Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Potty Boot Camp

Bagel knows how to potty. He even goes on the big potty (with the aid of a stool). He likes his Big Boy Briefs. There's just one problem: he seems to be totally unable to recognize the need to "go".

We've tried using thick, padded training briefs, but he would soil them and just sit in them. He wouldn't even tell us they were soiled, and if we asked him if they were soiled he'd deny it, even if we could smell that they were soiled. I suspect he might like the feeling of the full diaper. So we need a new approach.

What we are trying to do with Bagel is called "habit training". Normally, pottying is cued to the "special feeling" (as we called it in our house growing up): when you feel full, you go. But you can also train a child to cue pottying to a different stimulus, like an alarm bell, a particular time of day (e.g. 10 o'clock), or a sequence of events (e.g. eat lunch, then potty). This will allow them to successfully potty train before they are able to recognize the fullness in time to get to the potty.

So what we have here is a two-pronged approach: first, get Bagel out of anything that will feel like a full diaper, and don't allow him to potty in his pants in case he enjoys that too; second, get him onto a pottying schedule and keep it firm.

To accomplish the first step, I've put him in Big Boy Briefs and I'm sitting him on the potty every hour until he makes something or three minutes elapse, whichever comes first. He's already had an accident-- dumped a load on the stairs not five minutes after sitting on the potty. He was very apologetic and said he wanted a diaper, but I talked him out of it. (I'll give him a diaper for naptime.)

This is Potty Boot Camp. There's no diapers. There's no rest. We are just going to do it. Bagel is turning 4 this month and he can potty. There's no reason why he can't be trained, other than the fact that it's going to take a Herculean effort to get him to do it.