Potty Training with a Scared & Stubborn Child
I’ve heard the fables that potty training a second kid is easier and I desperately wanted it to be true. Not for us! My oldest son got it easily just after he turned 3, so I hoped (at the very least!) his little brother would be the same way. NOPE! We tried nekkid time, using the little potty, using the big potty, bribes; anything I could think of. He wouldn’t do it. Bribes for his favorite cookie failed in this department. How crazy is that? A cookie to SIT on a potty? NOPE! I knew he was ready (he had proven this during a nekkid time when he held it from 8-2!) and was simply scared of the change from diapers to the unknown. Oh, and the loud flush sound (they are quiet in our house, but the one at the gym is loud and he first heard it at the worst time for potty training, right before he turned 3). I didn’t want this transition to be traumatic for him and I hoped we could turn it into a great learning experience (you know – that change can be a good thing!) but had no idea how to approach it.
Luckily, I mentioned it to a friend of ours and she explained a kid-centric method she used for her son last year. It sounded pretty supportive of the kiddo and how they feel about the process, which I really liked. It’s the 3daypotty training method (I am not getting paid or even acknowledged by them for this, it’s just part the method I used). I read the short downloadable book and realized it was an intensive hands on approach. I first thought of it as a backup plan, but after a few weeks I realized it was my only option.
I had to schedule a weekend (3 days) to do it, and it was important that it would be just the two of us. I had my husband schedule that friday off and he planned to take our older kiddo out for the day. Little to no distractions so we could get through it together was the idea here. As the weekend approached, I would mention how we will be throwing away his diapers soon. ‘Okay’ is what he would say, but a short time later he’d yell ‘yay diapers!’. He had no idea what was coming!
The first morning of the PT weekend, we had breakfast as a family. I made sure he had several drinks hoping to get a good start. Once we’d cleared the dishes, we told him it was time to throw away the diapers. All of us were with him, and we were using the ‘exciting!!!’ voices. He looked freaked out, but with all of us supporting him the entire way to the garbage can, he tossed them in to our cheering and was excited. And then he put on his underwear (huge step! He yelled no at underwear so many times in the past!). After everyone else was out of the house, the two of us hung out and played: airplanes, legos, cars, trains; you name it. I love playing with my 3 year old, but I was exhausted by 11:00 and couldn’t believe he didn’t have to go yet!
That’s when he started to freak out. I could tell he REALLY needed to pee, but he was too scared to sit on the potty. He cried and yelled off and on for 45 minutes. I almost broke a few times, thinking we should try again in a few months. And then I reminded myself I knew he was ready, he’s just scared. I held him, let him know I was there for him. And then I started to open a little airport toy he really wanted (potty bribe!). That is the moment he said ‘okay, potty’ and went to the potty and peed! He was so excited, he peed two more times in the next 30 minutes. He had one tiny accident and caught himself (and that is the last pee accident he’s had!)
This is about when we deviated from the 3 day potty method. We were still hanging out, but I wasn’t right next to him every second. We went outside so I could weed and he could play on his slide. He was so close to needing to go #2 that he ran to me freaking out, but wouldn’t go inside. Finally he had his accident. I cleaned him up and had a feeling he would have a couple of more of these before he really got the ‘feel’ for it…but not that Friday. Saturday, he actually held it in and I gave him pear juice that night, hoping it would help him need to go Sunday. Sunday, he had a small #2 accident and then got one in the potty, and he was really excited. “Bye poop!” he yelled as he flushed it. Monday, he held on to it again. He did fart in the potty and flush that yelling “Bye Fart!!!” though! Tuesday, he got it in the potty. And from then on (this is the Sunday following) he’s gotten it all in the potty, no accidents (and no more holding anything back). We have even gone to the gym, today he was there for about 3 hours and no issues!
All in all, I’d say the process (for daytime only, we’ve not gone to nighttime yet, we use ‘nighttime underwear’ LOL) took 5 days total. I was comfortable that he would use the potty and hold it when he had to by day 3, for #1. #2 was 2 days later. That’s not bad! I may have deviated from that method, but I did what I knew would most likely work for us. I hope that my sharing this helps a couple of people with their challenging-to-potty-train kiddo!