Green Surprise: The Potty Training Relapse

Since our lives went a tad ballistic in March, I didn't have time to post about St. Patrick's Day.  You know how we do: Lucky Charms with green milk, green applesauce, green alfredo sauce on potatoes, green broccoli, and heck - let's throw in some green donuts for good measure.  

Unbeknownst to me, this devious little leprechaun spent the day devising his St. Patrick's Day treat for me.

The next day I found three green poops on my bathroom floor.  Happy freaking St. Patrick's Day, Mom!

It had been two months since he first mastered potty training, but only a few weeks since we moved.  People… do NOT potty train before moving!  Ugh, I wish I had known that we were relocating, and I would have waited.  He did great at Disneyland, but once we started settling into the new place, something about the big change threw him off his potty game.

I scoured the internet for solutions to potty training relapse and found nothing legitimate, so I was on my own.  Scary place to be, I was seriously at a loss.  It's not on Pinterest?  I'm DOOMED!

There was no other choice but to reach outside of my generational comfort zone and try to figure it out on my own.  Hope this helps someone.

First, we re-introduced the potty dance and reward treats.  That made an immediate difference.  The one change we made was that in order to get a treat he not only needed to go in the potty, but he needed to have dry underwear.  He caught on quickly.

Also, I started taking him to the toilet every hour, even if he told me he didn't need to go.  At first this was met with resistance, so I scrambled for something that would change his negative feelings.

I enlisted Cam to help me create a special potty chart.  We used regular poster board cut it in half, and I made sure to let him decorate it.  {He's a minimalist, but very proud of his craftsmanship.}  Even though I still had animal stickers from our original potty training week, I sprung for some larger Mickey Mouse Clubhouse stickers, so that it was new and exciting.

I taped the chart at the entrance to the bathroom, at his eye-level.  The idea was that seeing the poster and stickers throughout the day would remind him to stop and think about what his body was telling him.  Putting it close to the bathroom will hopefully one day mean that just being near the bathroom will make him think about it.  Most importantly, it helped him get excited as we headed for the potty every hour, rather than resistant, and got him thinking about which sticker he would choose.

This worked better than I ever could have hoped.  When he's walked down the hall he frequently stops to admire his poster, complete with sticker collection.  He asks to go to the bathroom almost too often;  he wants those stickers!  But the result?  No more accidents.

To be honest, this whole thing was hard not to get negative with this.  I mean, we were in the CLEAR and then were suddenly thrown back into the dirty potty training trenches.  It was all I could do not to cry!  But if I ever got negative, the results were instantaneous.  He wanted nothing to do with the potty.  Oops.

So we learned how important it is to stay positive.  Whenever he had accidents I focused not on his behavior {"WHY did you pee in your pants?"} but instead on how yucky messy underwear is.  It even became a joke.  "Yucky, yucky underwear!" was the most hilarious thing one could say in our house, but it had an impact.  And then I had him put the soiled underwear it in the yucky bin himself, and we talked about how nice it is to have clean underwear.

Also, we kept up the mantra, "No pee pee on the floor.  Pee pee in the… POTTY!"  Re-introducing that was almost like switching on a light.  He suddenly remembered our three-day training much more clearly, and repeated it all on his own.  Most often when he was on the toilet, kind of like he was proud of himself for going on the potty and not on the floor.

After only a few days with the poster, Camden was back on track.  Instead of taking him to the potty every hour, I just remember to ask him if he has to go.  This is working wonderfully for us; we've had dry underwear and floors all week.

Thank.  GOODNESS!!!!

Next year I think I'll cool it on the green food… just in case.

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