How to potty train a 3 year old boy and get him to stop pooping all over his room?

Tammy - posted on 03/18/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )




Ok I am having a very difficult time potty training my 3 year old boy. He refuses to sit on the potty most of the time but lately I have had him sitting on it 3 or 4 times a day for like half hour each time and nothing. And another big issue with it is that he keeps pooping in his diaper after he goes to bed and playing in it. last night it was all over him 3 walls and the carpet and he does this every week or 2 sometimes 2 nights in a row. I am about at my witts end cause his room I swear permenantly smells like poop now he has rubbed it into his carpet enough times. HELP I dont know what to do short of get angry with him. I try being calm and explaining things to him and nothing works.


Katherine - posted on 03/18/2012




My daughter used to do the SAME thing. Smearing poop everywhere! She finally grew out of it at 2.5.

Here are some tips that might help: Wait for the right moment

The key to potty-training success is starting only when your son is truly able to do so. While some children can start as young as 18 months, others may not be prepared to learn until well into their fourth year. As you may already have discovered, boys tend to stay in nappies longer than girls, and second (or subsequent) children often learn faster than firstborns. There's no point in trying to get a head start: studies show that when parents begin potty training too soon, the process simply takes longer to complete. In other words, you arrive at your destination at the same time, no matter when you start. So the first thing to do is use our checklist to see whether your son is primed for potty training.

Once you've determined that your son is ready, focus on timing. Make sure your child's routine is well established. If he's just started at nursery or has a new sibling, he may be less receptive to change, or feel too overwhelmed to tackle this new challenge. Wait until he seems open to new ideas so you can potty train successfully.

Let him watch and learn

Toddlers learn by imitation, and watching you go to the loo is a natural first step. This is where having a readily available male role model is key. If he wants to, let your son follow Dad, an uncle, or a good family friend to the bathroom to watch him pee. He may notice that Daddy uses the toilet differently from Mummy, which opens up a great opportunity for you to explain the basic mechanics of how boys use a toilet.

Buy the right equipment

Most experts advise buying a potty, which your toddler can claim as his own and which will also feel more secure to him than a full-sized toilet. (Many toddlers fear falling into the toilet, and their anxiety can interfere with potty training.) If you prefer to buy an adapter, or training, seat to fit on top of your toilet seat, make sure it feels comfy and secure and attaches firmly. If you decide to do this, you'll also need to provide your son with a stool, since it's important that he is able to climb on and off the seat easily any time he needs to go and to stabilize himself with his feet while he's sitting on it. You may also want to use a book or video which talks about potty training for your son, which can make it easier for him to grasp all this new information.

Help your child get comfortable with the potty

This early in the process, your child needs to get used to the idea of using the potty. Start by letting him know that the potty or potty-chair is his very own. You can personalise it by writing his name on it or letting him decorate it with stickers. Then try sitting him on it with his clothes on. After he's practised this way for a week or so, you can suggest he try it with his trousers and nappy off. If he seems at all resistant, avoid any temptation to pressure him. That will only set up a power struggle that could derail the entire process.

If your child has a favourite doll or stuffed animal, try using it for potty demonstrations. Most children enjoy watching their favourite toy go through the motions, and may learn more this way than from you telling them what to do. Some parents even construct a makeshift toilet for the doll or stuffed animal; while your child is perched on his potty, his favourite toy can be sitting on its own little potty.

Buy him some cool pants

Get your son focused on the benefits of being potty-trained by taking him on a special errand: buying underwear. Let him know that he gets to choose whatever kind he wants (superhero pants or boxers, or ones emblazoned with favourite TV characters are always popular). Talk up the outing in advance so he gets excited about being old enough to use the potty and wear 'real' underwear just like his dad's or older brother's.

Set up a training schedule

Getting your toddler out of nappies will depend on your daily schedule and whether or not your son is at nursery or with a childminder or nanny. If he is, you'll want to coordinate your strategy with his carer or nursery teacher.

You'll have to decide whether to use the back-and-forth method of switching between nappies and underpants or the cold-turkey method of going into underwear full-time. While disposable training pants are convenient, many experts and parents find it's best to put children straight into underwear or washable cloth training pants, both of which allow your son to feel immediately when he's wet. That, of course, will make it more likely that you'll be cleaning up some accidents. If you can't decide what to do for the best, why not have a chat with your health visitor. For a while, at least, you'll want to continue using nappies or disposable pants at night and on long trips out and about.

