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Development Case Studies

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Mark, aged 4 years : Potty training

With his dressing he was to be left alone in his room with his clothes and told that once he was dressed we would all go to the swing park. We would return to the room every two or three minutes to remind him that once he was dressed we would all go to the park, but on no account was he to be helped with dressing. When he refused to tidy his toys away, we simply took the toys away that he had been playing with and told him that he would get them back the following day, if he had decided that he wanted to look after them properly.

Luis, age 10.5 months : Aggressive behaviour

Luis had always been placid and hardly anything would startle him. But when Luis was ill and had been vomiting for about three nights he started crying and smacking his parents in the face. But when he got better, he carried on smacking them, but only when they were together; if one of them left the room, he would not hit! At first they took no notice, as he was ill and he was frustrated. After trying not to react to him, the slaps got harder and more regular. His parents noticed that he would only smack them when they picked him up and then talked to each other and not giving him attention.

Charlotte, age 20 months: Pinching

At 20 months, Charlotte was a happy, confident little girl, who could be chatty and charming when in her own environment, but could become shy in new and busy situations. Once she settled in, however, she became over-exuberant and aggressively affectionate, especially to babies and other children. She would hug or kiss them and not let go, often finally ending the cuddle with a hard pinch. This behaviour was making Charlotte's mother very anxious and she felt she was passing this anxiety on to Charlotte.

Jack, age 2 years and 10 months: Regression in Potty Training

Jack, aged two and a half, was potty-trained using Gina's book, Potty Training in One Week. After ten days he didn't have another accident, and after a fortnight he never used the potty again, as he preferred to use the toilet with his trainer-seat. He loved the whole concept of being 'a big boy' and his Thomas the Tank Engine pants.

In September, Jack started nursery in the mornings and loved it and, interestingly, he never had an accident there throughout the whole time of this case study. Then a few things happened: Jack's baby brother baby learnt to crawl and started to invade Jack's space. Also, their nanny was heavily pregnant and Jack's parents explained to Jack that she would be having a baby, but not that she would be leaving him.

One day Jack wet himself. He was playing with friends, but that had never been a problem before. His mum changed him and didn't say much. The following day, he wet himself and laughed. His mum later told him he was a big boy and to use the toilet, but didn't tell him off. She reiterated that "nappies are for babies", like his baby brother, and that he was a big boy.

On day three, he wet himself and pooed his pants. The accident on days two and three were with the nanny. His mum knew this behaviour was a reaction to his nanny going, his brother becoming more active and Jack having to share his toys more. Whilst she knew that regression is common, she did not know how to deal with it. By mid-December Jack was wetting himself every day. No incentives worked.

  • Caleb, age 2 years and 9 months : Withholding Poo
  • Lucy, age 26 months : Potty Training

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