July 9, 2020

How should you handle unwanted potty training advice

child on potty chairWhen you are potty training a child, everyone and their neighbor is going to offer you advice, and most of the time, you are not going to want to hear it. Usually this is because the person does not know you or your child, you have already tried the thing they are suggesting, or you simply do not want them butting in on your job as a parent.

To handle unwanted potty training advice, you first have to ask yourself: Where is the unwanted advice coming from? If it is from a stranger, then your approach for handling it can be far different then if it is from a relative. For example, if you simply ignore the advice offered by the lady in the grocery check out line, you will be fine because the chances of you seeing them again are slim. However, if you ignore the advice from your mother-in-law you then have given her permission to give you advice whenever she wants. In addition to that, you may have to deal with the fall out of not following her advice. So, first determine if the person or place the unwanted advice is coming from is going to be a one-time irritant, or a continuous problem.

If you decide the unwanted advice is from someone you rarely see or talk to, your best solution for handling it is simply say, “Thanks for your input.” And leave it at that. That is not a commitment to try what they suggest, and it is not a snub either. That way you leave them feeling fine, and you ignore what they say.

If it is from someone that you will see often, and will be uncomfortable around due to the unsolicited advice, it is always best to help them understand how you feel, and why. One great suggestion is to explain to them that you are taking a “child centered” approach to potty training. This means that your approach is one where you wait for your child to display signs of readiness and interest before you force them to do anything potty related. One of the biggest areas of unwanted advice is that of when to potty train. This is a great way to rebuff that advice, and help the person understand that your efforts will be wasted until your child is truly interested in the process.

The next area that is most often used for potty training advice is how to do it. Some recommend a reward based system, such as bribery and treats each time they use the toilet. Others may suggest a punishment based system where you discipline your child when they choose to go in their pants, diaper, etc. instead of on the toilet. Some suggest timers, where you force your child to sit on the toilet at different intervals during the day. No matter what they suggest, if it is something you are not comfortable with, one great approach is to simply say, “We choose to parent differently.” Or you can say, “When my child is at your home, and in your care, that would be fine if you used that approach.” This means you are willing to let them try it, but you are not going to.

Lastly, if you are getting unwanted advice in front of your child, one of the easiest, and best things to do is simply ask that it is done outside your child’s hearing. Tell the person that you feel it undermines your authority as a parent, and if they can’t refrain from saying something, to please do it when your child is not around.

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