Potty Training Help!
posted at 4/20/2009 11:39 AM EDTMy son is 3 years and 9 months old and we are having a lot of difficulty getting him to use the potty. He has good days and bad days but the bad are seriously out weighing the good these days. I know if does not help that we also have an 8 week old baby who I am breast feeding. We need to get him trained for preschool in the Fall. Also, he is a big kid and is growing out of the largest size pull up (not to mention we could really use the money we are spending on them). We have tried incentives and taking things away neither have worked. I've tried setting a timer to remind us to try the potty. Just this morning I got him into the bath room he wanted privacy so he shut the door. I went to check on him and he had decided to brush his teeth. Well, in the mean time he went in his pull up. He just didn't care. I am at my wits end. He'll be the text book case for future parents of the boy who went to college not potty trained! Do you have any tips?
Potty Training Help!
posted at 4/20/2009 11:39 AM EDTCTDC - I think you should write a book! Thanks for the response. I wish our former childcare center helped out with potty training. This would have been done a while ago. Oh well!
Potty Training Help!
posted at 4/20/2009 11:39 AM EDTCTDC: I was reading your post and this sentence just made me laugh:
"He'll wear them forever, and the next ones you have to buy will (Ihope) be the real kind with superheros and stuff on them, the real thinkind that Daddy wears."
An image of a grown man wearing tighty-whitey style underwear with superheroes on them popped into my head...and now it won't go away...and I keep laughing to myself...and can't get rid of the image.... In a weird way, this has been the highlight of my day so far :) Thanks!
Potty Training Help!
posted at 4/20/2009 11:39 AM EDT
I was very successful training two boys - but had some really great advice from older moms.� Hope these work for you:make a list of his "heroes" that are already potty trained - dad, grandpa, favorite neighbor, uncle...and talk about them casually over a week or two.� They love imitating their heroes. take an entire weekend without any distractions and make it "the" weekend.� Put the potty in the kitchen - some place easy to get to - and put your son in big boy pants -�DON'T use�the pullups.� If they are uncomfortable, they tell you they are wet.� Tell your son he is going to be like his heroes and learn how to use the potty.� Explain what you want from him, sit him on the potty, and then cheer and clap.� Give him�his�favorite drink� and then let him go about his "regular" play routine.� Give him more to drink periodically but every time they sit on the potty, give them a drink as a reward.� this should be something�he really likes.� Cheer and clap for him, too.� Next, any time he actually GOES on the potty, give him one or two M&Ms. (I know, rewarding with food is not PC) only give the m&ms when you have success on the potty.� Anytime he has an "accident" don't yell or disapprove, just say, oh, we need to clean you up - have�him change�his own pants - with your help - and talk some more about how�his heroes use the potty.� This gets tedious for you, but makes a huge impact on them.� If you lose patience, it will set you back, so that's why staying home and focusing on the potty task is important.� My guys trained without stress at 23 and 26 months.� Once you start - don't give up.� If you are stress free and consistent, I guarantee you will see positive improvement by the time the weekend is over!!� Also - if you use this method - you cannot go back to pullups afterward - it sends mixed messages and you will lose what you gained.
Potty Training Help!
posted at 4/20/2009 11:39 AM EDTThanks for all of your responses. We ended up doing what we did with bottles and the pacifier. I told DS that on X day he wouldn't wear pull-ups unless he was in bed. The first few days were tough. I eventually had to hide the pull-ups and stop using them at nap. He has been doing really well for the last 2 weeks or so. The max has been 3 pairs of underwear a day. Mostly poop accidents. We haven't mastered that yet. But we usually get him to the potty to finish (sorry if that's TMI). One more thing we have to do is get him into underwear first thing in the AM. We have been a little lax at that but yesterday he was still wearing his pull-up and he went to the potty to pee so that is really good. There is a ton of cheering going on around here for going to the bathroom! He was over all the bribe techniques so I am happy that we haven't really needed them. The carrot at the moment is going to the store to buy more underwear with Daddy.
Potty Training Help!
posted at 4/20/2009 11:39 AM EDTFirst off, this is long. Sorry.
Second, you're going to have to relax and not worry about the fall preschool deadline. Ha ha, not easy to do, is it? I know.... you have probably already counted in your head and with each passing day say to yourself "only 47 more days to get him trained..." this is so NOT easy. But really, it should take only 1 or 2 weeks once you bite the bullet and enter the potty training zone to get him reasonably trained. (reasonably trained means that he can hold it a few hours, has accidents only once every other day and isnt' fighting you tooth and nail). It'll then take a month or so after that so he's really trained, and you can kind of trust him (with LOTS of reminders).
