I started trying to potty train my son right after he turned 2. He completely refused, so I backed off for a little bit. He changed day care facilities, and they did not help with training at all, so he was training only at home. I switched day care facilities again, and he would go here and there. By this time, he was almost 3 years old. We had gone through a lot emotionally and with relocating. I started potty training with the help of his school, and he was doing great! Then...nothing. He completely stopped and said no, or threw fits when I took to the potty. I've tried rewards of chocolate milk if he goes, but he could take it or leave it. I've talked to him, begged him, and over all bargained with him. He will hide from me when he is using his pull up which lets me know he knows when he has to go. Just recently, I noticed that he pulls off his pull up during the day. Well, if he runs around naked, or without bottoms, he goes every single time in either his potty in the toilet. I've advised to just let him train this way, without bottoms, but I'm worried about what will happen when I put underwear on him. I'm so confused, and I feel like...honestly...like a bad mom. I don't know what is right about this anymore. Should I allow him to train with no bottoms, or do I need to take another approach to this? I feel like why change what is working for us. I don't know if I should put him back into school so he can see other kids, but that didn't seem to work too well before. I just need some help. What is going to work?
One of my boys was not at all interested in putting his business in a toilet. He'd do as your son does, go behind furniture to potty. Looking back, I think he did that because I probably imparted a sense of shame on him pottying in his pullup. A light bulb went off and I realized his potty training was about him, not me, or bribery, or the best encouragement, or cross words, or comparing him to siblings, etc. That just doesn't work for someone not developmentally ready, no matter the age. We finally decided to keep him in diapers, not even pullups. One day, he walked out of the bathroom, dry diaper in hand and said he went potty. That was it. No accidents ever. I would add he was almost four years old.
I completely understand your feelings of "bad mom", but those are unfounded feelings. Meeting your child where he is developmentally is being the best mom to your son.
All that said, if your son will go sans pants, I'd probably take a week or so and commit to helping him become comfortable going potty on his terms, then slowly introducing him to the idea of underwear. Take him to pick some out. Let him know he might like to wear them some day. Just keep them out, but in the package. Couple days later, let him take them out, feel them, get used to them. Remind him that he can put them on if when he would like to. He may surprise you once he realizes that you realize he's in control with this.
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