Friday, November 12, 2010

2 year old and potty training

Questioner: carol

Subject: My two year old son

Question: Hi there, I bascially have two questions. first my son is now 30 months and has been potty training. The daycare/school he goes to works with him, as well as we work with him at home. He was getting to the point he was about to master potty training (no accidents at school and asking to go), but still had issues learning to poopy at home in the toliet. Well the school recently told us Joey was not have any accidents, yet at home he decided to refuse to go on the potty at all. Pee or Poop. I am not sure why he has no problems at home, but at school he does not have accidents.
\So, I need to work on this, as well as trying to figure out how to encourage him to go poopy on the toliet. I have tried to implement, behavior mod, and using positive reinfor. But, it does not matter. He will tell you he had an accident and then tell you where he is suppose to go.

If we are out, he has no problems using the potty, at the store, resturant, etc. So, is it possible that he may not be having any accidents at school and only at home? how do I work on this?

Also, I was told recently by a therapist who evaluated my son, and the schools teacher that my son is to advanced for his present class. They will be moving him up. He is a very well mannered in school, can count, do his abc's, has full sentences, memorizes books, etc. So I do not doubt this and think he can handle this new class.

However, my son was developmentally delayed with walking and talking. He had therapy to work on walking, etc. He had tubes in his ears and now he has been talking since March. We have been told since he was younger (even by the peds doctor) that he was more advanced then others his age.

The biggest issue now is that he is stubborn to a fault. At school he is an angel, listens, is polite, etc. At home, his favorite word is no. Time out works on somethings, but other things it does not. I have taken 3 years of child psychology classes (my undergrad is in Pschology) specializing in children.

I have worked with Autistic Children/Downs doing Discrete Trial Therapy. But, yet I am having issues, with teaching my own son to sit nice and to listen at all times. But, he does say please, thank you, always to everyone. Gives hugs and kisses, and tends to his 1 year old sister. When she cries, he gets her cup, a diaper, his baby, etc. So he is a sweet child. Just, strong willed. My peds doctor said to read the book by Dobson, for strong willed children. But, I do not believe in hitting. I prefer how to behave so your children do to.

But, there is a book that I read, that teaches about giving a strong willed child choices. We use that in almost all cases, from choosing what to eat, to if he wants time out or ..... I just can not get him to stop saying no (even when he means yes) and how to sit nice and quiet.

I am sorry I am all over with this, as I am anxious. I grew up in a family who did not know the right way to raise children. My mom was abusive and never tried to learn the right ways to raise her kids. I decided to stop the cycle and learn the right way, so I can set an example to my children. I have taken classes, and have learn a lot of patiences. But, I do not know what to do, when I hit a road block. It is frustrating, and it is for my husband as well. I do not believe in yelling or hitting.

I really could use some advices on different matters. When I tried to go to therapist for Joey, they tell me to use a wooden spoon, and I do not want to hit. Then I have other extreme. So, I need someone not to tell me to read all these books, as I have not only read them, written my opinions for classes. I need someone who can give me a little more direction my my little einstein/strong willed little boy.

Please, if you can help, please do. I will take any advice. Especially about the potty training.


Answer: Dear Carol:

When children are abused as children and then they become parents themselves they struggle to know what to do and when to do it with their own children. I am so glad you posted here today. Parenting under the best of conditions is challenging parenting without a net or a good example is truly the most challenging thing you will face. I hear your struggle and you want what is best for him. Under stress you will want to resort to what you know from your own childhood. You are to be commended for your own PERSEVERANCE.

DO NOT HIT the 3 year old under any conditions. Anyone who tells you to do so is not a competent professional. As for Dr. Dobsons book on strong willed children I read his book many years ago when my son was a tot as well. I would not train my dogs using the good Dr's advice.

Everything you tell me about your 3 year old is says he is almost PERFECT except for a few details. I am more concerned that you see him as being strong willed and this being a bad thing. He PERSEVERES...this is a good trait.

As for the giving him choices this is the best parenting tool any parent can give a child who wants a lifetime relationship with their child and who wants to see them turn into responsible productive adults. What I mean by choices is this, you stay in control. Give him two choices you can live with he can have this cereal or that cereal, he can play with this toy or that toy, etc.....

As for the potty training. Maybe he has regressed a little. He is after almost perfect! Someone should have told you that boys often take longer than girls to potty train. They may have accidents until they are 4 or 5 years of age. If he won't go to the bathroom at home, put him in pull ups until he gets back to going at home again. If he has regressed the pull ups will be comforting and he will eventually let them go.

When was the last time you heard of a 6 year old going to school in diapers?

Be better to yourself and to him. He cannot make up for what you feel you are lacking as a parent. You need to build yourself up and tell yourself what an incredible job you are doing. You will make mistakes however don't take it out on him. He will forgive you as he is a child however later on you will have a hard time forgiving yourself as your standards are so high.

You might want to talk to a counselor about not wanting to raise him like you were raised (not the counselor you mentioned) as you are putting alot of pressure on yourself and your son. Relax a little bit and have fun with him. Life is too short and he won't be little for long to not have more fun with him. Be proud of your smart toddler and let him be a toddler.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thank you so much for answering my question. I do realize my son is not perfect and I do not expect him to be. Not one part of me ever loses my temper, even when he goes and goes and goes. I learned that I have a lot of patience and more then I thought I have. When I started doing discrete trial therapy, I realized that I was more patient then my mom and that I love kids.

The hardest part is, that my husband does lose his patience and yells sometimes. I of course, go in as the protector and ask him not to yell. (Remembering how it felt). I explain that he is only two and does not know better, nor does he understand being talked to like an adult.

I am adopted and I have a brother (my mothers biological son) who is 13 years older then I am. I have seen how he has turned out and what life was like for him as an adult and his children. I decided to be different. I thank god every day that for me, I have to work on the learned behaviors not the inherited genes that my family has.

Understand, that people who are on the outside, tend to say that those abused tend to abuse. Or, those abused go to the other extreme of being to much of a push over.

I am neither. I do not believe in hitting and this is not my parenting style. Democratic Or Authoritative is more my style. When I get stuck and I am not sure what to do, it is hard because everyone has their own thoughts and opinions. So, I read and learn. I think that I have come a long way. Joeys first peditrician commended my husband and I about how patient we were with Joey, as his colic was so bad. Some parents would have wanted to pull their hair out. But, the screaming and crying did not bother me. I curled up with the happiest baby on the block and healthy sleep habits, happy baby and my son started sleeping through the night at 3 months as well as my daughter did.

As for the strong willed child, this was something several doctors have told me. I know in many ways this is a good thing, as he will get far in life with the deterimination he has. It is just learning how to work with him in certain situations. Such as bedtime, and the entire saying no to things.

I do not think I lack as a parent, I think I am great parent, who has two well adjusted and smart children. I just do not want to be afraid to ask for guidance when I need it. Do you suggest any books?


Answer: Dear Carol:

You are so welcome. Yes I have several books to suggest. The "positive parenting," and the "Sensitive Child," an anything that Stephen Bavolek has on Nurturing Parenting at You can check the links page on my website there are some great sites with lots of wonderful information on children and parenting!

Now here me loud and clear. YOU ARE DOING A WONDERFUL JOB! I mean it when I say parenting when you did not get what you needed is an amazing feat! You really need to pat yourself on the back and give yourself great kudo's.

I do believe you will be just fine. Just remember while you are being such a good mom, to have lots of FUN. They are only little once.

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