Question: I have a 4 year old son that is potty trained and continues to pee on his floor and on his toys. I have tried everything from talking to him to punishing him and nothing is working. I asked him to tell me why he did it and he says because he wants to.
Also lately he has been very angry and hostile. He will not listen to me and I am at the end of my rope. I put him back in daycare this week hoping that would help, but he is being bad there also. I have talked to my ex-husband about therapy, but my insurance has no child psychologists. When I took him to the doctor I asked her and she wasn’t much of a help.So if you can help please let me know.
Answer: Dear Angela;
He is not being “bad” he is acting out inappropriately and all child behavior has a reason behind it. He sounds very angry.
What is in his environment that might be contributing to all this anger and hostility?
First of all potty training is not an overnight occurrence. All children have accidents. Are you sure he is doing so on purpose? He directly aims at the floor and his toys?
You said you took him to the doctor and she wasn’t much help. What exactly did she tell you?
You mentioned an ex husband. Does he see his dad at all? Was this a recent divorce?
Is anyone being physical with him? Hitting him or otherwise being inappropriate with him.
I think we can help him I do however need some more information. You can mark your posting private so no one else can see your responses if you like.
Some great suggestions for children this age are as follows. If you can figure out what might be at the root of his behavior such as a divorce then go to the bookstore or library and look for books that address this issue for his age group. Children love to know they are okay and that someone understands what they are going through. Four year olds do not have a very large feeling vocabulary and need help developing one. There are great picture/word books on feelings to help children identify feelings. Google the word feelings and see how many angry feeling words you see.
Most importantly, praise behavior you do want and ignore behavior you do not want. Parents often make such a to do over behavior they do not want and don’t always realize they are giving the wrong kind of attention (any attention will increase the behavior as children want and crave your attention whether it is negative or positive).
Feel free to review some of my prior responses to postings on this topic for other ideas!
M Kay Keller
———- FOLLOW-UP ———-
QUESTION: I’m not sure where the anger and hostility is coming from.As for the peeing on things he is deliberately doing it. One time he had a pile of toys and peed on them.The doctor just checked his urine for something maybe related to this problem. She found nothing. He sees his Dad every other weekend. We have been separated for three and a half years.No one is being physical or inappropriate with him.
Answer: Dear Angela:
Well as his mom you will need to investigate to determine where the anger is coming from if anything is happening when he is visiting his dad? What does he have to say about this behavior etc….
Some other possibilities are:
He gets a strong reaction from you and this reinforces the behavior. Any attention is welcome attention to a pre-schooler.
Get a book from the local library or bookstore on appropriate behavior for his reading age and/or a potty training book and read it to him everyday.
Be sure no one is hurting him or otherwise adding to his frustration. Unless he is with you 100% of time, you cannot really be positive no parent can be.
Provide more positive attention as it is easy when a child is acting out like this to have the relationship become slightly negative. Try and praise his behavior more when he is doing what you want him to do.
I cannot fix your problem or anyone else. My job is to share what I know, suggest ways to change the behavior and then the rest is up to you to decide just how to do this. You know you child better than anyone else ever could.
You can get around the insurance by contacting a local university and looking for a child behavior specialist if you still feel you need professional assistance.
I think breaking the negativity between you both by adding more one on one time, reading the stories and increasing your level of fun time will probably help him to grow out of this stage.