Due to further requests on this topic, I have extended the discussion.
You may find the next posting to be a great introduction to why I think music works. These are two examples of how this might work.
For my daughter, Cora, the real “hang up” for using the toilet was her “choosing” when to go to the bathroom, without being prompted by someone else (even if it was evident that she needed to go). So I came up with a Congo Line type dance song, very upbeat, and would just start singing and dancing my way to the potty. She would fall in line and dance and sing with me. When we arrived, I simply asked her if she would like to go first, or if she wanted me to go first. This gave her a choice, and she typically chose to go first. No stress, all fun! She was potty trained by 2 years old. For Grace (a Kindermusik student), the “hang up” was more the actual “doing her business on the potty”. Her mother, Marcy, had tried books, and singing a variety of songs, BUT the enthusiasm generated by “singing THAT particular song SHE LOVES from Kindermusik class was the magic solution to her having a “BM” in the potty”.
Just keep trying new things that you think will “spark” the interest of the child, and connect that positive emotion to the process.
Books, Stories, Role Play and Puppets?
Some children are more resistant to the idea of “being” potty trained. It really is such a personal thing, and requires a great deal of self control. As many relationship experts have said, you cannot make someone change. But you can set them up to CHOOSE it themselves.
An excellent way to make it less personal is to have them learn about the skill from a puppet, without being required to follow through at that moment. When introducing the puppet, make it more like an interesting story than a teaching session. Once they learn the “details” of the skill, they can teach it to a favorite doll or stuffed friend. I highly recommend using the same songs or “fun factor” methods with the puppet or doll, that you will be using for their potty training routines. The more fun it looks to the child, and the more they know about the skill, provides the cognitive and emotional support they need. Then THEY can figure out, “Hey, maybe I could do this”, and are willing to try.
It is important to be patient, continue these play times, and WAIT for that A-Ha moment. Self control comes best from within. A note of caution, if these play times elicit anything other than a joyful response from the child, it may be better to try another method, or wait for a month or two before re-introducing the idea. The real benefit of using music, puppets, and role play, is that they provide a lot of “tools” that parents can use to introduce, teach, and support the child through the learning process, pairing it with positive emotions, rather than stressful emotions. It does require some planning, and possibly adapting the plan – trying different tools – to suit each individual child, but it is well worth the effort.