Four Types of Potty Training Personalities
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The Four Types of Potty Training Personalities

Mayfair by Bemis Next Step Two built in potty seat in bathroom next to small white vanity

What Kind of Potty Trainers Do You Have?

When it comes time for potty training, your toddler’s personality plays a role in the process! It’s much different potty training a laid-back child than it is one with headstrong tendencies. Both have their own habits and traits, and it’s important to consider them as you begin potty training.

First, make sure your toddler is ready for potty training. Next, take comfort in the fact that you know your child better than anyone – what motivates him, what her boundaries are, and how he responds to new situations. Last, remember that potty training is a partnership! And like any partnership, there are ups and downs, with celebrations along the way.

This knowledge will let you guide your child through the potty training process, and the more you know, the more confident you’ll both feel! Let’s take a look at four different types of personalities and how they impact potty training.


The Absent-Minded Child

Toddler girl wearing yellow shirt sitting in cardboard box pretending it's an airplaneDreamy and imaginative, the absent-minded child lives in a world of possibilities and distractions. They’re intelligent; they may just find it hard to focus on the task at hand, if they remember to do it at all!

If you have to repeat instructions several times, or find that your toddler is content playing in her own little world, you may have an absent-minded child.

How to successfully negotiate potty training?

  • Use simple instructions. Multiple steps are likely too much to remember, so one instruction at a time works best.
  • Try the alarm on your phone or a timer. This serves as an audible reminder that it’s time to sit on the toilet. It also lets you off the hook for sounding naggy and repetitive.
  • Be patient. Your absent-minded toddler is focused on what’s important to him, so he’ll need your patience to help him navigate potty training.


The Frightened Toileter

Mother wearing brown shirt comforting sniffling toddler boy on her lap

This child may play like crazy all day, but turn terrified at the thought of going poop in the toilet. She may fear being flushed down because the swirling water and sounds are scary. Either way, these fears can turn potty training into a tense time.

It’s going to take patience on your part to gently guide your toddler through the landmines she’s convinced are waiting near the toilet, but don’t give up! Avoiding potty training will only make it more difficult as your child gets older.


 How to successfully negotiate potty training:

  • Make it fun! Squirt a few drops of blue food coloring into the toilet water. As your child pees, the water will turn green. If your child is fearful of the flushing, this experiment turns a tense moment into something fun and different.
  • If your child is afraid of falling in the toilet, try our NextStep2®. The plastic ring is sized just right for toddlers, and the seat is firmly attached to the bowl, allowing your child to sit securely.
  • Never force your toddler to go. The diaper has been a “safe” place to go to the bathroom since birth, so giving it up can feel scary. Your patience and encouragement are what she needs to tackle this big step!


The Strong-Willed Child

If your child is strong-willed, you likely already know it! Tell them to do something and they may do the opposite. Being strong-willed doesn’t mean they’re naughty; it just means these children are focused on doing things on their own terms.

While this spirit is commendable, it can also be frustrating when it comes to potty training. Trying to get your strong-willed toddler to cooperate with a schedule can backfire; so can direct instructions to do something.

How do you make this work in your favor? 

Feisty toddler girl with pursed lips and index finger raised

  • Let them make decisions. If a notification bell works best to let your toddler know when it’s time to use the toilet, let her choose the sound and where to set the device.
  • If you choose a reward system (link to article), give him the final choice from several you’ve pre-selected.
  • If resistance crops up, use your child’s strong-willed tendencies to your favor. “The sooner you sit on the toilet, the sooner you can get back to playing.” Too much explaining can backfire, so keep it simple and straightforward.
  • Give them tools they can use! Our NextStep2™ is sized for toddlers, with a plastic child ring that secures magnetically. Their little fingers can easily raise and lower the ring, for an important sense of accomplishment.


The Withholder

While this isn't necessarily a personality "type," it is a fairly common potty training problem. If toddlers have a difficult bowel movement or feel pain during urination, they sometimes equate using the toilet to these experiences. This can leave them unwilling or afraid to use the toilet. Holding in stool increases the risk of constipation which, in turn, increases the discomfort your toddler feels when he tries to go poo.

It’s important to make sure that your toddler drinks enough fluids during the day and eats food that promotes healthy digestive activity.

Front view of Little to Big built in potty seat on white toiletHow to help your child potty train if this is happening? 

  • First, make sure there isn’t a medical issue that needs to be addressed. Bring your child’s primary care provider into the discussion to learn more.
  • Be patient! If your child is constipated, your patience will help him feel more comfortable trying to use the toilet.
  • If constipation isn’t an issue and your toddler is withholding for other reasons, let her have a bowel movement in her diaper, but then empty the poop into the toilet to show her where it goes.

Together, you and your toddler are a great team, and because you know her better than anyone, you can work with her strengths to make potty training a success. And our potty training seats are your partner in the process! Choose between NextStep2 with a plastic child ring and enameled wood adult seat, or the Little2Big™, our all-plastic model. 

Need more potty training inspiration? Our library of potty training articles has plenty of helpful tips!