Potty Training a Stubborn Toddler

My parents love to tell the story of when they were potty training me as a child. For an entire year, from age two to three, I flat out refused to use the toilet. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to, it was the fact that I was being instructed to go to the bathroom against my own will. I was, and I will admit, still am a control freak. The very day I turned three I made the proclamation I was going to start using the potty. All of the time my parents invested in potty training me for a year was resolved in a matter of moments when a control freak toddler decided that she was ready.

Mom and dad, I’m sorry…

Now, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, karma comes full circle. My oldest, my two and half year old, is a certified control freak like his mom. Using the potty is a control issue for him as well.

For a while my son would lose his mind when we would suggest the use of potty. You would have thought his dad and I, his teachers, my parents, etc. were trying to murder him. We collectively felt defeated in our efforts.

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You want me to do what?

After countless months working with my son, we had a breakthrough. We successfully broke my toddler of his control issues pertaining to using the bathroom! We used the process I like to call PIE to achieve our potty training goals.

P is for patience – This part is mostly for the trainer not the trainee. When you get frustrated and your little one chimes in on the frustration they start to feel discouraged and that my friends is the last thing you want to do. Patience will take you very far in the potty training game.

I is for incentives – This is a very polarized issue when it comes to potty training. Listen, my son knows what’s up; he’s no fool. We created a potty treat box that we placed on the counter in front of my son’s potty. The box contains small dinosaurs (his current obsession), stickers (dinosaurs of course), and Dum Dum lollipops (“pops” as they’ve been deemed by my son). He intensely stared at that box while going to the potty. The idea of getting a prize motivated him to use the restroom. After about a week of taking from the potty treat box, he became bored and no longer requires a treat to use the bathroom. He now goes with no demands.

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E is for encouragement – We make sure our toddler feels proud of using the bathroom successfully. He really responds to praise. There are lots of high-fives passed around. It melts my heart when he runs into the room screaming with a smile on his face “I PEEEEEED!!!” When he has an accident (which are few and far between) we tell him it’s OK and that he’ll make it to the potty next time and to let mommy and daddy know when he needs to go. Encouragement is key!

I’m not claiming this is the answer to potty training your stubborn toddler, but I will say we found success by following these steps! What are your potty training recommendations?

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