My son is 3 years and 4 months. He has expressed only a vague interest in potty training and his daycare and we (mom and dad) are trying to encourage him. But what's most frustrating is that when he makes a poop in his diaper, he lies where we can smell it and ask "do you have a poop?" "No" "I know you do" "no I don't" and this goes on and on. Finally after periods of time ranging from minutes to hours, he will admit he has a poop and let us change him. He's getting too heavy and strong for me to force him to a place where I can change him. Any suggestions for getting him to be truthful and do you think this is related to reluctant potty training? Thanks in advance, I look forward to your feedback.
From: Rachel, Billerica, MA
You are enabling him to lie when you ask, "Do you have a poop?" You know he has a poop. You can smell it. In fact, you're not only enabling him to lie, you're also ceding control to him. Instead:
1. Make statements of fact: "I smell a poop." Pause. "I bet it feels icky to have a poop in your diaper." Pause.
2. Give him control: "Do you want me to change it now, or in five minutes?" Of course, he'll choose five minutes.
3. Set a timer. It's objective. "OK. Here's the deal. When the timer says five minutes, we'll change. Deal?" High five the deal.
4. Timer goes off. Upbeat voice: "OK! Mr. Timer says it's time." He'll likely balk. Do not negotiate. Sound slightly disappointed: "Oh. I thought we had a deal." Pause. "Well, that poop smells unpleasant to me. I can't be with you/play with you until we change that unpleasant-smelling poop." Leave his side (assuming he is safe), including leaving the room.
5. He will likely be furious. Your job is to not react. Stay cool & calm: "I know. I want to play, too. But that poop! Ew" Be clear it is not him you are avoiding, but the smelly poop. Be clear he is not a bad boy, it's just that he has a smelly poop. In fact, be clear that everyone has smelly poops: "When I make a smelly poop, it goes right down the toilet. Three cheers for toilets!" Etc. At some point -- and you may have to wait this out the first few times -- he will run through his tantrum and ask you change the diaper. Be gracious when that happens: "Good idea! Let's get rid of this smelly poop." Here's his reward: "Now we can be together again!"
Once he stops resisting, and once he's exhibiting the signs of readiness, you can move to the next step, which is to ask him in the morning, "Do you want today to be a diaper day or an underpants day?"
As I've said in this space before, boys are often "late" to train. Please read this earlier posting for more suggestions.
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