Potty Training 2-3 Year Olds
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Potty Training 2-3 Year Olds
The first part of potty training my 25-month-old is going great.
So long as he wears nothing on his bottom, and has the potty in
sight, he has done great for sitting down without prompting when
he is ready to do #1 or #2. So yays and much praise have come his
way for the past couple of weeks. The issue now is that if I put
anything on his bottom, even regular underpants or training
pants, he seems to think this is a license to go ahead and wet
his pants like a diaper. Even though I've explained numerous
times how the underpants are different than diapers, and try to
prompt him to go to the potty when he has them on, it seems like
he just doesn't think he should use the potty chair if he has any
kind of bottom covering, and he doesn't at all mind walking
around soaking wet in his pants. So, folks, how do you get to
the next step? Thanks for all advice.
''A'' for effort, but ''W'' for wet!
When my son started that, his preschool teacher suggested ''commando.'' Worked like
a charm. I just put him in loose-fitting, soft, elastic-waist pants or shorts. This
worked for all 3 of my kids. The oldest wore no undies for 2 yrs, the middle started
wearing undies after about 4 mos or so, and the youngest started after about a year.
have heard of others having success this way as well.
We had the same issue with our son who started potty training at
21 months. After a while we just gave up and let it be (so he was
potty trained at home when naked but not when we went out). It
also didn't matter what he had on (training pants, underwear,
pants with no underpants etc. 4 months later we tried again with
clothes on. We bribed him with candy (Did that first time too)
and it took this time. So I'd recommend backing off for a while
then having another try.
I also posted here and got some advice, none of which worked for
my son but it included trying pants but not underwear (not tight
fitting like a diaper), picking special underwear at at the store.
It seems that kids who potty train early take a little longer!
I'm trying to train my almost-2-year-old and have run into a
couple of questions the books don't seem to address:
1. I just found out that pull-up diapers don't really help kids
to feel the wetness. Is there a recommended cloth pull-up/diaper
for a bigger kid? Since we've previously only used disposables,
I don't know if it's silly to switch to cloth during the training
period or whether there are training pants of cloth that will
absorb enough during this time of learning.
2. We rent a place with wall-to-wall carpet, so I don't think
it's feasible to let a child run around bottomless while
learning. (and don't have the money for an expensive steam
vacuum). But if you devised a good system with carpeting, I would
be grateful to know it. Many thanks.
Glad you're giving PT an early try. People thought we were nuts
for trying PT on our 'just-turned 2' year old boy... but it
worked. And we wouldn't have known this kid would be so amenable
to it if had not tried.
Try those Gerber padded cotton underwear (I always found them at
Thrift stores) with a plastic training underwear over. Padded
underwear are good at absorbing a lot, though you can't prevent
all leaks. That's why I'd rec the plastic trainers (we had
hardwood floors). Our method was letting our son drink loads of
juice, choc milk and then leading him to the toilet every 15 min.
He sat for about 1-2 min each time (with a book). On the 3rd
sitting he pee'd and learned what peeing on the potty was all
about. We cheered like crazy and that was his reward (others use
stickers or treats). We had accidents 50% of the time for a
couple days, but it was still bye-bye diapers after that first
weekend. He was accident free after 4 days. GOOD LUCK!
Try, try again.
I suggest skipping pull-ups/training pants and going straight to
underwear. Yes, there can be some mess involved, but I found that
layering on sweatpants and/or other thick clothing absorbed and
contained most accidents, and my two-year-old was potty trained
in a week and a half.
My son & twin girls were daytime potty trained before 2. It's a
great time to start, before they get in the stubborn ''no''
mid-twos, and take delight in your positive reactions to what
they do. There is the child-led approach (kids need to take the
initiative) and the parent-led approach, which if done right is
pressure free and basically just teaching the child a new skill,
that of using the potty. Between 1957 - 71, 85% of 2 year olds
were potty trained. By 2000 that fell to 4%, one reason was the
child-led approach recommended by the pediatrician Dr. Brazelton.
Most child-led potty training literature fails to mention he was
a paid consultant for a disposable diaper company.
What worked for us was not using pull ups nor training underwear.
