The dreaded potty-training. Take a minute and think about the obstacle. What is the primary variable that is interfering with your child’s progress in the potty process? Is he disinterested? Is he scared of the potty? Does she want to keep clean? Is he taking on your anxiety about the germs in the bathroom or the mess on the floor?
Although it is best to wait until your child is showing some of the usual signs of readiness, once you are actually training, Video Stories may play an important role in overcoming the obstacle you are facing. For my son, he was very reluctant to sit on the potty. It was a combination of the potty being cold, high, and boring. We had books and toys there that were supposed to be reserved for the potty time, but he insisted again and again on taking them to other rooms of the house. Each time I tried to get him on the potty, he would fuss and rant. Then one day when he was in a goofy mood, and we were laughing about “poo poo” and “pee pee,” he forgot to fuss when I put him on the potty. In fact he was laughing. I quickly captured a 20 second video of him sitting on the potty, laughing, and saying, “pooo.” Immediately, while he was still on the potty, I showed him the clip. He giggled and said “Again!” He climbed off the potty and wanted to see the movie. I showed it to him. He giggled and wanted more. He climbed back on and watched the movie and laughed and imitated himself and sat on the potty watching and laughing for a good ten minutes. Even though he wasn’t immediately potty trained, it dramatically changed the way he thought about the potty. He saw himself on the potty, laughing, having fun, being goofy, and it changed the thought pattern for the potty. The next time he was on the potty, he smiled and said, “pooo.” I asked if he wanted to watch the Solomon movie. He shook his head, “Yes!” I think if I hadn’t captured the video of the fun moment on the potty, it would not have been concreted in his head. He may have quickly forgotten his joke and gone back to his regular thought pattern that the potty time was not fun and worth fussing about.
You can make a Video Story to overcome whichever obstacle is hindering the progress. If the child is uninterested, make an interesting video of him playing with interesting toys on the potty, laughing with a silly daddy at the potty, aiming at the cheerios in the potty, pretending the teddy bear needs to go potty (on a clean potty chair), or flushing the potty afterwards. If she is scared, make the bathroom environment as friendly as possible where she has control of getting on and off the little potty, on and off of the light, no flushing, and maybe make a video of her bringing her favorite comforting toys to the potty chair. You could also start the potty chair in her room or a place she already feels comfortable. A video of them playing and pretending other dolls or stuffed animals need to go potty can help because they are the knowledgeable ones who are training the toys. If he or she is concerned about being clean, a video of how easy it is to keep clean when you go on the potty would help reinforce the idea, for example, a stinky diaper is a big mess, but when I go in the potty, the mess goes bye bye. If the child has a potty movie or book that they like (our favorite was “Potty Power”), you could take some inspiration from the story line of the book, like showing off their new underwear, putting the diapers away, or all the things I can do now that I’m a big kid. If they are feeding off your anxiety about the mess or germs or accidents or lack of progress, remember to relax. I had to physically do some deep breathing and conscious relaxation techniques like reminding myself that this stage will not last forever, and reminding myself that he is reading and interpreting all of my nonverbal cues. If it is necessary to do some repair work after your anxiety has caused some damage to your child’s attitude about going potty, it may help to have some footage of you and your partner showing how happy you are when the child goes in the potty. Seeing your excitement on their video, perhaps seeing daddy swing them up in the air with a hooray or you wondering with amazement how they got to be such a big kid already, will be a super strong reinforcement.