This week’s question for The Sleep Lady:
“Help! My 2 year old is delaying his bedtime and waking up in the middle of the night to say he has to poop on the potty. Naturally, we are torn between risking a dirty diaper and letting him get out of bed only to sit on the potty for a while and declare, “I’ll poop later”. Sometimes he will poop on the second curtain call, sometimes not. How should we approach this problem? He is getting less and less sleep with these shenanigans. I have not seen this problem addressed anywhere and would love some advice. Thanks,Mary”
With a newly potty trained child, however, the potty can itself become yet another bedtime stalling tactic. When a child says he has to “go potty” you are of course going to let him get out of bed and go potty – once and only once. But keep it boring. No talking, no games, no show and tell. Just potty. Then put him in a diaper or pull-up (if that is what he is wearing), reassure him it’s fine to use the diaper at night, and get him to bed. Some parents decide to escort their child to the bathroom and then stand in the hallway facing away from their child and silently waiting until he is done. Don’t make it a party or that will be his favorite stall tactic! If he says he has to go potty again five minutes later, tell him that he’s out of luck, it’s too soon to go again, he can wait until morning, and make sure he knows there is nothing wrong with using a diaper or pull up overnight. Some parents who feel uncomfortable with this stance will tell their children to go to the potty on their own this time. I have even had parents put a portable potty in a child’s room so they can go independently. Just hope they don’t knock it over!
Hope that helps!
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