Potty Training my Defiant Three Year Old

I don’t potty train until I absolutely have to. This means because I have to put my kids in child care, they grow out of their diapers, or the like. This is after 3 children. I made every attempt to potty train my first child at a young age. There are pediatricians who think early potty training is linked to medical problems. There really is no reason to rush it. It forces on them “learning.” Except not the kind where they are awakened to the joyful, wondrous world. It’s the kind where they are expected to act rationally, identifying their need to “go” with getting to the potty, and the resultant highly explosive situation if they don’t. I just don’t get on board with it anymore. I let my kid be happily in a diaper, oblivious to adult standards and constraints for as long as possible. Toilets, etc., are a very modern thing. We think we’re so wealthy–yeah, well, except how many are now denied bathroom use because [they are in class, on a nurse’s shift, in a car, etc.]?

Anyway, my three year old was pretty defiant about it. I tried every video, lesson, getting his beloved stuffed animal, “Monkey” involved, etc., as I could. It really came down to: I just need to take his diaper off and leave it off.

This is what I did, this morning. It went as you’d expect. He threw the underwear I offered. He wouldn’t accept any form of comfort, including milk or Monkey. He sat away from me, defiant.

I had wondered “how do I potty train this child?” He’s wild and wiggly. The answer was there for me live: you do what you always do as a parent. You comfort them and watch for clues. I let him be for a bit. I thought about putting the diaper back on. But I thought, “no, we’re already this far.” I had just helped his sister sit with pain. He can bear it. I can help him.

I finally heard him calm down a bit. When I approached, he at least didn’t run away. I thought about how I could get unequivocally in his world. I just tried to be a presence. When the time looked right, I asked if he wanted to sit with me. It was a timid but assured, “Yes.” And so I was able to scoop him up and hold him and give him milk and set him on a towel. One way or the other: he let me touch him.

Wrapped in the warmth of Mommy and Monkey

And it’s only in this emotional comfort that any learning can take place.

My book series Misbehavior is Growth champions above all else getting into their world as you deal with such issues. The book on 3 year olds to come out in January 2021.

I’m Amber, homeschool mom to 3. I document the age-related stages children go through. See the main site for more.

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