When your toddler’s behaviour turns backwards

So, we’ve told Henry we’re having another baby. He was very excited at first, and now has decided that he’s not excited and doesn’t want another baby. And while he did eventually use words to explain his feelings, we spent a few weeks dealing with a toddler whose behaviour went from bad to worse, as their behaviour often does. But this time, we’ve decided not to fight against it.

One of the big things experts always tell you is to not give into anger when your kid’s behaviour changes – that it usually means that they don’t know how to properly express something, and that usually, if you just ignore the behaviour and give your kids some extra attention, you’ll find that your kids will go back to normal fairly quickly.

This is something that Matt and I have always struggled with – we have a hard time letting go and get angry when the kids suddenly do a 180.

Not this time.

Henry’s bad behaviour has manifested in him deciding that he’s going to pee his pants exclusively and not ever use the toilet. So, we have decided and with support from the daycare, that if he pees his pants, without fighting, we simply put him in a diaper. We’ve decided that if he wants to act like a baby, he gets treated like a baby.

So far, it’s worked like a dream. We don’t raise our voices, we don’t get mad. We just get very matter of fact and tell him that it’s time for a diaper. He’s gone from constantly peeing his pants to maybe one accident in a day.

We are also giving him lots of extra positive attention – extra snuggles, lots of touch and talk and one on one with each parent. These two things, combined, are helping us combat this bad behaviour.

Sometimes it’s hard not to slip back into our old mindsets with him, but we’re working on it. He’ll be four in less than two months – and will be starting JK next fall. We’d really like to see this pee pants situation kicked in the butt before then, because I suspect Kindergarten teachers are much less forgiving of these sorts of accidents than daycare teachers.


How have you dealt with negative behaviour with your toddlers? What worked? What didn’t?

  • margie

    Its sounds like henry has gotten his way with both of you kids need to know who is the parent and who is the child no telling what he will have you doing the next time he doesn’t agree with you he is too old to let him wear diapers (ooh!) I would give him a time out with no talking or toys or tv , nothing for 5 minutes and with every diaper change add more time to the punishment if you need to don’t let him do any activities for the whole day just limit what he can do he will get the message you are in control

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