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3 Temperaments to Consider When Potty Training


On today’s episode of the Gentle Parenting Show, Kim is once again joined by Alexis Granelli – her co-creator of the Gentle Potty Course. Today Kim and Alexis address why they believe a child’s temperament is a huge factor in the success of potty training. They also address a parent’s temperament and how to avoid power struggles in potty coaching. Together they discuss 3 main temperaments that are outlined in the Gentle Potty Course. 

Potty Training an Alert Child 

Alert children are strong-willed, have strong reactions, and do not want to fail. These are all things to remember when potty training these little ones! There are so many tips in the course for this type of temperament, but one that they give to parents is to take time to check in with themselves. Ask yourself if you find that you are getting into a power struggle with your child because of your own desire to succeed. In these situations, focus on your child’s desire rather than your own. In the course, Kim and Alexis give scripts to follow when potty training these children. 

Potty Training an Adaptive Child 

An adaptive child is goal-oriented, can follow easily, and desires praise. For this kind of child, Kim and Alexis suggest using descriptive praise. Don’t get stuck in the routine of “good boy” or “good girl” praise. Instead, specifically call out each skill they master as they do it. Praise them for being able to climb up to the potty, pull up their pants, etc. If you have an adaptive personality as a parent, work to help your child achieve their own goals, NOT your goals or timetables that you’ve set as a parent. 

Potty Training a Sensitive Child 

Sensitive children often get anxious when trying new things, and have a shy and serious approach. They don’t want to jump right in, but would rather dip their toes in one at a time. A helpful tip for parents of sensitive children is to give them privacy. You can show and demonstrate how to use the potty. But, it when it becomes time to actually go, give them the space they may need. 

Why Temperament Matters for Potty Success

Wouldn’t it be a game changer as a parent to stop and think about your child’s temperament? And have scripts and methods to approach your child while they’re learning this new and complex skill? Learning to use the potty is a lot of steps to remember for a little child. 

Like sleep training, Kim mentions that you have to work with both the baby’s and parent’s temperament to be successful. What may work for one family won’t work for yours – and that is ok! Knowing what you’re getting into by observing your child’s temperament before you start potty training will set you up for success. 

If you allow it, your child can be your biggest teacher in this potty coaching process. Both Kim and Alexis have been humbled by their own children when they learned that they couldn’t force their own way, but learn their child’s way of doing things. 

Something that’s discussed a lot in this course is how to talk about feelings in the body and mind when potty training. The course teaches about avoiding shame-style training and focusing on body sensations rather than readiness. 

The Gentle Potty Method – Intuitive Toilet Learning

You can sign up for the Gentle Potty Course TODAY and be on the road to a happy and connected potty training experience. 

The Sleep Lady®

The Sleep Lady is a brand, founded by Kim West, focusing on gentle sleep and parenting solutions. For over 25 years, we have helped hundreds of thousands of families get the rest they need, without leaving their children alone to cry it out. While we focus on sleep-training, we provide resources and tips for parents to help schedule their child’s day, feedings and more.

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The Gentle Parenting Show, created by Kim West - The Sleep Lady

In the Gentle Parenting Show, Kim West will interview parenting experts on everything from mindfulness to developmental milestones and how it relates to gentle parenting. Kim West is a LCSW-C, bestselling author and founder of a world-renowned gentle sleep training method. She and her team of Gentle Sleep Coaches have helped over 1 million families find gentle sleep through her courses, best-selling book and 1:1 coaching. Kim is the only baby sleep expert out there with 25-years of experience, and she’s seen everything when it comes to parenting.