Sunday, December 9, 2012

Potty training issues

Dear Kay:

My daughter became potty trained about when she was about three years old.  Now at 3 1/2 she is pooping in her pants again. She still pees in the potty without incident, but she will do everything in her power now to not poop on the potty. She did it fine for about four months then she just started going in her pants again. I have tried everything I can think off to get her to go again and nothing is working. My husband and I are going through a separation, but that is a recent happening, she started slipping long before any of that started, so my question is how do I re-potty train her and why would she back track? She did have a lot of issues with constipation, she was on medication for awhile, but that is under control now.
Thanks,

Stacy


Dear Stacy

Sometimes little ones just regress. There is no magic cure. Just ignore it and outwait her. It is very important not to react when she has an accident as you can reinforce her behavior by reacting. Positive or NEGATIVE reinforcements will almost always make the behavior increase not decrease. In other words if she has an accident and you say oh no, or you frown or give some indication of  your displeasure it can have the same impact as when she goes in her potty and you tell her that she was a good girl or how happy you are with her. Always make sure your positive reinforcement is more profuse than any negative and preferably no reaction is better than a negative reaction.

I would suggest you take a two month break from potty training because you can get into a power struggle with a 3 year old that you won't win and will make you both miserable.

I promise you she will start to potty in the potty. I don't hear of any 5 year olds who go to kindergarten pooping in their pants. This too shall pass. Don't let it be such a big deal and you will find her doing what she needs to do shortly.

Best Wishes!
M Kay Keller