Tag Archives: potty training

Potty training regressions

by Bethany Lynch

I wrote earlier about the need for discipline during our potty training experience. When our son started deliberately having accidents, it was clear that we needed some form of correction. However, accidents are not always deliberate, and it is very common for children to go through potty training regressions. I wish I had known that earlier! Regressions make you question every step and every decision.

There are some important questions to ask if you find yourself in the middle of a potty training regression:

  • Is this behavioral? Are there deliberate signs of refusing to use the potty?
  • Have we ruled out all physical causes and reasons? Are there any signs of illness?
  • Is my child too young? Should we postpone training and resume again in a month?
  • Have there been any changes to routine? Any trips that could have disrupted consistency?
  • If discipline is necessary, what would sting the most? Loss of toy? Time out? No reward?
  • Am I being consistent?
  • Am I sending mixed signals by using pull-ups or diapers except for sleep?
  • Does my child have too much freedom?
  • Am I expecting first time obedience in other areas?

So how did we get out of the mess we were back in? (No pun intended!) We went back to square one…bare bottom with the emphasis of staying clean and dry as soon as he was back in underwear. Every 60 minutes, we put him on the potty whether he could tell us he had to pee or not. If he did not use the potty, we put him back on the potty 15 minutes later. Yes, there were times he was not pleased he had to sit on the potty, but it was done. It was done without emotion and it was done consistently.

I think one trap of potty training is expecting to be told by the child when they have to potty from the beginning. This took a long time to happen, and I think putting him on the potty consistently went a long way in helping him learn sensations and bladder control.

Another interesting tactic that we used was a reward and prize system. Another mom gave me the idea of working towards a prize. We had used that system successfully for a while. Each time he went to the potty without an associated accident before or after that trip, he got a cotton ball. After ten cotton balls, he got a small prize which was hidden in a gift box. During his potty training regression, we also agreed that the novelty of cotton balls had probably outlived their usefulness. On a whim, we decided to put pennies in the jar instead of cotton balls. Being able to put all of his pennies in his piggy bank and still work towards a prize was more than enough motivation to get us back on track!

____________________

Bethany is a wife and working mother of two young children. Married 8 years to her supportive husband, Lee, Bethany says that without Babywise her life would be impossibly chaotic. Babywise has helped her children, 2 ½ year-old Kai and 11 month-old Caitlin, become happy, healthy, well-rested and obedient. Despite her busy full-time job as a neonatal pharmacist at a fast-paced children’s hospital, Bethany loves to write about her family’s adventures on a family blog, and she has recently started a healthy-living blog called Babysteps to Organic Living.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under miscellaneous, parenting

Potty training and discipline

by Bethany Lynch

Is there a place in potty training for discipline? That was the question my husband and I grappled with for weeks. Our son had been potty trained for a month without any accidents when he suddenly started peeing on things and almost deliberately having accidents. It forced us to completely rethink our strategy and critically evaluate his behavior. The day he promised me he did not have to pee and then looked right at me and peed on my leather ottoman was a defining moment.

What really baffled us was the almost sudden defiance and dramatic increase in accidents. It was not until after we resolved this issue that I learned that many potty-trained toddlers experience a partial or even complete regression. Some attribute this to potty training too early, but others think it is just a behavioral “milestone.” We did potty train fairly early, but our son showed all the signs of being ready and begged to go to the potty.

While we use spanking as a form of successful correction for other offenses, we decided not to use it as a means of discipline for potty accidents. We could not rule out physical causes. However, there were several signs that these accidents were deliberate and behavioral. We decided to concentrate on getting to the root of the behavioral signs: 1) peeing on furniture, 2) peeing in his pants or on the floor while directly looking at us, and 3) peeing in his pants as soon as he got off the potty. We decided not to discipline for bowel movements, particularly because of a viral infection we had just passed around. There were signs that his GI symptoms were physical and not as behavioral. We did two more sessions of bare bottomed potty training. We put him in time out immediately after peeing anywhere put the potty. He also got one toy taken away for each deliberate accident.

Within a couple of weeks, he was back to having accidents once or twice a day at most. Now it has been almost two months without any deliberate accidents. While some may have suggested that we postpone potty training, in the end, we decided to continue. After all, he had already successfully trained and was showing signs of disobedience, not immaturity.

In my opinion, discipline can be used during potty training, and it can identify areas of inconsistency. The root cause may not be easily identifiable, but I believe there are some ways to increase motivation and increase interest in potty training during times of regression. It may take multiple strategies, and it may mean postponing training for some. As with all forms of discipline, I believe it should be done consistently and without emotion. I do not think a child should ever be disciplined for an accident if you have not ruled out all physical causes, but I do think that there can be a behavioral disobedience that needs to be corrected. The key is determining whether the child is acting out of disobedience or immaturity. In our case, disobedience was certainly the cause and we corrected it accordingly.

____________________

Bethany is a wife and working mother of two young children. Married 8 years to her supportive husband, Lee, Bethany says that without Babywise her life would be impossibly chaotic. Babywise has helped her children, 2 ½ year-old Kai and 11 month-old Caitlin, become happy, healthy, well-rested and obedient. Despite her busy full-time job as a neonatal pharmacist at a fast-paced children’s hospital, Bethany loves to write about her family’s adventures on a family blog, and she has recently started a healthy-living blog called Babysteps to Organic Living.

Leave a comment

Filed under discipline