They get so busy playing they wouldn't stop to notice if they
were wearing an underwear or diaper. We started using underwear
after they were about a month accident free, other than that they
went with nothing under their pants. We started with sitting on
the potty 1x day right before bath and over a couple of weeks did
it more and more. We let them see us use the toilet & talked to
them about it. Keep what you say simple, ''it's time to sit on
the potty,'' asking if they need to go doesn't work as they
aren't ready for that & may just say no to express their
independence. If they had an accident, we put them on the potty
during/after the accident and calmly said ''pee pee goes in the
potty, not on the floor.'' We had a potty in the living room/play
area and in the bathroom, so one was always on hand. The first
week we stuck close to home, then had a week or two of short
outings. When we did go out I brought a potty and would have them
sit on it in the back of the car before we went into a store,
etc. My son was in daycare when we trained him, so he wore
pull-ups to school but was diaper free at home. He became potty
trained at home, but it took a couple of months before he would
wear underwear to school. The key is to keep it fun (sing songs,
read books while they're on the potty, do a silly potty dance &
song when they pee in it), light, and never let them see/hear you
may be upset or frustrated with their accidents or progress. I
tried potty training my twins at 20 mos and saw after a week they
weren't getting it, so we put the potties in the closet and tried
again 2 months later. Then it just took one girl a week to get
it, her sister maybe a week or so longer.
1) Gerber makes some 'thick panties' that you can get at most
stores in the baby department. The crotch is the thickness of a
couple of cloth diapers. They stop most/all urine from getting
2) Wait until it is warmer and let him/her run around outside in
your back yard.
Also, I am assuming that you are letting your child take the lead
on this matter or you won't get anywhere...
Our second baby will arrive when our son is 2 and a half. Hes
a communicative little boy who is happy to sit on the potty a
couple of times a day and at times will ask to use it (usually
when he is the bath, strangly.....and thats usually when he
actually manages to pee on the potty)
Should I make a big effort to potty train him before the second
baby arrives, or should I wait? I know big changes around the
time of the new baby arriving are a bad idea, but I'm not sure
I want to wait til he is three..... The idea of 2 kids in
diapers is not so appealing, but neither is the idea of a
partially trained or stressed out 2 year old and a newborn!
we had incredible success with finishing up the potty training of
our 2 2/3 yr old by giving him underpants for christmas; on the
1st January he started to wear his cherished gifts all day. He
was SO proud when 7 weeks later his sister arrived, and he no
longer needed diapers. I don't remember when the nighttime
diapers stopped, but I do remember he was proud of that as well
and never once wet the bed. There was never a sense of
regressing, because he felt so good about himself.
Good luck, and congratulations on your second!
lucky parent of two happy kids
I say go for it! A book that is helping us with our daughter's
early potty training (she's 19 months and going on the potty one
or more times a day) is ''Diaper free before 3.'' I suggest
getting it and using it. Kids who are completely potty trained
can have setbacks when a major life change like the birth of
sibling occurs. So, why not go for it? Good luck.
Don't push the issue. You can do subtle things -- let him run
around naked while at home. I've never met a two year old who
didn't LOVE that...which sort of forces him to use the potty.
I've 'trained' one child and I've let one take the lead. Both
were fully trained about the same time age and letting my younger
'take the lead' was far more enjoyable/less stressful.
I missed your original post, but I trained my almost-three-year-
old and my five-month-old at the SAME time! I started EC-ing my
infant with the help of the East Bay Diaper Free Baby email
community, and my toddler loved mastering the skills the baby
was working on, as well as acting as a teacher and coach to her
new baby sister. If potty training your older child doesn't
work out before the baby arrives, this is one alternative. I
simply said, ''Everyone in our house is going to try to use the
potty, even the baby!'' Also took some of the pressure/focus off
my older child so she didn't feel like she was under a
microscope everytime she had to pee. :)
Double-Duty Potty Trainer
Our daughter is 32 months old and wanted to start potty
training a couple of months ago. We've tried to stay low-key
about it, and have made a point to not to push her. With that
said, however, she's really taken to certain aspects of it.
For example, she LOVES going poop in the potty! Seriously.
She'll even hold it until we get home - it's totally amazing.