So from someone who has engaged in mucho-potty training (was a toddler teacher for years, now a childcare director), my advice:
put him in underwear during the day. not during naptime and not at bedtime right now, it's just too hard to hold in when you're sleeping. That'll come with time and with age and with development. But the daytime? all day, every day, in underwear underwear underwear. Pull-ups are the biggest freakin' CON by Huggies and Pampers, I can not tell you. If it sounds like, feels like and works like a disposable diaper, it must be a diaper.... and 3 yr olds are very smart cookies.
your son (and all children) need to feel that "cold, wet, my socks, pants, underwear and sneakers are soggy and squishy and this ain't pleasant" feeling that only comes from wetting yourself. Certainly not as a punishment, but as a natural consequence to not holding it and then letting it go in the toilet. Keeping your pullup dry just isn't enough of a reward, since they don't feel very wet when they are, what with the fabo wetness wicking away from skin so you're not uncomfortable that is inherent with disposable diapers and pullups. (the easiest child I ever trained wore cloth diapers - she KNEW what it meant to be wet!)
So pick a weekend and seriously don't leave the house except to play in the yard so you can focus on training, and put underwear on Sat. AM first thing as he gets dressed. Tell him he's a big boy and it's time to wear underwear, just like Daddy and Mommy and whomever (whether it's heros or his teachers at school, the garbage guy he worships, whatever). Tell him that when he feels like he needs to pee or poop, he needs to come in and do it here. Yes, make the potty easy to get to - that can be on the same floor as he's playing, or the toilet if he hates the potty (not all people like potty chairs). Then every 45 minutes tell him it's time to use the toilet. And just before you go outside to play. And before naptime. And before meals and snacks. Now, these are not requests, pleas, or bargaining. They are stated like this "Ryan, when we are done with this puzzle it will be time to go use the toilet." Or "when I'm finished nursing your sister/brother it's time to use the potty." "before we go to play outside, it's time to use the potty." etc.
Did you hear the lack of question in that phrase? Practice that. He does NOT get to bargain with you - I'll go if I get my privacy, I'll go after a snack, I don't havta go, I reeeeeelllly don't, Mom, honest, blah blah. Also, since you did NOT ask a question, he does not need to answer it with no. I would personally not set a timer because often that makes kids nervous, they hear the ticking and get obsessed "I don't want to go potty, I don't want to" - but keep looking at your watch, you don't want hours to go by between potty trips because he'll have an accident. You REALLY want early and often success, not many many accidents because you'll both get frustrated.
And then, after the puzzle is done, the baby nursed, etc. you put the baby down and you walk with him to the potty, help him take down his pants and he sits. For a little while. Not forever. (I hate that "have them read books and sit for 20 minutes until they damn-well pee!" attitude - I think that makes potty training seem punitive, which it's not. BUT you should run the water in the faucet a trickle, because hearing that running water often makes you have to pee - both for kids and adults, LOL. And if he doesn't want to go potty and he fights you, you tell him, "I told you after the puzzle was done it was time, and now it's time." And you take him, by any means necessary, to the potty. Because you're the adult and you know better - he doesn't get to make this decision, because he'll have an accident. But really, he's not out to thwart you, you just have to make up your mind that it's non-negotiable, like wearing a seatbelt and sitting in his carseat. And once he realizes he can't bargain and negotiate his way out of it, he'll stop fighting it.
If he pees or poops, say how wonderful it is, Oh, Ryan, you peed in the potty just like Daddy, or superman, or whomever, how wonderful! You must be so proud! Then he hops down, flushes (unless that scares or upsets him, then you do it later when he's out of ear-shot), washes his hands, and goes back to the fun activity he was doing. If he doesn't pee/poop, then you say OK, good for you for trying. (because trying is really important, if you try a few times you will pee eventually).
I would keep up the amount he drinks, and allow him more than normal, because if he pees alot in the potty and gets all that positive attention, it will be good positive reinforcement. I actually like the idea of having him drink when on the potty, because the more liquid the more need to pee. I'd never heard or done that, but cool idea.
Now, he will have accidents. Alot of accidents. And you will NOT scream, rant, sigh, roll your eyes or make comments about "I WISH you would stop being so stubborn" or whatever - in short, you will not show anger - calmly help him change - but don't do it for him, he needs to kind of get that's it's his problem, not your problem - and say 'next time I'm sure you'll hold it until you get to the potty.'
What kind of underwear should you buy? At the beginning, the super-thick training pants, they even now have them with cool decorations, they aren't just white anymore. They are thick, help collect the pee, the poop, etc. and make changing a bit less distasteful. The thin kind we wear are for when he's really toilet trained, probably in 6 months, because those just aren't absorbent and you'll lose a couch!
The trick is consistency - he must wear underwear all the time, not just when it's convenient. Hence the 'staying home all weekend' thing to help those first few days (if you could take the monday or friday off and not have him go to childcare so much the better). and, once you allow yourself out of the house with him in underwear, make those trips incredibly short - not an all-day shopping trip to the mall, that's just a recipe for disaster. do the big shop at Stop and Shop when he's not with you so you dont' have to worry about him having an accident.
