Bedtime Stalling Tactic #74 –  Toilet Time

When toilet use is new to children, parents want to always accommodate a request to go. But what if you suspect they’re trying to postpone bedtime by asking to use the toilet again? 

The scene: 

Your 3-year-olds’ bedtime routine is finally finished. Lights out, final kiss goodnight. Your 2 hours of freedom is within reach as you walk out the door, and your child says, “I have to pee”.

You’re pretty sure they don’t actually need to go again. 

Your daily patience allotment has been used up, so you can’t exactly hide the fact that you’re annoyed when you take them back to the toilet. After a couple of minutes of sitting on the toilet, they manage to squeeze out one millilitre of pee, like a dog who always has a little more.

Your child knows that you won’t ignore this request to use the toilet. And now they know that you’re annoyed – logged as a new tool in the button-pressing department.

Give them a potty for their bedroom

To avoid this power struggle, teach them how to use a bedroom potty independently. This works best for number 1. Number 2 might still require some assistance. If they are able to use the potty independently, they will be free to use it whenever they feel the need. This gives priority to their new skills of listening to their body, understanding sensations, and taking care of an important need on their own.

Sometimes it will impact sleep and that’s okay. It’s usually a short-lived interruption.

We always want to avoid power struggles with our children, but some are more important to avoid than others – like the ones that deal with food and toilet stuff. I learned this the hard way.

So help your child to practice this skill of independent potty or toilet use. They won’t use it as a stalling tactic if you are not there to witness it, and it can’t be used in a power struggle if you’re totally fine with it. Plus there’s the added bonus of your child feeling confident about this new skill and freedom.

Now to tackle the 183 other bedtime stalling tactics…