Toilet training and personality

Toilet training is a transition from one habit to another. In modern society, when a baby is born, we put a diaper on him and actually “make it clear” to him that here he is invited to pee  and poop, anytime and anywhere as he pleases.

However, at a later stage, after about a year or more in which he strictly followed the guidance of this social norm, and after getting used to living in complete harmony with his personal toilets, his parents turn to him again and announce that the norm has changed – no more pooping and peeing anytime and anywhere. From now on, pooping and peeing  are done elsewhere – in the toilet. It might be possible to compare this to a situation where we had to start learning to stop in green and drive in red or maybe switch to driving on the left side of the road instead of on the right side.

Many parents will probably agree that the task of changing and moving from one habit to another can be extremely difficult for adults. For example – eating habits or quitting smoking. Many and good of us yearn to make a change in these areas out of a clear recognition of the importance of health and aesthetics and yet fail again and again. All the more so changing habits can be difficult for children.

  • As stated earlier, some of the children have long since received clear hints on the subject. They saw and also understood that their parents, siblings, children in kindergarten and so on use the toilet to pee and poop and then as in other areas, began to develop a need and desire to be like them. Out of this, this transition from pooping and peeing in a diaper to using a toilet, for them, is extremely simple. Conversely with regard to another and significant part of the children, this transition is not simple at all. They have developed a strong dependence on the diaper. It has become the source of a sense of security and the idea of parting from it is perceived as threatening .


The role of parents in this complex transition task from diaper to toilet use is particularly compelling and challenging. The parents are in fact the messengers of society and they are in charge of imparting the social norms to their children in the first years of development. Toilet training is one of the first educational events. This is the task of imparting a social norm.

In their role the parents are the ones who present the new requirements, they are the facilitators, teachers and mentors and they are also the ones who encourage success on the one hand and support and comfort in cases of failures. Out of their deep emotional involvement in the process they are also the ones called to overcome anger and frustration and allow for the creation of an atmosphere of harmony and support for the children. This is an experience that, when successful, makes a significant contribution to shaping the image of the parents in the eyes of the child. On the one they are authoritative and on the other hand supportive, assisting, protective, containing and encouraging

When it fails it can damage this image.

And for the child, a harmonious transition and toilet training procedure will contribute and lead to the strengthening of his confidence and self-image. On the other hand, a transition involving confrontations and anger will sabotage and impair the child’s developing personality, self-image and self-confidence.