Also, don't believe a word he says when he says/argues he "doesn't have to go" - he might not have to, but often that phrase, when spoken by a very early potty-trainer is accompanied moments later by the sound of peeing in the pants and a sad looking chlid's face. He might not have to, but he most likely just doesn't want to interrupt his activity.
Finally, I will say that I think the easiest window of opportunity for potty training is when a child is in the 2s, between 24 and 36 months. Because they are driven by your happiness and praise, and they also haven't quite figured out that when you go potty you must leave your activities and stuff. By 31/2 yrs old they are capable (and will) think "using the potty means I gotta leave my cool legos, go all the way up there, use the stupid thing, wash my hands, then come back down. OR I could just use my diapers which are right here, so handy! cool, I'll do that." And so it goes. Hence my suggestion that you kill those diapers for daytime and bite the toilet training bullet and put underwear on.
Let me see.... any other suggestions? By so many freakin' pairs of underwear it's not funny. 30 pairs! because some you'll just want to throw the heck away after a BM accident. and because you must NOT, not once, not ever, NEVER run out of underwear and just put on diapers/pullups until you get to the store. You can't backslide once you've bitten the bullet. And with a newborn you don't want to do laundry every day! So I say 30 pairs of underwear. He'll wear them forever, and the next ones you have to buy will (I hope) be the real kind with superheros and stuff on them, the real thin kind that Daddy wears.
Oh, one more thing! This week, before you take the diapers off and bite the bullet, begin to require good potty trained habits re: use of potty. That is, it is a requirement (said in a matter of fact no arguments or plea bargaining voice) that he use the potty at these times: immediately after getting up in the AM, before he goes outside, the minute you get back from being outside or in the car, bfefore lunch, before naptime, after naptime, before dinner, after dinner, and before bedtime. Oh, and once getting to childcare (you do it, not expect the teachers to do it, and yes, this will add 5 or 6 minutes to your drop off routine so plan for it) and also before leaving childcare and getting in the car. Because it's non-negotiable that a child must "try" before you go in the car, etc. etc. and you might as well get him in the habit now, when you don't have to worry about accidents.
Oh, and if you have a really long drive to childcare and can't stand the thought of him having an accident in the carseat (ick) then I'd say put a pullup on with his underwear on outside the pullup and say "we'll take the pullup off once we get to school' and then do it - don't make his teachers do it, dont' let him bargain the pullup on, blah blah. And then at the end of the day you can have him 'try' and then you put on the pullup only for the car ride home, the second you enter your home he 'tries' on the potty and removes his pullup. Nto an hour after getting home, immediately after getting home. You're only making this consession because cleaning a carseat is just horrific for you, and really uncomfortable for him to be locked down in a sea of pee. By having the underwear over the pullup, you can have him 'try' when you get to childcare and then you'll whip off that pullup and underwear are already on! ta da! It's not fair to ask the teachers to fight his underwear on him after he gets there, that's your job, you're the parent. The teachers will support your potty training, but they can't do it all.
Oh, and one more trick of the trade: if he's very involved in something when there are other kids around, offer to hold or keep the thing safe while he's in the potty. Because if you're all playing legos with a few kids, and you leave to (sigh) use the stupid potty, the kids might take the train you just worked so hard to make! So move that train up to the counter and under pain of death NOBODY is to touch that train, and then he can get it when he gets back. I do this all the time at the childcare center, because it's not fair to lose your stuff.
Yes, you're right, potty training is a lot of work - for you and for him. But the really hard work should only be for 1 or 2 weeks. You can do it! Go buy underwear at Target tomorrow, begin the potty training habit this week, and then next Saturday at 6am (one week from today), bite the bullet and go! I'll be thinking of you, I will! And in 2 weeks you can post of your son's success!
Potty Training Help!
posted at 4/20/2009 11:39 AM EDTI've got two boys--my eldest (now 6) potty trained at 3 years almost effortlessly. My youngest (3 years 10 months) is in the process of potty training, but like you, we have good days and bad days. What seems to help with my son is to remind him a lot to go (he gets easily distracted and forgets to use th potty). Also, he likes company, so he's more likely to go if someone is in the bathroom with him than if he goes on his own. A lot of the other things we've tried don't work consistently enough to be "the" key to successful potty training--getting him to pick out his own undies, encouraging him to be like his heroes, etc.
Since I've been through this once already, I figure he's on his own path and will potty train when he's good and ready. In your case, with a baby in the house, it may be a bid for attention, and once it sinks in that he's not being pushed aside for the baby, he may get back on track. As frustrating as it can be, you just have to remember that he has his own timetable, and it might not coincide with yours. But he'll get there....eventually. (At least, that's what I keep telling myself! :)