Potty Training Tips


My 4 1/2 year old son is pooping his pants. This has been an on going thing since my husband’s second deployment. It seems to come and go and get bad when he is readjusting to a new situation. We have tried everything and are running out of solutions. I thought maybe you might have a new idea for us to try.
Here is what we’ve tried already:

  • Took him to the doctor to make sure medically things were fine.
  • Used incentives and positive enforcement.
  • Bought “cool underwear” (printed) and every time he pooped in the toilet he got to pick a new pair. If he pooped in his pants he lost all of his “cool underwear”. (that seemed to work until this past month)
  • Not make a big deal of it when it happens.
  • Make him shower and clean himself and then do the underwear exchange
  • We’ve required him to clean up all of his own mess.

Should we put him in pullups again because it’s becoming an almost daily issue? I’d hate to do that. So do you have any new ideas that we can try? He seems to understand, but tells us he doesn’t know why he does it. I’ve noticed it’s when he doesn’t want to stop having fun. If we’re just hanging out at the house he’s fine. But it seems to happen more when he’s playing with friends or doing something he doesn’t want to stop. We’re desperate for a fix. What do you think?

Understand that this problem is a result of change and your son may not be feeling like he has many choices right now. It also has to do a little with a new baby and seeing him get lots of attention–even for dirty diapers.

1.Figure out his schedule. He probably goes about the same time, or under the same circumstances pretty much daily. If you know you are going to be gone, then make him go–remind him.

2. Communicate Choices. Tell him in the morning: You using the bathroom is your choice. You are a big boy. You can choose to go to the bathroom on the toilet or you can choose to go in your pants. If you go in your pants, what happens? (let him give you the answers)… then say, If you choose to go in the potty, what happens? (again, let him answer). Then tell him: It’s your choice. Mommy and Daddy can’t do that for you–you going potty in the toilet is your choice–and when you make your own choice you are showing us what a big boy you are. When he makes the choice to go to the toilet give him a high five, and say “you did it–you made a choice!” NOT Good Job you went to the bathroom–that says yay, you are good because you did what I wanted you to do… He doesn’t want to please you–he wants to feel empowered to make a choice.

3. Let Him Help! Show him when the baby dirties his diaper. Tell him: Big Boys can be helpful to babies who can’t go by themselves. Oh Wait–You’re a Big Boy that means you can help me. Then let your son help change it. Tell him he’s on potty patrol for the baby, and that whenever he thinks the baby needs to change a diaper, to let you know. It will be ALLLL the time at first, but it will die down–he needs to feel a part of something. Giving him a job will help build his self worth, it will give him the sense that he’s contributing around the house.

I think if you put him in a pull up you will regret it. It could make him completely digress and you will have to start ALL over…. Try those things, see what happens….

Mom reported:

The tips with my son have been working like a charm!!!! I talk to him in the morning and we make a list of stuff we want to do. The first on that list is poop in the toliet. It’s worked so far!!! Also, he’s done great with his baby brother’s diapers. He doesn’t even remind me that often. Once in the morning and then at night. I can see his face glow with pride when he changes his diaper all by himself!

So, so far so good! Thank you!!!!!!! :)

So how is potty training going for you?


3 thoughts on “Potty Training Tips

  1. My son just turned 2. I am a single father so maybe potty training knight have been easier since I have a boy… My son has been pretty well lofty trained for about 6 months now… Being a single dad , I would take my son with me every time… I would tell him big boys go potty in the toilet and babies need to have diapers… I always left his potty chair out which he could use as a step stool etc. Once he started to use it, we would celebrate every time… Before I knew it he was using the big toilet instead… He still has his accidents, so I use diapers at bedtime and when we are going to be in the car more than 15 or 20 minutes… Now when he has no accidents I tell him how proud I am that he is such a big boy…

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