When she's at home in regular panties, she typically wets a
small amount in the panties, stops, then runs to the potty to
finish. We're very proud of her and compliment her ability
to ''listen to her body'' (we don't do rewards or praise her for
doing it for us), but I fear that we might be ''stuck'' in this
pattern. We're worried that she might think that this is how
it actually works... wet panties, potty, and new, fun panties
We've tried taking away the temptation of all the extra panties
by saying, ''Panties stay dry... when the panties get wet, they
go bye-bye...We'll try again tomorrow/after your nap...'', but
this angle doesn't seem to be working. We've tried leaving her
in her wet panties and pants, but this (strangely enough)
doesn't seem to bother her at all, either! Oh, and we have
terrible luck with Pull Ups and Training Panties - she treats
these completely like diapers, so we only use these when we go
out for errands.
Should I just assume that she will eventually (it's been almost
2 months) learn that panties are meant to stay dry and not
necessarily part of the potty-routine? I'm willing to be
patient about it, I just don't want to establish a ''habit'' that
is difficult to break.
Has anyone had a similar situation? Any suggestions? Thanks!
What about trying no panties? That is what I did with my 3 kids. Their
teacher told me that some kids don't like the ''closeness'', that it feels like
They just wore soft pants (my daughter wore bike shorts under dresses and
worked perfectly. Good luck.
Just take her bottoms off her when she is in the house. I am
pretty sure that she won't urinate on the floor...my daughter was
similar, and it lasted forever, but she potty trained at
22-months. You'll daughter will get it more quickly as she is older.
Our girl is 2y-7mos and hasn't been able to transition to the
potty successfully. As a family we have tried jsut about
everything to get her to use the potty including encouragement,
videos, sitting the potty in her play room etc..We let her
watch us use the toilet. We talk positively about the
experience and have never scolded her or made her feel bad
about not using her own. I should say that she did pee in it,
on her own without coaxing twice. Once without a underwear,
once right through the underwear. After peeing through her
underwear she was really freaked out and hasn't wanted to pee
in the potty again. She will sit on it but only with her diaper
on. Sometimes she asks me if she wear her underwear but as soon
as she feels like she has to go she frantically demands her
diaper back. So I think she's obviously not ready, but she
starts school in Sept. and they require that she be trained. So
I'm starting to worry. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks
I think that it is very hard when your child isn't doing
something that you expect/want them to do - but some kids aren't
ready for potty training at your daughter's age. I also think
that despite your excellent and caring approach that she probably
senses that you WANT her to stop using her diaper and use the
potty, which probably makes her even more determined to not do
it. From everything I've read about kids the 2 things you can't
force them to do are 1) sleep and 2) potty train. I would just
not worry about it at all and maybe even drop it totally for
awhile. She will be potty trained, she will. It's hard to
remember but their little personalities and brains are so
complicated and they are going through so much at this age. Good
My husband and I found the book, ''Mommy I have to go Potty! A
Parent's Guide to Toilet Training'' by Jan Faull, M.Ed., really
very helpful and I highly recommend it. Our daughter is 2 years
and 6 months and just now is using the potty regularly, wearing
underwear and has few accidents. After reading this book, we
realized that she just wasn't emotionally ready, as the book
suggested, when we had started the whole process well before she
was 2 years old. It seemed to be working at first and then she
became disinterested so I just backed off for a couple of months
before reintroducing it and by that time she just seemed to ''get
it''. I know you mentioned that you have read and watched a lot
but I do believe that this book explains simply and in detail
with also ''stories from the bathroom'' to help ease the
difficulties related to this topic. And to sum up what I learned
is that the child is the one who is in control over this process
not the parents. They will ultimately learn when their bodies
tell them that they are ready. Good luck and hope all goes well!
I know you said you've tried everything, but have you tried having her diaper/
underwear free in the house all day? It took my 2 year old boy less than a week to
figure out how to potty train when we did this. He peed on his leg once and never
again. Then, another week of his getting used to wearing underwear (NOT trainers
or pull ups, just plain underwear) in the house, and then the third week wearing
underwear during outings all day long. I really think being butt naked helps
children realize where the pee/poop comes from and they are clean at heart and
don't want to make a mess on themselves. My son can't poop on command but
waits until he has to go; and then he tells us and we make a beeline for the toilet
and he does it. Oh, we also use one of those small toilet seats that sit on top of
regular toilet. Before we got that, he hated using the toilet because it felt so big
i am having a strange occurrence now that my 2.5 year old is
using the potty regularly. when she sits down (usually on a
potty ring over the toilet, but sometimes on the regular toilet
seat) the peepee comes out almost like a water fountain and
lands either on the toilet seat between her legs or even as far
as onto the stool or floor in front of the toilet! is this
common and how do we prevent it??