Teach him to sit first, then stand

Since poos and wees often come at the same time, it makes sense initially to have your son sitting down for both so he learns that both belong in the potty. Also, that way, he won't get distracted by the fun of spraying and learning to aim when you need him to concentrate on just mastering the basic procedure.

When your son seems to be comfortable on his potty or toilet training seat, let him give standing at the toilet a try (you'll have to buy a non-slip stool for him to stand on at first). There's no reason to rush this; he can sit as long as he likes. If he seems reluctant, try floating a few Cheerios or other small, flushable objects in the toilet bowl for target practice, and expect to clean up a few messes as your son perfects his aim. If you're not squeamish about him weeing in the garden, you can even paint or tape a target on the ground or a tree!

Set aside some naked time

Nothing helps your toddler suss out when he needs to go better than letting him spend some time bottomless. Put the potty in an accessible place while he plays, and encourage him to sit on it now and again. Of course, if he's going to play naked, you'll have to steel yourself not to get upset about the occasional puddle (putting plastic over your carpet can help with this). Watch for signs that he has to go (clutching himself or hopping up and down in one place) and use these cues to suggest it's potty time. You can do this on several consecutive days, in the evenings when the family is all together, or just at weekends -- it's up to you. The more time your child spends out of nappies, the faster he'll learn.

Celebrate his successes

He will undoubtedly have a few accidents, but eventually your son will enjoy the accomplishment of getting something in the potty. Celebrate this moment with a big fanfare. Reinforce the idea that he's reached a significant milestone by rewarding him with a 'big boy' reward, such as watching a new video or getting an extra bedtime story. But try not to make a big deal out of every trip to the potty, or else your child will start to feel nervous and self-conscious under the glare of all that attention.

If at first he doesn't succeed, try, try again

As with any other skill, the more he uses the potty, the better he'll be at it. But there are some things you can do to make it easier for him. Dress your child in loose-fitting clothes that he can easily take off himself, or buy underpants a size too big. If he still has trouble with the concept, don't overreact or punish. Nothing can disrupt potty training faster than making a child feel bad for having an accident. Keep in mind that even children who have used the toilet successfully for months occasionally have accidents. If you feel frustrated, remind yourself that scolding your child for wetting his pants might mean more months of nappies rather than fewer.

Raise the fun factor

If you approach potty training with a little imagination, your child will be more likely to stay motivated throughout the entire process. Drip some blue food colouring into the toilet and your child will be amazed at how he can turn the water green. Put several favourite books next to the toilet so he can read them whenever he has to go -- or better yet, read to him. Maybe he'd like to cut out paper shapes and use them for target practice.

If your child starts to lose interest, but is well into potty training, you may want to consider offering rewards. One popular method is to use stickers and a calendar to keep track of his successes. Every time he goes to the toilet, he gets a sticker that he can then paste onto the page. Watching the stickers accumulate will keep him inspired. If the stickers themselves aren't enough of a thrill, you can offer an additional reward such as a treat from the sweetie section at the supermarket or a longed-for toy when he gets enough stickers or stays dry for a certain number of days in a row. For more ideas, click here.

Move into night mode

Once your son stays dry all day, you can start formulating a game plan for nights. Wait until he's securely toilet trained, then start checking his nappies in the mornings and after naps to see if they're dry. Many children start staying dry during their afternoon naps within six months of learning to use the toilet. Nighttime training is trickier, because it depends on your son's body being able to hold urine for an extended period of time and on how deeply he sleeps. If he wants to try sleeping without nappies, buy a sturdy, wipe-clean mattress cover, then go ahead and let him.

Should a few nights of this experiment show he's not ready, put him back in nappies in a non-judgmental way. Tell him that his body is not quite ready for this next step, and reassure him that he'll soon be big enough to try again. If your child stays dry three out of five nights, go for it! Support his attempts to stay dry by restricting how much he drinks after 5pm and waking him up for a final trip to the toilet before you go to bed. If your child seems to be taking ages to stay dry at night, try not to worry: nighttime accidents are considered normal up to at least the age of seven.

Ditch the nappies completely

By the time your child's ready to say goodbye to nappies altogether, he's achieved a lot. Acknowledge this and reinforce his pride in his achievement by letting him give away leftover nappies to a family with younger kids or send them away with the nappy delivery service one last time.

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