Friday, January 20, 2012

Potty Training 3 year old

Hello, my daughter is almost 3 1/2. We have been potty training since she was about 2. I wasn't really "serious" at first. I just made the potty available to her and occasionally asked her to sit on it, it seemed like it was fun for her and she regularly pooped in it and occasionally peed. Then we moved when she was 2 1/2. She flatly refused to pee in potty chair for about 2 months, though she pooped in it everyday. 
She finally expressed some interest again and a week later she had a UTI. We had her evaluated for any problems with her kidneys or urinary tract and everything is working fine. The doctor recommended that we potty train her as soon as possible. The testing that was done used a catheter which was rather traumatic. So it didn't really surprise me that she refused to pee in the potty for awhile. At her 3 year check-up her doctor tutted at us because she was still wearing diapers. I had offered pull ups and underwear, but she was adamant about wearing diapers. The doctor said to just take the diapers away.

So, I used some stickers and plastic animals as prizes to get her to use the potty when I ask her to and to wear underwear. We even had a Bye Bye Diapers party (it was really a blast -- we did the same type of thing for her pacifier when she was 1 1/2). Unfortunately when she sees the garbage truck now, she says we should go get her diapers (though she doesn't seem really upset, just interested in getting them back). Also she would prefer to wear pull ups instead of underwear still. I encourage her to wear her underwear -- I praise her and use stickers and little plastic animals to keep her interested in the underwear.

Now we are finally getting near my actual question. So,she is wearing underwear and pooping in the potty all the time and peeing most of the time. The "problem" is, that if I don't tell her it is time to go to the potty to pee (she always tells me when she has to poop), she just pees her pants and then takes them off. Occasionally she will tell me she has to go, but not regularly. I keep the potty with us as we play and work around the house -- so it is always at hand.

I don't really know what to do next. Should we just keep doing what we are doing? Reminding and insisting that it is time to go potty? Should I let her have her pull ups back when she wants them? Should we spend a lot of time outside this summer and let her have accidents??

Sorry for the life story. Thank you in advance for any light you can shed on this subject.

Dear Sara:

Don't apologize if you will read past posting by other parents you will find comfort that you are not alone. Your daughter has had some setbacks. This is not the end of the world and I promise she will be potty trained by the first grade. :)

Do what works. Do not allow anyone else to tutted you. Raised eyebrows, discouraging looks, sighs and other emotional cues of disapproval are not about your daughter. You don't need that type of "support" and neither does your daughter.

Whatever works keep doing it as long as it is not creating more stress for either of you. Sometimes potty training becomes a power struggle and I advise parents to back off and come at it again later. If she spends anytime at all with other children she will figure it out on her own.

I also suggest books. They have cute little books now about going to the bathroom. There is nothing wrong with reminding her. Sometimes I have to remind myself when I am busy and don't want to stop what I am doing. I am not making fun just trying to get you to realize this is not as big of a deal as we are taught to make it. She will take this into her own hands as soon as she is physically and emotionally ready and that can be different for most children. Especially when they have had medical trauma.

Relax and remember to have lots of fun with her these days pass too quickly.

M Kay Keller

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