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For Parents

Parenting Tips

Cut-and-Dry Potty Training

Dear Janie,

What do you do when you have a little boy (just turned 3) who does not care if he sits in poop … or pee … or pees on the floor or POOPS on the floor. I have tried every potty training method known to man, and I cannot get my son to care. He can stay dry if you nag him all day and drag him to the toilet, but he will always poop his pants. He is very bright, very mature for his age. How do I motivate this kid? I’ve offered toys, sticker charts, trips to the zoo. I’ve even threatened to put him into time-out.

I know you shouldn’t punish a child for having accidents, but they don’t seem like accidents – just laziness. Where do I go from here?

Tired Mom

Dear Mom,

Sometimes we are so desperate as parents, we will try anything to get rid of the mess that comes with potty/poop training. When one method fails, we move instantly onto the next. It is key to pick rewards that you think will work best for the successes your son will have and to use these rewards immediately.

Remember using your attention correctly will conquer this little stinker. When he has an accident, take any and all of your attention away. This means no words, no facial expressions, no sighs, no eye contact. Clean up his mess and then go on with your day. The idea is that he’ll receive tons of attention and his rewards for any little success and zero attention for any regressions. Keep it cut-and-dry. The more attention you cut, the more your son will be dry.