Thursday, June 10, 2010

Potty training: a psychology experiment

I really think potty training is a psychology experiment. Each child has something different that makes them tick and discovering what works and what doesn't is frustrating in the extreme.

We're trying to potty train Wil this summer. He will be in the 3 year old class at school next year, which means he has to be potty trained by mid-August. We have tried potty training a few times before without success, so we're taking it easy this time and hoping it will stick.

We've watched videos, including the much-lauded Elmo potty video. While enjoyable, that didn't do the trick. We have potty books. He loves the pee book, but hasn't connected it to himself.

We've tried having him sit every hour. Nope, he has the control to hold it until he's off. We even tried dribbling warm water on him while he was sitting. Didn't work.

We have sticker charts with a reward for filling the chart in. That sort of works, as he tells me he gets a treat for filling the chart in, but I don't think it is concrete enough.

I think he is so used to going in a diaper, he doesn't feel comfortable going without one. So, we're trying leaving him commando until he goes. Right now, I am aiming for once a day. Once we have that down, we will try for more, but I don't want to push too hard and fail again. Between realizing that he would hold it until he had a diaper or underpants on, and his asking for a diaper, I think I might be on the right track.

We are also offering small prizes each time he goes because waiting for a big one was too long. He'll still get a big prize when he fills the chart, but he needs more positive reinforcement right now. I took him to the friends of the library book store to pick out his first prize, a 50¢ book, and picked up a few more for the next few days. Today I picked up a couple of inexpensive books at Barnes & Noble (they were buy 2, get the 3rd free) for when he fills a row on his chart. I can also get some small gifts at the dollar store or the dollar bin at Target. I'm hoping to drop the daily prize once he gets to a big prize and just have him get a reward for filling a chart in the next few weeks.

He definitely feels proud when he goes in the potty. He has told his grandmas and some neighbors that he peed in the potty. Having people he looks up to get excited helps him get excited.

One of the breakthroughs came the other evening when he told me Buzz Lightyear wears big boy underpants because he uses the potty. Maybe as we get closer to school, that will finally make an impression and motivate him.

So our experiment is continuing as we find the keys to making Wil want to use the potty. I am really looking forward to getting both boys out of diapers. I am over changing them, plus they are expensive. Our budget would definitely improve without spending $100/month on diapers and wipes.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I am willing to try them. Once Wil is well on his way, I am going to work on Sam. I was going to try both at the same time, but really needed to concentrate on Wil. I don't think Sam is quite ready, although he's motivated and interested, so waiting a few months with him is ok. He's not even 2 yet!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting all this-- I'm definitely taking notes for when I have kids!

    And I betletting Will get down the potty training road a little bit will help with training Sam. Nothing motivates a little man like wanting to emulate his big brother!


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