Ah! We had the same problem! One thing is to tell her to keep
her legs closed (with her knees touching). This seems to help.
If we are in public, and the top of the seat has a crack in it
(where her knees should be), we put a wadded up piece of toilet
paper, both for a place to put her legs together, but also to
catch any escaped pee. One point of interest, my second daughter
does not have this problem (pee goes straight down).
Seen Lots of Wet Floors!
Is it possible her labia are stuck together, creating a forward-
directed channel? If so, perhaps she can be taught to ''unstick''
herself before she goes?
I would suggest a visit to the pediatrician. Sometimes girls
develop vaginal adhesions, skin growing across the opening. It is
When I read your message I had to laugh. Our daughter did
the same thing for about 6 months, between 2.5 and 3 or
so. It was irritating - here she finally stopped having
''accidents'', and instead she would pee out of the toilet and
into her underwear! Or all over the floor, or the toilet seat, or
sometimes between the toilet seat and the bowl of the toilet.
We tried getting a little potty seat that sits on the toilet for
training, and leaving the little shield on that is supposedly
for boys. That helped alittle at home, but not out and about,
and even at home sometimes it was hard for her to make it
onto the toilet in time when she had to climb over the little
My husband took to putting his hand in front of where she
was peeing so that it would hit his hand and go into the
bowl, especially in situations where he was out with her and
there were no replacement undies or tights. (Of course he
would then wash his hand).
She just seems to have grown out of it on her own. I don't
know if it was a moment in the growth of her body, or how
she was sitting, or what, but it didn't last long. Just hang in
Mom of an accurate pee'er
I remember my daughter peeing like that. I remember thinking
that it was just like a boy- she would be able to pull down her
underwear and pee in the woods and never get herself wet, it
just headed straight out. Anyway, she is all grown up now, it
was never really a problem. Her younger sister was a bit the
same way, not as dramatic. The key to getting it into the
toilet bowl is to have her lean forward, like chest on thighs,
and the pee will go down...usually. Our doctor never thought
much about it.
Well ... sounds like you need to utilize the pee guard -- the
plastic removeable thingy that comes with the potty seat that you
might have thrown away already since you don't have boys. It's
about the size of the business end of your spatula - a backstop
that goes in the front. The baby bjorn potties have it built in;
the grayco potty I have has a detachable one which we now use in
the sandbox since the youngest was afraid of it. Anyway - good
luck with this. Boys have this problem too but at least with boys
you can show them how to point the, um, appendage, in the proper
direction. Sigh. If it's not one thing it's another!
Mom of Several Boys
I was just as amazed recently when I found myself spurting like a
fountain with a steady bead shooting out in front of me between
the seat and the toilet basin. I guess I've recently taken to
sitting rolled back on my butt too much so that my urine stream
was really aimed forward. So, your little girl's fountain may
just be a factor of her sitting back too much? If this is the
case, rather than her sitting straight up, have her sit with
elbows on knees which should help her aim down!
no more old faithful
Make sure your daughter isn't looking into the toilet when she
pees. If she is, that rounds her back and her hips forward
making the pee come forward. Instead, teach her to keep her
head up, arch her back, and lean forward.
When you're out without a change of clothes and it's extra
important, have her sit backwards straddling the toilet and
leaning forward with her hands on the back part of the seat
(this works great for boys, too.) You have to pull her panties
off one leg, but at least they stay clean and dry.
Mother of kids with bad aim
I never knew potty training could take so long. My 2.5 year-old
daughter has been having several victories and also many lapses
with her potty-training. She will go pee-pee when I put her on
the toilet, and will sometimes go on her own. But, she will
also going pee-pee in her pants on several occasions, and she is
really unsure about pooping, and I think it freaks her out to
see it in the toilet.
We've been working patiently on potty-training for about 8
months now, and I have to admit that I'm now getting frustrated
with how long it's taking. Yesterday, my daughter had an
accident on the couch and I didn't handle it very well. Does
anyone have experience with long-term potty training
techniques. I've had a positive attitude up till now. Any
advice welcome as to how to make this transition for my daughter
easier. We've used stickers and trips to the ice cream shop as
rewards as well as lots of positive feedback.
