No More Diapers! By Jo Graham Brooks, MD
Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel
Going to the Potty by Fred Rogers
Potty Time! By Betty Reichmeier
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
Uh Oh! Gotta Go! By Bob McGrath
I Have to Go: Featuring Jim Henson’s Sesame Street Muppets by Anna Ross
This is a common problem for many young children. They often are very sound sleepers and have small bladders that can’t hold all of the urine made during the night. Suggestions include:
– Limit the amount of liquids your child drinks 2 hours before bedtime
– Have your child try to use the toilet just before going to bed and as soon as he wakes up
– Cover the child’s mattress with a rubber pad
– Praise him when he stays dry
– Respond gently when he does have an accident; getting angry doesn’t help either of you
– Tell him to use the toilet if he wakes up in the middle of the night; remind him he can come and get you for help
Think carefully about the words you teach your child for body parts, urine and bowel movements. Not only will you hear these words daily throughout the preschool years, but he is sure to repeat them often to relatives, neighbors, teachers and friends. To encourage a healthy body image, use anatomically correct names for all body parts. When an elbow is an elbow, but a penis is a “weenie,” children often wonder why one part of their body is so special that it can’t be called by its real name. On the other hand, most people don’t use terms like “urine” or “feces” to explain their bathroom needs. “Pee pee,” “wee wee,” “wet,” and “tinkle” are more commonly understood childhood descriptions of urination, while “poo poo,” “doo doo,” “BM,” “poop,” and “doody” are the usual choices for a bowel movement. In addition, simply saying “going potty” can be confusing to a child because it doesn’t differentiate urination from defecation.
Regressions to wetting and/or soiling are not uncommon in toddlers and are usually a reaction to stress. Look for sources of pressure in the child’s life—separation from a parent, a new baby, starting nursery school, moving, etc.—and try to ease tension by providing reassurance. If this persists, speak with your pediatrician.
Accidents will happened-and are to be expected. Be relaxed about them. Express no anger or disapproval; don’t scold, shame or punish him. Clean up calmly and reassure him that “next time you’ll remember to use the potty.”
During your everyday activities, point out when he is having a bowel movement or is urinating; teach him that urine and feces come from the body, teach him the words you want to use for bathroom functions, allow him to observe others using the toilet, read books about toilet training.
Some—but not necessarily all—of the following are signs: pausing and making sounds and grimaces when having a bowel movement, being regular in bowel movements, staying dry for an hour or two in the daytime, waking up dry from a nap, complaining when wet or soiled, being aware that urine and feces come from his body, telling the parent when he has had or is having a bowel movement, wanting to imitate adults and be grown up.
It is important to remember that each child is an individual and develops at his own rate. Generally speaking, you can expect your child to achieve daytime control sometime between ages 2 and 3, and nighttime control between ages 3 and 4-1/2.