I am ready to lose my mind! I have a wonderful daughter who is almost three years old. She is on track or exceeding all of her milestones with one exception: she refuses to toilet train. I have tried bribing her with rewards, punishing her by leaving her in a dirty diaper for longer than normal, forcing her to use the potty and pretending the potty is no big deal – all to no avail.
A large part of my problem in getting “Jennifer” to potty train is my husband. He does not think we should push Jennifer if she is not ready to potty train; however, he is also not home during the day and he frequently travels for work, leaving me alone with Jennifer for days at a time. Being tied to my daughter so much is starting to give me “Mommy brain”. I need more stimulation than Mommy and Me classes but can not leave Jennifer with a babysitter; my husband will not pay for the expense and I am a stay-at-home Mom, so all my cash comes from his paycheck. Although generous, he requests that I account for the money I spend.
I would like to enroll Jennifer in pre-school for the fall; but in order to do that she must be potty-trained, which would mean going against my husband’s directive not to push her. What do you think I should do, Tazi? Should I defy my husband? Or just wait and hope that our daughter will eventually potty train on her own?
Your signature speaks volumes, as does your question as to whether or not you should “defy” your husband. Considering that your husband is not around much of the time, Jennifer’s care falls upon you. At “almost three” the time to potty train is now. The older she gets the more difficult it will become, as she will become more resistant to change.
I will suggest a method that is recommended by family psychologist John Rosemond, a parenting expert. He calls this method “Naked and $75”. The $75 will be the cost to get your rugs cleaned; the "naked" refers to the method of getting your child to potty train.
Mr. Donahue suggests that you remove your child’s bottom layers of clothing – including the diaper (you can let them wear a long shirt). That is pretty much it for your part! When your daughter says that she has to go to the bathroom, direct her to the bathroom and her potty chair and instruct her to use it. You will probably be met with resistance and “accidents” on your rugs, but no creature – human or otherwise – likes to relieve themselves onto their living space. Should Jennifer have an accident, you can have her assist you in cleaning it up and depositing it into the toilet and flushing. Within two weeks, she should have received the message that the potty is the place to relieve yourself.
This is Tazi again! I have also heard that offering a child a reward of panties with their favorite cartoon character on them is a great motivator. If your daughter is into Disney princesses, you can tell her she can wear Disney Princess underwear once she is potty trained. If she is into rufflebutts, you can coax her with big-girl ruffled panties. The key to this method is follow-through – once your daughter shows that she will consistently use the potty you must produce the reward.
As for your husband’s thoughts on this matter: If he feels that Jennifer is being “pushed” into potty training, inform him that while he is home it will be HIS job to change any and all dirty diapers, regardless of how tired, busy, etc. he is. You can then watch how fast he changes his mind about what is best for your daughter.
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