If your daughter is now 2.5 and you started 8 months ago, maybe
she wasn't ready when you started. You can't undo history now
but have you considered going back to diapers for awhile? If
you do it without it being a humiliating experience for her, it
might take the pressure of both of you. I just wonder if the
timing just hasn't been right. My 3 yr old was potty trained
about 6 months ago within one week for peeing. I thought it was
because I waited until she was very ready and talking alot about
wanting to wear underwear. It also really helped to have a potty
in the car- very reassuring to both of us that there's a clean
toilet any where we go. She took a bit longer for pooping on the
potty and wanted a diaper back on. I complied and promised her a
treat when she finally did poop in the potty. Within a month she
was pooping on the potty. Good luck.
My 2.5 year old daughter has been ''working on'' potty training
for about 6 months now. Maybe she wasn't totally ready, but in
any event, we've been stuck at the same point for awhile now and
I would prefer to try to get her fully trained. She will use the
potty (with more or less encouragement-sometimes she doesn't
want to) 2-3 times per day, most days. When we take her, she
almost always goes, and there certainly seems to be no lack of
understanding as to how it all works. But-I can't seem to get
her to the point where she is not ALSO going in her diapers-she
doesn't ask to use the potty and resists being taken more
frequently than a couple of times a day. Any advice would be
Perpetual Potty Trainer
My advice is drop it. Put her back in diapers, explaining that
perhaps she's just not ready yet - without judgement or
scolding, of course. And, then in six months or so, check in
with her to see if it's time. She may surprise you and come to
you herself in between - wanting big kid underpants. I've seen
this work on more than one occasion. Her self-esteem will
flourish if you can let go and allow this to become HER project,
when's she's ready.
Best of luck to you.
Get rid of the diapers (except at night). Get her cute panties
she gets to choose herself and take her to the potty every half
hour or so for the next few days. Only use diapers at night and
wait until she uses the potty for awhile (a year?) before trying
the go without diapers at night.
been there done that
If you're trying to potty train your daughter but you're still
putting her in diapers, you're sending very mixed messages. Now
that she understands the process, either put her in underwear
(or leave her bare-bottomed) and prepare to (1) send her to the
potty every 30 minutes or so, and (2) clean up a lot of
accidents for a while; or leave her in diapers and forget about
potty training until SHE decides she's ready for underwear.
We preferred to change diapers rather than clean up accidents,
so we left our son in diapers until he finally decided, very
suddenly, that he was ready for underpants. He was a few months
past his 3rd birthday. It was clear to me that in his case,
physical ability preceded motivation -- and both are necessary
for complete potty training.
All three of our kids potty trained themselves in one day,
because they were ready. Potty training that takes six
months is not the way to go. Let her be the one in control
(our son potty trained about two months before his third
birthday, and our two girls potty trained around 2.5 years).
No tears. No frustration. I would say relax about it, and tell
her often that she will get it when she is ready. Stay positive
and let her know that it is totally up to her and when she is
ready, she will do it. This takes the pressure off her and
let's her relax about it. Also, stay away from diapers and
pull-ups except at nap or at night, or if she asks for one.
Two and a half years old is still pretty little. She'll get it!
Diaper Free in Berkeley
You probably just have to wait until she's ready. I know it's
inconvenient, but when she's ready she'll just do it. It's not
worth having a power struggle over. You can't control it. Try to
stay positive. ''When you're ready, you can do it yourself.''
Is she still wearing diapers all the time? What worked with my son was not putting
him in a diaper at home or anywhere indoors where there were bathrooms available.
I bought him underwear. I would remind him to tell me if he needed to go potty, and
when he didn't remind me, I would take him and ask him to try to empty his
bladder. We've had three accidents out of the house, on long outings, but now he
tells me he when he has to go. Incidentally, since he's not *fully* potty trained,
forget to take his night time diaper off in the morning for a little while, he will
sometimes go in his diaper. So, if you don't give her a comfy (relatively speaking),
absorbent diaper to wear and instead let her go au naturel or wear underwear,
things might really progress. Good luck!
--hopefully on our last box of diapers
In my experience, potty training is all about motivation. If the child is not
motivated, you can forget it. As I see it, your choices are to either work to
increase her motivation (rewards, stickers, praise, etc.) or let it go and wait
for her to decide that she wants to be a ''big girl.'' I went through the former
strategy with my oldest (which worked for a month, before she decided she didn't
feel like continuing) and then we wised up and went with the latter strategy.
