POST SUBJECT: Three Year Old
Please can someone give me some kind of guidance? My son is three years old and has been toilet training for about five months. He has done very well with weeing and does them in the toilet and is dry through the night. The trouble I have is that he refuses to do BMs in the toilet. He knows that he needs to do them as he sneaks off and does them in private all the time saying that he does not need to do them. He has done them in the toilet a couple of times and now refuses to do it. We have tried rewards, time outs, crying, nothing at all and nothing seems to be working. It is as if he is doing it for attention or he is not ready to be a big boy but wants to stay a baby like his brother. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I am sick and tired or reading on books how it will only take 7 days to toilet train and everyone seems to think that my son has a problem!
Just from the tone of your letter, I can hear your frustration and intolerance with this whole situation now. This is what happened: in the midst of you toilet training your son, him taking BMs became a magnified issue. And now your intuition serves you well: yes he is doing it for your attention, because he knows 100% of your focus is dedicated to him when he doesn’t behave the way you expect him to when it comes to going to the toilet. I would like you to step back on this situation and continue to give him praise every time he uses the potty to urinate in, and continue to give him praise when he stays dry during the night. Keep him in his underwear during the day so that when he’s due to go –and by now you’ll know his tell-tale signs—you will very casually change your behavior, which will shift the ballpark completely. Your unexpected attitude towards the circumstance will allow him to see he has no control over your emotions. You also stated that you felt he might be behaving like this because of his baby brother. So do what you can to make sure that he sees the new addition—and demands—of his baby brother has not sacrificed all of your time. The balance of the two will hopefully get you right on track. Yes, you’re going to need more patience; yes, you’re going to need to be more tolerable; and yes you’re going to need to change your strategy. The fact is yes, you will get a different result.
Keep up your good work and listen to the intuitive voice, you’ve answered your own question because as a mum you know, so now trust that voice.
Copywritten by Jo Frost