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Really angry with 3yo about potty training - what do I do now?(22 Posts)
Been potty training DS since Easter. We were reliably dry for a month in June, then daily accidents since. At first only one or two, but increasing to between four and six since Autumn.
Tried everything, bribery, ignoring accidents, not making a big deal of it, making him change himself, stand up wees; the lot.
Ten days before Xmas we started with 'Santa only brings bikes to big boys with dry pants' and after the first two days we got eight completely dry days.
He got his bike yesterday and since then it's back to the old routine.
I'm bloody furious. I'm so tempted to take the bike away. I know he can do it if he wants to and now he's got the reward we're back to square one.
What the hell do I do now?
How old exactly is he? There's a big difference between a just 3 yo and a nearly 4yo.
Also, by 'reliably dry for a month' do you mean he's been taking himself off to the loo without prompting when the need occurred? Or did you have to ask him every 5 mins / go everywhere with a travel potty / basically made sure he could go instantly when needed?
I'm of the 'wait until they're ready to go completely independently' school but I guess a lot depends on the above question (i.e. How old is he and has he ever been able to do it independently).
He's four end June. For the last few days he's been taking himself off to the loo and it was the same in June. Obvs we take him before / after meals, before we go out etc.
Im very tempted to just put him back in nappies but all the advice says not to. We've checked for diabetes etc. I don't know what to do now.
Take a breath. He's still very young. Don't take away his Santa present, but put in place a non- Christmas- related motivation plan for the next few months. Most importantly, remember that toilet training is a developmental process not a skil to be acquired and retained. Progress is rarely linear, but he will get there and it sounds like he's well on the way. And accept that there will be occasional accidents for years to come - just as there are with every other child. Good luck.
I'd go back to nappies for a couple of months and not even mention it during that time. Give yourself and him a complete break from the stress. Then reassess.
Agree with the PPs, I think you started a bit early. You can't force it - so it's best to take a step back (nappies) and wait for him to declare he wants pants now and be a big boy!
Is he having accidents because he is playing with his toys? Might be time to put him on the clock? Take him at specific times and work on the one in one out principle? (drink then wee)
Thanks for the constructive advice Palomb
I get that it's not linear, but multiple accidents daily to absolutely nothing when there's a bike on the table suggests to me that he is capable when he's inclined.
I don't know whether to keep up the bribery to keep him inclined, or whether by now he should understand that it's just something 'big boys do' and that he wants to be a big boy.
It appears the former.
Think I might use all the travelling we are about to do as an excuse to put him back in pull ups and see how we are in January.
I put 2 of my 3 back into nappies when toilet training wasn't going well. No stress, no drama, just a welcome break for everyone and we tried again a few months later. In both cases they suggested having another go themselves, and we had complete success, no accidents after the break.
Try to stop getting angry.
Don't punish him when he has an accident
Be calm and change him when he needs changing no fuss little attention
Reward him like a king when he goes to the toilet
Watch him like a hawk for pre wee signs then merrily whisk to toilet
Is he at nursery/preschool? - talk to them about working together to help your ds learn this new skill
Repeat this to yourself - it's just a phase, this will not be happening forever!
I would make sorting himself out entirely his responsibility. If he has an accident, you might casually say something like 'it looks like you're a bit wet there"and then WALK AWAY without any further comment. It will get cold and unpleasant for him. Resist any urges to make him sort himself out. Be utterly uninterested. Don't help him other than to show him where the baby wipes and new clothes are but only do this when he asks. Show him, then walk out the room. Do NOT help him. You must show absolutely NO emotional reaction whatsoever and give absolutely no hint that you are bothered. Make it totally his problem. I wouldn't even praise him for sorting himself out. The impression you want to give is that he can sort himself out or not, it's nothing to you one way or the other.
This approach will work, but only if you can get over the rage. Good luck. And gin helps.
I agree with you, if be can do it for 9 days for a bike he can do it.
