Potty Training a Stubborn Preschooler

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When Big E was about two and a half I looked at him one day and decided it was time to potty train him. I purchased some big boy underwear, got some treats, spent about a week at home with him, and there you had it… I had a potty trainer toddler. So when my very “spirited” three year old Little C turned 2, I started introducing him to the potty. Let’s just say it’s been 18 long months of a very frustrating relationship.

Let me take you back to the beginning. When Little C was born, he was induced several weeks early. He had a very weak sucking mechanism so getting him to breast-feed was ridiculously difficult, but I kept at it. 2 months of the La Leche League later, I had a confidant breast-feeding baby. Little C has always been challenging. He would cry non stop unless I would hold him, so I found myself doing everything with him in a sling, even the dishes. On my birthday, he refused to take a bottle from my mother-in-law and went 12 hours without eating… at 6 months old!!

As the toddler years came it didn’t get any better, the headstrong stubborn behavior turned into screams and cries of power struggles. By his second birthday we were at the pediatrician’s office and she pointed out to me that he was far behind his other kid counterparts in his speech development. This totally explained his outbreaks; he couldn’t communicate. Everything has been a struggle, but gosh darn it he’s so darn cute! Two and a half, I start the potty introduction, not good. At his third year checkup I explained to his pediatrician that he was not interested at all, she told me to give it a rest for 3 months and then reintroduce him to it. Got it…

So here we are now, at three and half trying to start potty training with a head strong, speech delayed, stubborn preschooler. I’m trying to find a preschool for him, he NEEDS to go to a preschool twice a week… I NEED him to go to preschool twice a week, but no one wants him at his age unless he’s potty-trained. Its not like he’s a dog for crying out loud, he’s a human being. So once again I bring out the potty. I do all the right things, I have the rewards system (I even made him a cute little container with candies for him), I have a potty in almost every room, we’ve gone days without any diapers and nothing works. And don’t tell me he’s not ready, he has every single sign of being ready, he’s just stubborn!

I know what you’re all thinking… well she hasn’t done THIS, or she hasn’t tried THAT. May I remind you I potty-trained Big E in less than 2 weeks. Let me explain how Little C does things. We spent 45 minutes in front of the TV watching his favorite movie, E.T. with him sitting on his potty. I ask him every 5-10 minutes to go Pee or Poop for mommy, and he’ll get a candy. Mommy has to use the restroom, I go to the bathroom, and not even 2 minutes later my son has moved from his potty, found the only place in our house that has carpet, and takes the largest, most giant dump I have seen from a kid his age on my office floor!

That my friends is a clear power play… the battle continues.

The Photo Addict

4 Responses

  1. This made me giggle… the power of the intense, persistent child to engage in power struggles with Mommy. I had one myself!

    My best (unsoliticed) advice is to go hang out with kids just slightly older than him, with you in tow, and some babies too. If he has cousins that fit this description, that’s perfect. Do all sorts of cool stuff with them, and when he messes his pull-ups, proclaim (with a big, proud, happy smile) in front of all the kids “let’s go change your diaper!”

    Then smile and him, and kinda of whisper “it’s okay, Mommy likes that you’re still my baby! I want you to stay my baby for a long, long time.”

    There is no shame in this, I am not suggesting to shame him–what you want is for him to see the actual babies in diapers and the big boys/kids not in diapers, and to realize that he is still doing what babies do cause he probably would love to be a big boy. But he’s not.

    Most kids want to be big — and having a potty trained sibling just isn’t enough — you have to have someone else, someone special to look up to, and a big group helps. Ahh the power of peer pressure. A week of holidays or something would likely snap him right around.

    And of course there is the possibility he is just not psychologically ready but to be honest, it sounds more power struggle related. If you can take your desire out of his equation, it might work. And funny, lol. I hope it gets better.

  2. My boy took until 4 1/2 yrs (last month, in fact) and he is not delayed at all. In fact, he was reading way before he decided to ditch the pull-ups. So frustrating. It’s a mental control thing they don’t want to give up. We ended up skipping preschool, he is going straight to kinder in the fall. Once I decided this and gave myself a break, things got easier. Hang in there!

  3. I’m afraid. Very, very afraid.

  4. […] while ago I wrote about potty training my very head strong stubborn toddler.  Of course technically thats not even a correct statement, […]

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