Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Not a good start to my day

Arrgh! My 4 1/2 year old son is choosing not to use the potty. It's frustrating! It's aggravating! It's making me depressed. We've been trying the reward system. And as he's dug his heels in, the rewards keep getting bigger. (His dad has a knack for offering stuff like trips to the museum or new stuff to put on his playset before I have a chance to weigh in.) I now believe that he's figured out the system. He regresses and the rewards get bigger. He succeeds and gets great rewards. The offers decline. He regresses and gets great offers. And on, and on. Ugh! Plus, I feel that by offering such great rewards we've sent the message that this is really important to us and that gives him power. A lot of power... that he is wielding.

My last declaration to him is: No more rewards! Not until he's done potty training and does it every time, all the time! And the 2-wheel bike he got last year for pooping on the potty for the first time? It stays in the basement until he goes back to pooping on the potty every time!

I know some of you are reading this and thinking that we're crazy and going about this all wrong, but we just don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?


ooolia said...

Usually I try to stay away from potty politics, but since you asked... :)

Remove the rewards, remove the anger, just treat it like a part of normal daily life. He is old enough to help clean up and be a part of whatever solution he would like.

1) Buy a box of plastic gloves.
2) Getting buy-in from the husband might be helpful, but not absolutely necessary.
3) In a calm adult manner inform DS that have come to the conclusion he is both capable and old enough to use the potty for both pee and BM all the time (at least during the day).
4) As a result, he will be expected to pee and poop in the potty. When at home, when out on trips, when he is with you or any other adult.
5) He will be responsible for cleaning himself up and putting on clean clothes after an accident.
6) He will be responsible for cleaning up ALL accidents to the best of his abilities.
7) Accidents can and WILL end play dates or trips to the park or other fun.
8) He is also responsible for helping you to remember to bring extra clothes.
9) And then make it happen. The next accident, without yelling or anger or guilt, calmly bring him a plastic bag, wipes, clean clothes, let HIM clean himself up and get dressed. Then, have him remove the BM into the toilet, and rinse the soiled clothing. Teach him where to put the soiled clothing before washing it. Then daily, have him wash the clothes. Oh, he's also to help clean up the floor or carpet or car seat. He's a smart kid; he'll figure it out. It's much easier to use a potty.

Good luck!

Ann in NJ said...

Julia is absolutely right when she says you have to un-make it as a big deal. It's going to take a lot of patience and control on your part (which it will no matter what you do) and will probably be really miserable for a while - but may also resolve faster than you think.

Jill in MA said...

Let's see how this goes. Right now he's upstairs dealing with his own wet clothing. His left sock is so wet, he's trying to hold out for help getting it off. We've told him that it's his responsibility to change his own wet clothing. I've been making him change his own wet clothing for a while, but this one seems particularly hard for him. Maybe this will be incentive. I also think we've decided to give him back the bike he already earned and just tell him that there's no more rewards from now on -- it's his responsibility to do what he needs to and he's old enough to make it to the potty on his own and clean himself up if he doesn't. No more rewards.