Potty Training - Regression

I have a 4 year old boy, who shows his stress through his accidents. I could give you details, like he has been potty trained for over a year but not through the night - which in my experience is normal. I have 4 kids and he is number 3. He is very verbal and extremely physical (he can ride a 2 wheeler), but the question is...What can I do to help a preschooler who takes out his stress by peeing in his pants? Any thoughts?

Thoughts...you know I do!

I feel like every child is so unique when it comes to potty training. And the fact that your little guy is in preschool tells me this - his world is changing and different. School at any age poses new situations and frustrations. There can be a new situation everyday, and he could be taking in more than you could ever imagine. And to be number three of four means that he has a lot going on at home. Any given day there are so many people, and infinite number of situations and he is probably really sensitive (a tangent - I just love third children, they are so wonderful and good, they are my favorites).

I feel like the first thing you can do is spend extra time with him. Not talking about potty training or accidents. Just something personal - coloring, playing basketball, cooking. Invite him (literally, you could make an invitation) or just ask him to do something with you. Just you two. And while you are coloring, make sure you tell him how wonderful he is. Really build his confidence. Help him remember how important he is.

The secret weapon - DADS. I would have his dad do the same thing. Spending extra time for at least two weeks will really help how he feels about himself. The most balanced child in the world can loose confidence when they are nervous about something (and he probably doesn't even know he is - he could never verbalize it). But, really have his dad make time for him alone, just while things are rough.

And then, when an accident does happen, treat it as if though you were cleaning up after dinner - totally routine. Don't give it extra attention - don't talk to him about it.

And then, have him go a lot. Do all of the preventative things you can. I know that this conversation happens a lot: "Go potty..." in response, "But I don't have to go..." But, I can share a phrase that has helped us a lot, we started saying, "Go empty out!" It makes more sense, and solved that "I don't have to" phrase.

I would talk to his teacher. Get her on your side. Most likely, it has to do with preschool stress, so having her be understanding, may help her watch out. Show more patience towards him. All the things a teacher should be doing, but could use a reminder.

And then in about two weeks, if it's still happening, I would start at the beginning. Pretend like he has never been potty trained. And I would work on helping him get through the night. Just have him sleep without pull-ups and be prepared for a couple of busy nights with a lot of cloth changing. When he wets himself in the night, walk him straight to the bathroom and say, "empty out" (even though he probably has nothing left, its the habit you want to establish). You could even do the, "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Blastoff!" And then clean the bed and put him back down. Off course, you probably have the better advice, so be sure to share what worked for your other ones!

Good luck! It is normal - but it is nice to have new ideas, too!


laurel said...

I like the "Empty Out" phrase! I've been saying, "Just sit on the potty and see what happens!" and then I act really surpised when inevitably something comes out! She always thinks that's funny.

Audra said...

Thanks for the advice. I will let you know what happens.

Things have improved after the holidays ended. Interesting. I really think that time with him is the answer.

I need more help with getting him potty trained through the night, but I will keep you updated. This is fun to talk about my kid with you. THANKS!

Dawn said...

I like the 'empty out' phrase, though I have never heard it before. I also like the special attention. I don't think his problem has much to do with pre-school, do you? When you went to Las Vegas you know it was because you were gone and his schedule had to change. Every child is different but you already get up in the night with Mak so I don't know if the shock of him waking up wet could wake you.

angie said...

as for preschool - it may not be that he isn't enjoying it - it could be the opposite even. sometimes kids get so excited and busy that they don't remember to go to the bathroom - life is just too fun!