Child Will Use the Potty Without Accidents – But Will Only Go When Told
We purchased your book back in May of 2009. At that time our son was 2 years 10 months. He was showing some signs of readiness, so we decided to go ahead and give it a shot since we were hoping to have him start preschool in August. We followed your method and it seemed to work for a little while, but then we found that he wasn't really potty trained, but schedule trained. August came and we decided to give preschool a shot since we knew they would take him potty and he seemed eager to try school. He has done great at school and has not had an accident thus far in 4 months at school. I credit this to their schedule though. They take them once an hour over the course of the day.
The reason I am writing is that we have been attempting to potty train our son now for 7 months and he continues to be schedule trained. He will not tell us he has to go to the bathroom, but if he take him throughout the day or when we see cues (pee pee dance) he never has an accident. Having an accident does not seem to bother him, and he is now 3 and a half. We are not sure what to do. I feel like our options at this point are to keep doing what we are doing hoping at some point he initiates, go back to diapers until he initiates (this means taking him out of school) or start using punishments.
We desperately need advice and would appreciate any feedback you could give us based on our situation.Answer:
First of all, congratulations on having a child that rarely has accidents! It sounds like you are 98% of the way there and now we just need to give him that little extra push to get to the end.
My recommendation at this point is to actually stop taking him on a schedule. This will likely mean accidents for a few days but he sounds bright and it sounds like he understands all of the concepts... and so he should catch on quickly. You can start by continuing to take them on a schedule, however take him less frequently so that he has more chance to self-initiate. If you are taking him every hour, start by taking him every two hours. I would recommend considering re-instituting some sort of reward system so that he can get positive feedback when he does self initiate. Sit down with him and have a conversation. Let him know that he will now be expected to tell you when he needs to use the potty. Do, however let him know that he will be rewarded for doing so. Also let him know that if he goes pee in his pants and he will be fully responsible for cleaning himself up.
You might want to try this over a weekend when you don't mind if you have a few puddles in your house! I bet he will catch on quickly when given the opportunity. It sounds a little bit like he has just settled into a routine in which he waits for others to remind him when to go. I bet he will catch on quickly once that responsibility is thrown back into his lap.
Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers"
- a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.