Potty training resistance can be caused by numerous factors that usually revolved around a bad experience!
A Reader's Question
Please help me!!! My son is four years old and he does a great job peeing on the potty but he will not do the other! I’ve tried special trips, rewards, wrapped presents etc. I’m about to lose my mind.
I have asked his doctor, family, friends, and the daycare staff for help and hints and nothing seems to be working. I’ve tried almost everything. I am about to start punishment, but I don’t want to give him the wrong impression about this and push him farther away from the potty.
I’ve asked him why and his responses, I don’t want to.
And Angela Answers
Oh my, that age of defiance! Thanks reader for your question! I am sure your patience has worn thin but you’re commended for not turning to punishment techniques and for your continued quest to find answers.
I am sure that at this moment you are greatly baffled as to why your son has all of a sudden taken a resistance to potty training or the potty when others suggest their children successfully trained at age two or earlier.
Well, to each its own and congratulations on their success! But using punishment as the outcome for accidents is not the best solution but consistency with using the potty after an accident may be an even better idea. Punishment may cause even more confusion but in your case, even more resistance.
Have you heard this tale, little boy children potty train easier and quicker than little girls? Oh well news flash, that’s not every parent’s reality. So please do not go beating yourself up for that myth.
Your child has probably had a bad experience somewhere at home or at pre-school. Pre-schoolers and children in daycare are on their own when it comes to a routine potty time schedule. I noticed this after volunteering for a couple of years while my daughter was in pre-k.
The routine was like this, all girls would be allowed to go at one time in pairs and of course, that meant no privacy. In turn, that meant my child held herself all day until she came home and then she would make a mad dash to the restroom and that caused some problems.
To help you figure out the source of your son’s potty training bad experience, there are some ideas for you below:
Potty Training Check - Option 1
Has your son ever had any traumatic experiences with his bowel movements? For example, has he ever been heard screaming or making any sounds as if he was in pain while trying to use the potty in private?
What about trying to hold himself in order to keep from using the potty? If so, you should definitely talk to your child’s physician again and advise him this time that the child screams in pain and holds his legs and buttocks tight to keep from going. Whatever the case may be for you two.
Your physician may then place him on a non-addictive laxative (please don’t give him any of yours or over the counter products – way too harsh) for a certain length of time to mix in with his juices before asking you to revisit. And the physician may also ask you to increase the amounts of liquids and fruits in his diet.
Once he sees that it is becoming easier, he will slowly become less resistant and you will gradually be able to take him off the meds per the doctor’s order or get down to maybe once a week.
Potty Training Check - Option 2
Do you have any newborn babies or toddlers in diapers? If so, this may be a case of that sibling rivalry. In other words, he may be feeling that the baby is getting more of your attention and this is his attempt to get more from you on that same level even if it is negative attention (if you resort to punishment).
Newborns need pampering because of not being able to care for themselves but you can help with this by letting the older child help care for the baby in your presence only. Not only that, but you can do more pampering for him by giving occasional baths; rub him with special lotions and etc. Let him know that big boys can get their fair share of pampering too.
Start doing more together again but do not make him back into an infant. You can even insist that during your play time or family times together that there be potty breaks – everyone takes a turn, but if he still insist no, then do not get into a power struggle because you will lose.
A plain old power struggle could also be a cause of potty training resistance. If the power struggle seems to be with you, ask a supportive adult to give it a shot.
Potty Training Check - Option 3
Could you or his other care providers be causing confusion? He may be getting mixed signals from somewhere. The potty training he is getting from elsewhere may be inconsistent from the way you have trained him. If possible make a one-day visit to check out his environment at school.
If this doesn’t help you stumble upon the reason(s) for your childs’s potty training resistance, it may be time to find another physician or at least get a second opinion because something is going on with him emotionally or physically, maybe both.