By Jodie Lynn
We are desperately trying to potty train our three-year-old son. His preschool is also trying to help. He seems to do fairly well there but not once he gets home. What are some things we could try to get him to cooperate at home?
ANSWER FROM READER:
Our daughter was easy to potty train. However, our son was not so easy. Our daughter had an older sister that helped to potty train her but by the time our son was born, they were both quite a bit older. Although they loved their little brother, they wanted nothing to do with helping to potty train him. In fact, they more or less babied him in every way possible. This mothering instinct that they insisted on pursuing kept him from walking and talking at a normal age as well. The only help we got was from his dad. He could watch dad in the bathroom and learn what big boys do. My husband took off for a couple of weeks for vacation when our son was around three and devoted the entire time to potty training him. He not only learned to go to the potty but also built a stronger bond with his dad. I don't know if you have older children who can help, but most definitely, let his dad be a role model for the training process, if possible. - R. B. in Springfield, MO
Three-year-olds respond well to repetition, similar environments, non-stressful situations and lots of patience and praise. Ask his preschool teacher if you might visit the classroom to get a clearer view of his/her regiments revolving around your son's day at school, especially now that potty training has become a part of it. This will help you to possibly set up and implement a similar routine at home. For example, maybe there is certain music played or an activity before each trip to the bathroom at school and perhaps something after. If so, you can try to mimic these at home and bring some familiarity from the school environment. Some teachers will use a reward system, like clapping hands or saying or singing a specific phrase in celebration when the children go to the bathroom. You can make up a response or phrase of your own using the same tune or just use the one he's used to hearing. Again, patience and lots of praise will be of the utmost importance during this learning adventure.
CAN YOU HELP?
We are trying to save for our spring vacation now but are just not sure if we'll even be able to take one. Some of our children's friends are already talking about what their families have planned. What can we say to our nine- and ten-year-old kids now so that they won't be let down later if we do not get to follow through on our plans?
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