frustrated along the way. It can be hard to keep your cool as you are having to clean up messes while worrying that your child may never learn to use the toilet. And, few parents can put aside the demands of everyday life including work responsibilities, meeting the needs of siblings and other family members, financial worries, and any personal health issues to focus exclusively on toilet training.

To help yourself through the toilet training process:

  • Be positive and enjoy the process
  • Celebrate the small successes along the way
  • Have someone to talk to and confide in
  • If you have had a particularly bad day and could not remain neutral during the toilet training process, forgive yourself and remember that tomorrow is a new day.
  • If you find yourself short on patience and behaving in angry ways toward your child, identify what calms you. Having music that you can listen to or doing some deep breathing can be quick ways to take care of yourself. When you can, ask your “back up” person to assume responsibility for your child so that you can regain your balance. Take a walk, a shower, or just a short break so that you can resume the process with humor, patience, and positive support for your child.
  • Develop a safety plan that you can use to help you better manage your emotions. This document about the Sanctuary Model offers some information about safety plans.
  • Set realistic goals – breaking down the skills needed so that your child can realize success.
  • If he is struggling, the task(s) may be too big and you need to choose a smaller skill that he can master sooner. That will be good for both of you.
  • Talk to other parents – accidents and other setbacks are more common than you might think. Others can help you keep your perspective and hope.
  • Remember — both you and your child are eager for success, but only you, as the adult, can provide the outside resources she may need to progress.

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