Need help adjusting 4 year old to new baby sister, and trying to potty train

  • I am in the process of potty training my 4 year old lil boy. The only problem is that hes not taking to it very well. I have tried almost everything. I have given him rewards for going in the potty, and getting bigger rewards for going all on his own, and he is still not following it. We have even gone as far as putting him in big boy underware, but he tends to just stand in his room and go.

    Now that he has a little sister on the way we have tried to explain to him that he needs to go potty so he can be a good example for her when she is old enough. But that is where my other problem lies. For the last 4 years, and up until about Feburary, has been and is the only child. I love my son dearly and really want to help him adjust to having another person in which he needs to share with. So I was looking for ideas on how to help him adjust to being a big brother, with out having to give my son a baby doll. My sister too her kids to her doctors appointments when she was expecting, and I plan on trying that my self, but I was looking for other ideas. Does anyone have anything that could help?

  • Cleoridy-

    I think that you have two separate (but could be related) issues to work on with your son.  I want to start out by asking you more about the potty training.  How long have you been working on Potty training with him?  Was he every potty trained and now he is not?  What tactics have you tried?

    Potty training is a big adjustment for any child.  Looking at having a new family member is another BIG adjustment for a child.  I think that you need to tackle them independently, or you are going to continue to have trouble.  

    FIrst of all many children between the age of 2 and 6 have a very hard time adjusting to the idea of having a sibling.  Your son has had your sole attention for the last four years, and I imagine that he feels pretty threatened by the idea of having a sibling, who as he may see is, is about to take mom and dad away from him.  He may be wondering, at a four year old level, "will mom and dad still love me if i have a sister?", "Will I get to hve special time with them anymore?"  "will everything I know change?"  "Are they going to trade me in?" and on and on.  I think for you to get anywhere with the potty training he needs to know that he will not loose a bit of the love and security that he has now once his sister is born.  Then add in that he will get to be a big brother and that is such an important job.  He has to know that his pace in the family is safe before he can even face the concept of having a new sibling.  I'd imagine that if he is not feeling safe about this then anything and everything that relates to that baby he sees as a threat and therefore bad.  Thus-if you are related potty training success to that sister i think you are going to have nothing but trouble.  I think that having as much predictiblity in his life as possible right now is really important.  Thus having daytime routine as well as bed time routine will really help.  Then a lot of talks with him about how important and loved he is.  Tell him that once he decides he wants to accept it his job as the big bother is very important.  In regard to the potty training alone you are on track with rewards.  Again it has to be consistent reward that is predictible so that he can relate doing well with the reward.  A sticker chart may be very helpful.  Also put him on a potty schedule just as you would a puppy.  He needs to go to the potty every 3-4 hours or more and just try to go.  Then lots of rewards, praise, ect.  I would also try to not be emotionally involved in potty training.  Be neutral about it, but reward him for good work.  This is  hard one to figure out!  

    Keep us posted on how things are going.

    Hugs, Jess

  • We have been trying to potty train my son since he was a lil over 2, but havent had much luck. We have tried the M&Ms and different little candies like that. We have tried putting him in Big boy Underware, only to watch him stand infront of the tv and go to the bath room there in his pants. I have tried telling him that going in his pants is a bad thing and shows that hes not being a big boy but is being like a little baby. I always get the same cute reply of, "I'm not a baby." So we tell him that if hes not a baby he needs to go potty like a big boy. We have even had a friends son over when we were baby sitting him before school started up. We told our son that if he wanted to go to school like the other little boy he woudl have to go potty like the other boy did. It worked for a little bit. As of Right now, we are giving him suckers for going in the potty for so many times, but it doesnt seem to be much of a motivation for him. I'm really out of ideas.

    As for his little sister being on the way, She was a complete surprise to us. I have only reacently found out that I am expecting, and fount out not long after that Im a little over 5 months along. We were hoping that we would have a little longer to plan for the second child as well as have our son potty trained, and hopefully in school by that time. Now we are telling our son that he needs to go potty so that he can show his little sister what to do when its her time to start going potty.

    I plan on trying the sticker chart, to see if i can get him convinced to go potty that way. I have had a friend recomend it to me and she seems to have had quiet a lot of success with her two boys. I dont remember having this much trouble when i potty trained my little brother. Then again Every Child is different.