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Self Esteem and Potty Training

Self esteem and potty training go hand in hand: low self esteem makes it hard for a child to potty train, but being potty trained increases a child's self esteem. A child who has low self esteem is liable to think he can't succeed in staying dry and clean. On the other hand, a child with good self esteem sees potty training as a challenge he can master, almost a game of sorts.

Part of a parent's job is to encourage a child to feel competent since a healthy sense of himself is a child's armor against the challenges of the world around him. Children who feel good about themselves tend to better handle conflict and manage peer pressure. They always have a smile at the ready and enjoy living. Such kids are grounded in reality but retain a sense of optimism.

Whenever a toddler reaches a milestone in his development, he feels a sense of accomplishment and this bolsters his self esteem. The concept of a success following persistent effort begins at a very young age; for example, rolling over after many unsuccessful attempts, or getting the spoonful of food into his mouth after many spills.

Can Do Attitude

Toilet training is another milestone achievement and can  help to create a  "can do" attitude in your child.

Here are some tips that can help foster self esteem in your child-a crucial component of potty training success:

Honest praise

Always praise your child's accomplishments but be honest. If your child wets his pants during training, don't tell him you know it won't happen again, which may or may not be true. Instead, you can praise his efforts as follows, "I love that you tried so hard to stay dry."

Don't be hard on yourself

Remember that your child follows your example. If you're too harsh or pessimistic about your own achievements, your child will learn to mirror your reactions. If you remain upbeat about your abilities, he, too, will develop healthy feelings of accomplishment.

Identify negative attitudes and work on them

If your child says, "I can't stay dry," your response should be, "Staying dry is very hard, and we will work on it together until you succeed. I'm proud of you for trying so hard to be dry."


Don't overdo it. Give your child hugs, kisses, smiles, and praise often, but be honest and don't overdo it or he'll suspect it's all an act.

Look for ways to praise him

Watch for opportunities to give honest praise. For example, you might say, "I'm proud of you for leaving your drawing to go to the potty. You were having fun, but you still went to the potty!"

Create a safe and nurturing environment

A child can't develop self esteem in an insecure atmosphere. Making him feel bad about being wet or having a movement in his pants will lead to his adopting an "I can't" attitude.

Encourage your child to help others

Mentoring is a wonderful way to foster self esteem. If you teach your child to share, for instance, that gives you an opportunity to state, "I am so proud of you for showing your friend how you stay dry. It is very nice of you to show him how to do that and I think you are a good friend."


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