Toilet Training in Children (Anal Stage of Development)

The anal psychosexual stage of development extends from 1 to 3 years of age. It is a crucial stage in the child’s life that entails toilet training. The main concern is the process of elimination, bowel movement, and bladder control. The individual seeks pleasure independently of a biological function through the anus. 

If a child successfully navigates through this stage, learning bladder control will lead to higher self-esteem, cleanliness, and orderliness in adult life. Parents who praise, encourage positive results and reward appropriate toilet training make the child feel competent. The caregivers play a significant role in preparing the child to learn bladder control and conduct themselves appropriately in social settings.

Anal Fixtations

If the parents are harsh and strict during toilet training, it can lead to an anal-retentive personality in later life, marked by stubborn and stingy personality traits. The individual may become obsessed with cleanliness and neatness, develop obsessive-compulsive tendencies. If the parents are too lenient in toilet training, it can again lead to fixation in the form of an anal expulsive personality. An expulsive personality may be seen as being messy, careless, disorganized, and prone to emotional outbursts. Positive toilet training will lead to productivity, while harsh training can lead to messy, rigid, or destructive personalities.

The caregivers need to balance control and rewards to train the child in carrying out elimination activities effectively and appropriately. The balance that the parents strike will ultimately lead to confident and competent adults.