The 10 Things I did That Finally worked for Potty Training My Four Year Old

ITS OFFICIAL! My boys are potty trained and I’m still living to talk about it. It’s been rough.

We’ve had major setbacks and my youngest was actually trained before my oldest. We used every bribe in the book and none of it worked. He was legitimately terrified of the toilet and the potty.

I finally decided that all the diapers needed to go in the house and that we were going to go at this cold turkey. I still don’t know if it was the right decision mentally for him but it did work.

At first the poor guy was so upset and he would hold it for hours and hours until eventually he couldn’t and would have an accident. We would try to take him to the potty as soon as we saw the dance but then he wouldn’t be able to go and as soon as we stopped trying he would go anywhere but the potty.

Then we figured the only way he would go not using a diaper was in the bath 🤦🏼‍♀️ so we started just letting him go with the tap on and no water in it with the drain open. That started to work. He would say “I have to go pee I better turn on the bath! “

One morning I woke up to a scream and he had put himself in the bath to take a poop. Ugh, now I had graduated from cleaning up pee In the bath to cleaning up poop. Great! But that’s ok, as long as he wasn’t using a diaper we were moving in the right direction.

Finally after a month of this he started to tell me when he had to go. One day when I saw the dance, I grabbed him and said “we’re doing this!” I sat him on the toilet and we hugged as he said “I’m so scared Mama, I’m so scared.” I just kept reminding him in a gentle way that I believed in him and that I’m not going to let anything happen to him.

After 10 minutes of this, it happened! Pee and poop! He was so proud of himself, as was I! And from that moment I can’t keep him out of the bathroom.

I never thought I would say having both my boys trained in under a month would be life changing, but it is! What a sense of accomplishment.

10 Things I did That Finally Worked

1) Have a preparation talk. Gently explain to your child that they are a big boy/girl now and they no longer need to use diapers.

2) Have a diaper parade where you actually march the diapers out to the garbage bin (donation bin) together as a family. We actually sang a song. Called “No More Diapers”

3) ELIMINATE ALL DIAPERS we even made him sleep totally commando. Nothing at all! Even the feeling of underwear on him was enough to make him feel like a diaper was on and he would have an accident. That brings me to the next point.

4) Comando at all times. We sent him off to programs without underwear. Only pants on. Underwear is too close to feeling like a diaper.

5) Don’t discuss the subject at all other than when it’s time to go. Kids who are struggling to use the potty have a lot of anxiety around it. The less pressure the better. 

6)  take them straight to the bathroom as soon as you see them start to do the dance. If that’s not working, follow the next point.

7) I found that my son was more likely to go without a diaper in the bathtub. If that’s what works, let it happen! As long as he’s not in a diaper you’re moving in the right direction.

8) REWARD even for bathtub pees and poops. Eventually it will graduate to the potty.

9) Don’t give up! Stay consistent even if it’s taking weeks. Hang in there. Both you and your partner and EVERYONE involved have to be on the same page. Partners, grandparents, Nanny’s, Teachers, etc

10) Once they have their first poop in the potty, start a reward chart. 10 stickers gets them a toy! I’m a big believer in hard work pays off.

Hang in there Mama. You got this!!

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