I’ve talked a lot about Jude’s struggle with potty training. After literally years of trying just about every method conceivable we still have struggles on a daily basis. At this point it has less to do with his ability to use the potty and more to do with his inattentiveness and sensory issue. So I am still “potty training” my 5 and a half year old son but our method looks pretty different than they way most kids are potty trained.
First, I will say that Jude has a majority of the attributes of a child with ADHA although he hasn’t been medically diagnosed as such. As a result I garner a lot of my behavioral methods from ADHA material. I also want to raise my children in a God-centered home so we take a lot of our guidance from the Bible and Biblical principles.
Currently Jude’s issues stem from the fact that he gets too involved in whatever he is doing to stop and go potty. I try to remain aware of the signs like dancing around and being extra fidgety so I can preempt the situation but I’m not always around. So we are instilling consequences and rewards to help encourage him to pause to potty.
Video games are still his biggest motivator. He knows that if he has an accident as a result of failure to pause to potty he will lose the privilege to play a video game (computer, phone, leap pad, Wii). I like this type of motivator because it offers a reward for positive behavior and a loss of that privilege as the consequence. I understand that he is a child and is still learning about cause and effect so we also offer redemption opportunities.
There are a few things I try to remember when addressing his potty training struggles.
1. He is old enough and aware enough to know when he has to potty and react accordingly.
2. Offer reminders of the reward and consequence when I notice him doing the potty dance but allow him to take control of his body and decisions. No shouting at him to, “go potty now”.
3. When he has an accident address it immediately. Make him clean up the mess. Remind him that he just lost his privilege and talk about what we need to do next time so he can retain video game time.
4. Offer a redemption opportunity if warranted. Occasionally the accident is more accident than an intentional disregard of his body’s cues and on those occasions I give him the opportunity to redeem the situation. He may have to fold laundry, do an extra chore or write a letter of apology. He can re-earn his video game time if he works hard to prove he is motivated.
5. Be encouraging. This whole process has been an on-going struggle for both Jude and I. We’ve both felt a flurry of emotions throughout the process and I know for sure that being his cheerleader is a great motivator for him. Whenever I address him I want to remind him of is progress, encourage him to make good decisions and talk about ways we can prevent further incidents from occurring.
Potty training a busy child can be extremely challenging and exhausting but the one thing I’ve learned is that each child is different and require very different processes. Therefore if you have a child that has potty training challenges don’t give up if the “tried and true method” you read about doesn’t work for your kid, find what works for your child and be persistent.