Dr Catherine
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4-7 years

He attends preschool and sits for them. We cant get him to sit at all. No rewards work. Taking nappies away and he just still refuses and will dribble and flood bed at night.

Not wanting to use ‘strange’ toilets can be a common problem among young children particularly during the early stages of toilet training, however it appears that the reverse is true for you! Child resistance or refusal is the most common toilet training challenge experienced by parents. Unfortunately this type of behaviour often leads to power struggles between parents and children, turning the toilet training process into an emotional battlefield.One of the trickiest things about toilet training is it typically occurs at a time in development when young children are experiencing the need for greater autonomy. It is not unusual for young children to deliberately resist parents’ constant reminders to use the toilet in an attempt to exert their independence and control over the situation. If life has turned into one long battle then it is time to have a break, just for a week or two. Put toilet training on the back burner and enjoy your son. Use this time to celebrate all the wonderful things he has achieved. When it comes time to revisit toilet training you need to shift some of the control back to him. Explain to him how his body works and that the wee and poo belongs to him. Explain that he us now a big boy and because of that you are not going to keep reminding him to go to the toilet. Instead show him that you are confident in his own ability to go to the toilet when they feel the urge. Resist the urge to constantly remind him to use the toilet, this can build further resistance and lead to toilet refusal. Above all else keep calm! Easier said then done I know, especially if this has been going on for a long time. Children are very susceptible to their parents’ emotions, so avoid times of high stress and make sure you have a good support network – remember you do not have to manage this on your own! Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding; I have been unwell and unable to answer questions during this time. Regards, Dr Cathrine