By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C
We have a fantastic Facebook community where people can come and ask their potty training questions and get some support around the challenges sometimes faced during the training process. Here are a few recent topics that our readers want to know more about! I’ve given my spin on it. What’s your advice?
My sons is doing real good with using the potty during the day and while he’s sleeping. But once he’s up for the day, he goes in his bed then come tell me he peed. Any advice? (Keisha B.)
First – congratulations! It sounds like you’ve already hit two big milestones! How would you feel about a little portable potty at his bedside for now? I wonder if when he wakes up he has to go really badly and isn’t quite alert enough to make it all the way to the potty.
Or, how about leaving a surprise in the bathroom for him to find each morning? A simple toy, a healthy treat, a storybook… what do you think he would love to find? If he knows there will be a surprise waiting for him, he might be motivated to go check it out. Another option would be for you to be the keeper of the treat and right after he goes he has to run in and tell you.
The next two questions are along the same lines…
My 3 1/2 year old seems perfectly content to continue going in his pull up. Nothing works for rewards. I’ve tried stickers, candy, iPod play time. Any advice? (Sandi H.)
How do you get your toddler to understand to go potty when they feel they have to go? My son seems to tell me just as he is going in his pull up. (Misty H.)
Honestly – ditch the pull-ups! They are great for some kids. And certainly they can be helpful in a pinch, or if you need to be out for an extended period of time running errands, traveling, etc. But, the absorbent pull-ups also feel a whole lot like diapers. To a child still learning to read body cues, there may be little physical motivation to get to the potty in time.
When the inevitable wet accidents do happen, have your child take part in the clean up. It’s okay for them to handle the wet mess (you’ll need to handle solids for sanitary reasons). Have the child help wipe up and then go flush and wash just as if they had made it into the potty. Keep the routine consistent, even though the target wasn’t quite hit. We have a great free download for potty routine HERE.
My question is how do you convince a child who would rather scratch your eyes out haw sit on the toilet to sit and try? My 3 1/2 year old wants to train, but if I ask him to sit it is the end of he world. If he chooses to sit he is happy, but if I ask him to before going outside or to bed, he is sooo angry and physically fights me to keep off the toilet. (Nik A)
Oh dear, it sounds like he may be flexing his independence a bit! They talk about the terrible twos, but I personally found late threes (and fours) to be more challenging!
So… how about a game? Are you dedicated to having him sit? If you let him stand just like a big guy, he may like that. In addition, letting him stand can set you up for a game that boys love. Play “Sink the Cheerios!” (or fruit loops, or whatever else is inexpensive and floats and flushes). Throw a few pieces of cereal in the toilet water and tell him to aim and sink them with pee. Another option is to squirt some blue food coloring into the water. When he pees into it (yellow), the water “magically” turns green. He can sit for that one if you’d like.
Another thing you may want to try is taking him at specific intervals, but instead of it being your idea, which he seems to be resisting right now, use a timer or alarm. If you use your phone, let him choose a special ring tone he likes. Set the alarm for whatever interval seems appropriate for him (30 minutes, an hour, etc.), and also set it for 10 minutes before you need to leave the house. Make it a game: when the music goes off it is POTTY TIME – YAY!!
And speaking of Potty Time – if you have a smart phone, you may find the features on our free app helpful. You can find the download for that HERE.