Sunday, September 26, 2010

Potty Training

Questioner: Sarah

Subject: Potty training issues...

QUESTION: Good morning, Ms. Keller!

I am hoping you may have some suggestions for a next step in potty training my 2 year, 4 month old son.

He goes to a home daycare 4 days/week and his daycare provider started potty training him at 19 months; a little earlier than I was ready to start. I take responsibility for not being direct with her and just telling her I wasn't ready, but for whatever reason I didn't and wasn't fully supporting it at home.
As a result, I have a son that is fully potty trained at daycare, but as soon as I bring him home it all goes out the window. It's not that he won't use the potty at all, but it is just very random the way some days he'll wear his big boy underwear all day until bed time with no accidents and some times he will just pee all over the place.

He comes home with big boy underwear and usually doesn't get a diaper until he's had multiple accidents and I've just given up for the day or when I know we'll be away from a potty for a while. If he doesn't wear a diaper in public he has accidents so I've just kept him in diapers when we go out.

I've chosen to not worry about it at this point because I've found myself getting so frustrated that I get angry with him too and I'd rather just not worry about than be frustrated all the time. I have a fairly high stress level these days and this seems like something that isn't worth the aggravation. I only get more upset with myself when I end up yelling at him for having an accident.

So, ultimately my question to you is this: is it ok to allow him to stay in undies at daycare and diapers at home until he starts to really show an interest in using the potty at home? Or am I setting myself up for a much harder time down the road? If it's imperative that I continue the training now that it's started, what is my next step?

I will add that even though he is trained at daycare, it took her a while and I know he is still such a baby, not as mature as some other 2 year olds I've met, and certainly nothing like his older sister was at this age. I don't believe in pushing or rushing it, but the sitter keeps pushing me to continue it at home too.

He also won't poop on the potty, but that's another issue entirely that I hope will resolve itself after he gets used to using the potty for peeing all the time.

Thank you in advance for your help!



ANSWER: Dear Sarah,

Okay first of all boys train slower than girls do. I think it is how we are physically not developmentally.

However, it can take up to two years to potty train a child and sometimes children still have accidents clear up to 5 years old.

Childcare push the toilet training because they have too many children to care for and they don't like the mess or the time it takes to have children in diapers. It is not child centered or child focused. Don't be intimidated by your child care, remember only one of you is being paid to provide the service.

As for whether or not you continue with it at home. It will take longer if the child care is doing one thing and you are doing another. You will increase your frustration with the whole process. If you don't want to potty train or be that rigid then make other arrangements for child care with someone or a business that will support your parenting style. However, consistency with any child/caregiving practice is essential. Children feel insecure when they don't know what to expect from adults.

Also, check out the books for children on potty training, behavior and expressing feelings. It really provides a lot of support for you when you read these books to your child.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller
http://mkaykeller.blogspot.com/

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for reassuring me. I've always heard that boys are harder/slower to train, but I didn't know that it's not uncommon to take so long. It's so hard not to compare our children even though we know darn well that no two kids are alike. I don't know why we parents torture ourselves like that always worrying about why our kids haven't reached a certain milestone yet, etc. :)

I'd like to ask if you have a specific methods or techniques that you feel work best for young boys that are resistant to the training. He does very well in his daycare I believe because it is such a controlled setting, but home is a totally different story. Errands, walking the dog, homework, etc all make it very difficult to be consistent especially since I am home alone with the kids most nights.

I would really appreciate any specifics you could provide. I don't remember it being this hard with my daughter. I really don't even remember how we did it. It's almost like it just kind of happened with very little effort. So I feel like this is my first time doing this even though he's our 2nd child as odd as that sounds.

p.s. On an unrelated note... after reading through some of your past questions I am very happy to see some of your answers about co-sleeping. This is quite the hot button topic at our house too since my son started sleeping with us a few months ago when we took away his crib. He didn't take to the new bed and gradually got used to falling asleep in our bed, then eventually started staying in our bed all night. I enjoy having him so close and feel that eventually there will be a time when he won't want to sleep in our bed and it will probably break my heart so I choose to enjoy it while it lasts.

Thanks again and have a great weekend!


Answer: Dear Sarah,

It is more about really monitoring yourself than the child. Here are the specifics:


1. Be consistent. If you are serious do this no less than every two hours.

2. Reward desired behavior. Give lots of praise or attention after he goes in the potty. My grand-daughter and I had a little dance and song after she went to the potty. We sang a ditty about peeing in the potty and really had some fun. We also put little dots on the inside of her wrist everytime she went to the potty. She loved that one too.

3. IGNORE accidents. Do not give eye contact, or make any sounds or show responses with your body language. Just clean it up and move on.....this is crucial. Negative reinforcement of any kind also increased undesired behaviors!

4. Teach Sign language. There are signs for going to the potty. The more comfortable a child feels in communicating the better the results.

Best Wishes!

M  Kay Keller