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February 9, 2007 / missknowitall

Ready To Dump The Diaper Routine

Hi Little Miss,

My son will be 4 years old in May and he adamantly refuses to potty train.  He has successfully used the toilet a few times but argues and stubbornly refuses to do it regularly.  We have tried positive reinforcement, praising his older siblings, movies, books, etc.  He is my youngest and I wouldn’t mind closing the chapter of poopy diapers for the next 20 years or so.  I have successfully potty trained 3 other children so I know he won’t go to college in a diaper, and ultimately I respect his timing – I just wouldn’t mind getting past his obstinance, for my sake!  Any suggestions?

Dear Tired Of Diapers,

Your son sounds very smart.  At four years old he has realized that it saves him a lot of time and energy to just wear his toilet.  Why leave a movie, or stop playing with toys just to go potty?  That’s no fun.  Luckily, because he is four, you can start to use reason with him.  Buy a package of night time diapers.  Now, show your son how many of his regular diapers you have left and show him the new package of night time diapers.  Tell him “Look, honey, we only have this many diapers left for you to use during the day, and this new package is for you to only use at night.  Once these are gone there are no more diapers.  When the diapers are all gone you will have to go in the potty or it will go in your pants.  If you can’t go in the potty then you can’t do things with us, like go to the store, go to the movies, go to the park, etc, etc… because you can’t wet/poop your pants in those places”.  If he tells you you can just go to the store and buy more diapers explain to him that you don’t have anymore diaper money and that he would have to earn his own money for diapers.  Now follow up with what you’ve told him.  When he runs out of diapers be prepared to stay home for a few days doing lots of laundry.  Have his older siblings encourage him and help him to remember to go potty.  Allow his siblings to go places or do things that he can’t do because he isn’t using the potty.  Just as younger siblings tend to walk sooner to “keep-up” with their older siblings, he will start going potty so that he can “keep-up”.  Make it a rule that he has to use the potty before anything he does, ie: “Go potty and then you can have your snack”, “We can’t start the movie until you’ve gone potty”, “I can’t put your clothes on until you go potty”, etc.  He will soon realize that going potty is just a fact of life and part of being “one of the big boys”.  Don’t forget to celebrate dry days.  And don’t punish him or get angry for wet days, the punishment comes when he isn’t allowed to do things because he isn’t using the potty.   Also, I recommend you keep using night diapers until he wakes up dry every morning for 2 weeks.  If he is already doing that then maybe you should start him off with wearing night time underwear. 

May this potty party be a quick one!

Miss Knowitall

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