My son can be very stubborn. He is one of those toddlers that don’t want to do anything he doesn’t want to do. I know that this is common with toddlers, but at times he takes this to the extreme and no amount of bribing will get him to do what he doesn’t want to do. Marco had no interest in using the potty and down right refused to try at home or at preschool, even with so many of his friends using the potty. So when it came time to start potty training, my husband and I needed to get creative to create an environment that would make potty training his idea.

We decided to do the three-day potty boot camp where we could focus all of our energy on getting him potty trained and ready to go back to preschool. About two weeks before the boot camp we started talking to him about being a big boy and how big boys wear big boy pants and go in the potty like mommy and daddy. A few days prior to the boot camp we started a countdown to the big day by telling him that it was almost time to get rid of the diapers and put on his big boy pants. We also watched the “Nina Needs to Go” shorts on Disney Jr., which highlight getting the bathroom and not waiting to go. The night before we told him that tomorrow was the big day and after he went to sleep we removed all things devoted to diapers (e.g., wipes, changing table, diapers).

On the first morning, when he got up we took off his diaper and I let him pick out a pair of big boy pants to wear. We talked to Marco about using the potty and told him to let us know when he needed to go. Then we watched him like a hawk and continued to ask him to let us know when he needed to go. We had a few accidents and then it just happened, he was letting us know that he had to go potty either in words or running to the potty himself.

As part of our system we wanted to reward him for doing a good job for using the potty. I created a chart with ten boxes and on the tenth box I put a graphic of a present. Each time he used the potty he would get a smiley face stamp and if he got to the potty without wetting his big boy pants he got two stamps. When he reached ten stamps he got a present. To keep the incentive active I put the present in a bag on the counter so he could always see it. From time to time we would talk about how cool the present was and how he would get it when he got all ten stamps. As an added bonus we would have him count how many more stamps he needed to get…always looking for opportunities to strengthen his skills.

On day two, we continued with the same routine of stamps, watching him, and continually reminding him to let us know if he needed to go. We still had some slightly wet big boy pants, but he was getting to the potty to finish, which was great. He even managed to go number two on the potty, which took some convincing. I used the cottonelle flushable wipes to clean him up since they are similar to baby wipes to help him make the transition and they worked great.

By day three, he was running to the potty without us telling us with no accidents…and of course asking for his stamp and present. He was doing so well that we actually decided to venture out to a neighbor’s birthday party to play with some other kids. We continued to watch and remind him to let us know if he needed to go potty and surprise surprise he asked to go potty…success!

I was really amazed at how well he took to the process, but I think it really helped to let it be on his own terms and not continually asking him if he needed to go or making him sit on the potty and try.

I guess we will have to see how his newfound freedom holds when he gets to preschool on Monday.

At times it is difficult having such a stubborn toddler, but I have found that we just need to be more creative in how we parent. Hopefully his need to follow his own path will serve him well in the future.

Hope this help. I would love to hear about your potty training tip and strategies .

Chao for now.