Finding Your Way…..Potty-training, Whose Problem is It?

MAB in Buffalo: I learned that the more you try to force the potty-training to occur, the more it will frustrate and elude you both. I don’t have any funny stories. I just learned that the best way to succeed in potty training is to let the child make the decision to do it.

OK, some kids are wonderful and easy and they make these perfect decisions all by themselves. What if I wasn’t graced with one of those? What if my son is just downright lazy and if I don’t force the issue, I will still be changing his diapers when he’s 14?

The answer is still to let him be ready. I found the following techniques can “help” him to become ready. First, let him feel wet underwear. At any age, this is a nasty feeling, but if he can’t feel it, it obviously won’t bother him. If you don’t want that wet underwear all over your house, then use the “summer trick” which is to begin the process during summer when the child is outside.

The point is to let him wet himself and feel it. When he comes to you in discomfort, change him without criticism and tell him simply that next time he feels that feeling to go to the potty. A few times and he’ll get it, by his choice.

Second, never embarrass him. If you are using the summer trick, be sure you and he are alone in the yard on those days. Don’t have friends over during that time. And don’t threaten the child that he can’t have friends over until he knows how to go on the potty; never punish him or berate him – just take a week out, come up with some good outdoor activities and let him go.

Third, I found this to be the hardest, but it worked with both my sons. Approach the whole thing, every single day, with the attitude that this is his problem. If he chooses to wet himself, or worse, that is his decision and his choice.

Now, obviously, you can’t leave your 2 year old to his own devices on such things, really, but if you make this his problem and not all yours, you will both see the light much sooner, in my experience.

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