Baby Steps: a Potty Training Update

I wrote a post early last week, that I actually posted yesterday about Potty Training Becoming a Discipline Issue.

I’m happy to say that we have made some huge successes this week. Jude is initiating going to the potty on his own, letting us know when he has to go and hasn’t pooped in his pants in almost a week. We are very proud of his steps toward potty training and let him know every step of the way how well he is doing.

Basket of Underwear for Potty Training

I think there are several contributing factors at play.

Giving him control of his body but letting him know that mommy and daddy are still in charge.
In the beginning we tried to control potty training too heavily with timers and rules. He would get upset because we would make him try to go potty even though he didn’t have to go. So then we swung to the opposite end and let him take control, which lead into discipline issues where he tried to control everything else too. Finally, we realized that neither of these techniques worked. So we decided to give him the opportunity to trust his instincts go potty when he needed but also set up discipline system for him if he became disrespectful or bossy. I think this technique gave him enough freedom to make the right choices but also realize that he couldn’t get away with anything he wanted.

When we encountered a discipline issue surrounding potty training we made sure that he knew why he was in trouble. Usually he’d throw a tantrum so we put him in timeout for a few minutes to calm down and then we talked about why he got in trouble. I always start by asking him why he was in time out and he usually knows exactly why he got in trouble. (Usually for talking back or not listening) Then after talking about the issue (and giving hugs) we go back to the situation and try to do it properly, in this case it means trying to use the potty or making him clean up a mess he made. I always make him do the work and encourage him that he is doing a good job.

Secondly, We only use Pull-Ups for nighttime.
After our potty training reset we took some time off and reverted to using Pull-Ups. This was a good way to take the pressure off him but it also made it harder for him to understand when he was wet. Essentially, he understood that he was basically wearing a diaper and took full advantage of it. So we had a talk and explained that Pull-Ups are only for nighttime now and that he had to wear big boy underwear during the day and use the potty.

The first few days were a little rough and occasionally he would end up basically naked but it certainly helped. Now he prefers to get dressed on his own and that includes picking out his underwear. We keep a pile of clean underwear downstairs so if he has an accident it’s easy to get a new pair. (He often pees a little in his underwear before he realizes he needs to go potty.)

Finally, We give him plenty of Praise for doing a good job.
In the same way we are consistent with disciplining bad behavior we make sure to praise good behavior. Just like everyone, Jude loves knowing he’s done a good job. But we have to be careful to not make too big of a deal because he will get embarrassed. In the past we tried giving him rewards for potty training (candy, stickers, toys) but none of these were incentive enough for him. What works best is simple words of praise. A good job and a high five mean much more to him than a piece of candy.

We are still training but I’m very happy to see him making such great progress over the past few days. Hopefully, it will stick this time around.


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