My rules for control battles and power struggles of all kinds are make them infrequent, choose very carefully, and make darn sure you win the ones you pick. Your child has control of what goes in and out of his body, so if you make potty training a power struggle, he will win. But, there are things you can do to help him decide that using the toilet is a good idea.
- Don't use pull-ups during the day. I know, I know, it's a hassle, but a child wearing pull-ups is seldom uncomfortable when wet or dirty, so has less incentive to use the potty. It helps to pick a time when you can stay at home during the first week or so that you try this.
- Buy some special big-boy underpants and let him pick them out. They usually will pick ones with action figures or cartoon characters on them. I encouraged my kids to try to keep that character dry and clean.
- Don't fuss or make a big deal when he has an accident, but matter of factly have him be the one to take off the wet underwear and wash them out. He may need a little help with the poopy pants just so he doesn't get the mess all over the floor and so you can make sure he has cleaned himself well.
- Have him train a doll or stuffed animal to use the pretend toilet.
- Make sure to use a child size potty chair.
- Use incentives (bribes?) for when he is successful. Use whatever works for your kid.
- Pick a place that your child likes to go and tell him that he will need to be potty trained before he goes there. This is easier once he is out of pull-ups because he already knows he can go anywhere in pull ups. For example, tell your child that he can't go to the pool until he is using the potty because the pool doesn't want pee and poop in the water or around the pool. Do not say this in a punitive manner, just state it in a matter of fact sort of way and let him know that you are sure he will soon be able to go to the pool.
- With my sons, I dropped Cheerios in the potty and had them aim to sink them. They loved this. Too bad this won't work for little girls.
- Stop all fussing or reminding about potty training. Turn the responsibility over to your son. In other words, remove yourself from the battle and the only one he has left to fight is himself. But also turn as much of the clean up over to him as well. If he puddles, let him wipe it up, change his clothes, and put the wet clothes in the in the laundry room. Remember, this is not as a punishment, but it is simply what needs to be done. Don't worry if he doesn't do it perfectly.
- Relax, very few children enter kindergarten wearing diaper during the day. Nighttime wetting is a totally different matter and you'll just have to wait until his bladder matures.
- Here are some other free resources:
Image Credit: Todd Morris