Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Call for Potty Training Advice

I'd like to start potty training my son (three years old). We've had the potty chair for a while, he's sat on it before (usually before baths), but more to get him familiar with it rather than seriously using it. How do I get him to sit on it when he needs to? He's never communicated to me when he needs to go, so I've tried to catch him in the act. I don't want to sit him on it too often, as I don't want him to get tired of it. He always grunts before pooping, but for a while now he'll hide in his bedroom during the process. I tried going in today when I heard him grunting, but he didn't want to go with me into the bathroom, just got upset and hid in the closet. He seems to be embarrassed by it. How do I talk him into using the potty? Keep in mind he doesn't talk much. Not entirely sure he understands what the chair is for. We do have him in training pull ups already, as they fit better than the diapers he was using and he likes pulling them up instead of having to lie on the floor for changing. Any training advice? What's worked for you?


  1. Ahhh, potty training. It's so different for each child. But I would recommend reading the book Toilet Training in Day. I think that's what it's called. Don't be fooled or greatly discouraged if one day doesn't work though (or even one month). It does have a lot of helpful info and so does Potty Training for Dummies. Check your local library. A couple things we learned to focus on before training was teaching them to dress themselves-- at least pulling up and down their pants, and learning the words you want them to use for their "business." Like do you want him to say, Potty and sign it? Or B.M. or poop?

    And really, when they're ready it goes A LOT faster. We tried for a year and a half with Ethan (on and off) and it finally all clicked at 3 years and 7 months-- which happened to be the week Elijah was released from the NICU. He had the potty thing down for about 7 months but not the poop thing.

    With Gabby, she showed a lot of interest really early, but she couldn't walk. And then when she could walk, she couldn't walk well enough to get up the stairs fast enough. We finally decided we could live with a potty-chair in our living room. And for Gabby the key was tons and tons of verbal praise and a homemade sticker chart that said, "Gabby is a BIG GIRL!!" She got it in about 10 days. We still have reminders on how to wipe correctly and reminders to go when she doesn't want to stop playing, but 10 days sure beats a year and a half! If however, I tried teaching her at 2 1/2, I'm sure she wouldn't have been trained until now anyway.

    Good luck! Remain positive. My mom has told me many times that it was the hardest thing she ever had to do before teenagers.

  2. Even though I have two of the five that are potty trained, I couldn't tell you how to do it! Taran and Belle trained so differently, and I think a big part of that was waiting until Taran was ready instead of pushing him like we pushed Belle.

    Toby was actually scared of the toilet (typical with autism) and wanted nothing to do with it at home, and he didn't like pull-ups either. It actually wasn't until the school started working with him as well that he calmed down a little when it came to time to go "potty," but he was more wiling to try for someone else other than me. So, when the school quit helping him he quit going at home, even though I hadn't changed the routine here. Frustrating!

    Tristan shows some interest, but part of it is finding the right incentives and making sure that your child can communicate when and if he/she needs to go. Toby has not/will not tell us he needs to go: I'm not sure if he knows himself ahead of time, to be honest.

    SO, about every thirty minutes all day every day I am trying to prompt the children to go to the bathroom. The rewards for Toby vary depending on what he's after at the moment: drink, treat, shower/bath, watch a show, etc. In fact, sometimes he has come up to me and said, "what I get? what I get?" and I have determined that maybe he needs to go to the bathroom but wants to know what I will give him when he goes! A lot of negotiation ensues.

    Anyway, like Nikki said, even if you wait until later to train him, it will go much faster when he's ready vs. when you are ready.

    PS If you figure it out with Bryce before I do with me!