My friends do a thing where they have a kilner style jar with milk bottle tops in, when it gets full she gets a big prize and loads of praise each time.
If that doesn't work you could take a top out each time he has an accident, that you feel was avoidable.
So 2 in for good 1 out for bad.
It doesn't matter what we did my son was always late home from his friends, the only thing that worked was a 50p fine.
Oh dear, step back and read this as a neutral and it's hilarious (I know it's not, I had a ds who made dirty protests until 6yo)
Toileting and food are basically the only thing they have any control of at thus age and boy has he got you under control. What's the next prize for a few dry days going to be?!
Stop offering rewards, ignore the "accidents". Give him some control in other areas. Chores are actually quite empowering at this age.
I was going to say you were being unreasonable, but he's done it for days in a row, so it looks like he's choosing to just wet his pants rather than go to the toilet.
When DS started in pants it worked well, but he'd still poo in them because he never got upset by poo in his nappies. I had a stern word with him about how unacceptable that was and that then the pants had to be washed, etc. It worked a treat.
It looks like a reward chart might work with him, if the rewards are worth it.
Or, what I'd probably do, get him to immediately wash his own dirty pants by hand. I'm sure the hassle will be greater than taking himself off to the toilet.
Another thing that helped was to ask regularly, and encourage him to go to the toilet regularly, just not when in a rush.
DS was also over 3, btw.
Started him early.... He's 3 fgs.
He has shown he can do it, he's been reliably dry for 9 days for a bike.
I'd get rid of the rewards and go down the line of every time he's dirty, he faces the consequences. He puts his clothes in the wash, he gets new ones out. Agree with the pp on the cold, unemotional response. Just let him crack on.
Had this to some extent so I appreciate the rage.
DD2 is Frozen obsessed so we bought a packet of Elsa pants. (Two but kept that under wraps). Doing a wee in her "poor Elsa pants" was bad enough but watching me put pooey pants straight in the outside bin cured that particular habit.
DD1 just couldn't do it and would get massively constipated into a painful state. We found Meg and Mog on YouTube and she was allowed one after every successful poo with a huge fuss made.
The regular accidents were easier to deal with than a child in pain imo.
In this particular instance the disinterested route might be your friend. Break out some joggers and easy clothes so he can sort himself out. That and wellies only until he is reliable.
Remind yourself that he's 3 and trying to find ways to push your buttons.
I get the frustration completely but remember for a 3 yo all attention is good attention and the more you react the more he'll do it.
My ds2 was similar- things that were successful were - reward chart - I did tiny rewards each time he even sat on the bloody potty, so many smiley faces got a prize and he got to choose a fun thing to do after a dry week (soft play, the zoo etc). Try to focus on the positive and ignore relapses as much as possible.
He also has a very supportive preschool - that seemed to make it much more normal for him, seeing other children use the toilet and encouraging him to be independent etc.
I fully sympathise- toilet training is my most hated thing ever. He will get there in the end though.
And yes - character pants (Spider-Man here) that went straight in the bin if pooed on helped here too). And only jogging bottoms worn for a while.
I also stopped asking constantly if he needed to go and just let him get on with it. Ds2 is very stubborn and would argue he didn't need to pee until the ends of the earth. If accidents out of the house we would go home, especially if somewhere fun like soft play. 3 yo's = button pushing experts so stay zen (outwardly)
There is a difference btn being able to do it when you are thinking about it all the time and highly motivated, and doing it when you are tired and distracted.
Make it easier for him. Put a ping pong ball in the loo so he has something to aim at and make it fun.
Leave it there till he is about 15, as boys aim is dodgy for ages!.
Have a jar of jelly beans/smarties in the loo, he gets one every wee and hand wash. Honestly, he still needs the motivation as it is not second nature for him yet.
If he has only regressed since yesterday then it may well just be excitement. New toys distracting him, over-excitement and tiredness affecting him... Don't write it off just yet. Lots of children regress briefly.
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