The key, and it is difficult, is to
really and truly not care when she does it but just accept that she will do it in her
own time. It wasn't until we were truly able to accept this that our daughter really
started using the potty consistently.
Learned to let go, and go with the flow
My 2 1/2 year old was singing along with her potty training for
about a month, getting rewards and the like, when one day about
two weeks ago she decided that she no longer wanted to use the
potty for anything. She will not even sit on it. I have tried
to convince her that in order to go to a big girl's school
etc., she must use the potty like big sister, to no avail. She
insists that she is now afraid of using it. I am at a loss.
Does anyone have suggestions.
I have four pieces of advice on these issues:
1) Take the emphasis off if, when and how they are using the
potty and put it on staying clean and dry. After all, that is
the goal. Start on a day when you are home and give rewards
often at first (like every 15 minutes) that they are clean and
dry. Then increase the time as they have success. Give lots of
positive reinforcement and show diapproval only if there is an
accident. (Read ''Toilet Training in Less Than a Day'' for more
on this subject.)
2) It's very normal for kids to hold their poop when they are
potty training for 3 to 5 days. My doctor assures me there is
nothing wrong with it and it does go away when they get more
comfortable with using the potty. If you want to reduce
constipation, feed them dried apricots. They taste like candy
but have a very strong laxative effect, so be careful how many
you give them.
3) If you want your kids potty trained, take off the pull-ups
during the day. Using pull-ups eliminates the natural negative
consequences of not using the potty. And we all know that
natural consequences are the most effective.
4) Don't take off diapers/pull-ups during sleep until they have
mastered using the potty while awake and have shown they can
stay dry while asleep. Eliminating them sooner will only make
lots of laundry for you and discourage them. Many kids wear
pull-ups at night until they are 4 or 5 - no disgrace there.
Good luck to all of you!
We started potty training my son who's 2 years & 8 months a few
weeks ago. He's been doing GREAT, except that he doesn't want to
pee standing up, especially outdoors. We've tried to motivate
him by having him watch dad pee standing, and have also thrown
''targets'' (cereal) into the toilet for him and dad to aim for.
But it's to no avail. For the most part, this isn't a problem
for now (I'm sure he'll figure it out later when all other boys
are standing), but it just seems like it would be so much easier
for him if he could just pee standing up. This is mostly an
issue when we're at a playground or somewhere without restrooms &
I want him to just pee on a tree/grass/rock. We'll pull down his
pants, but then he won't pee. And he just says he'll hold it &
he does...until I can see he really really needs to go and we
either just leave (after at least 2 more tries) or I pull out the
potty that I've recently learned to take with me in the car. I
think the dribble that ends up on his pants & shoes afterwards
bothers him, but I don't know what to do about that b/c his penis
is so short that it doesn't extend that far away from his body
when he pees. The first couple of times he peed outside standing
it got all over him and he HATED it b/c he ended up needing a
change of clothes anyhow. Anyone w/ advice?
My now 4 year old son wouldn't pee standing up for a while
either. We taught him to pee at home sitting down because my
husband sits at home also so that there are no seat left up
issues with me : )
In any case, once he got a little taller and penis was a bit
bigger, and he was in preschool with all of the other boys
standing, he started peeing standing up. It was a pain for a
while when he had to pee without a potty. I had to hold him in a
seated position and make sure his clothes were out of the way,
etc. Now that he's 4, he'll pee on a tree standing up and go
standing up at school.
He still pees sitting at home, which I prefer because then he
doesn't miss and leave a mess to clean up, etc.
Just give it time and carry extra clothes. He'll figure it out.
My son was potty trained at age 2. Now he is a little over 3
years old and still sits down to pee. I don't mind this because
1) he is on the short side and would have a hard time aiming
properly) and 2) I think he'd be tempted to aim at things other
than the toilet at his age if he had to stand up. We don't have
the problem of his not being able to pee standing up if he
absolutely has to, but my thought for your case was to just have
your son squat and pee. If he likes to sit, he can easily just
squat and pee in an ''emergency''. And for the record, I think
many, many parents have to carry around a portable potty in the
trunk of their car for a while until their child truly learns to
I have two sons (& a daughter) and all had their own funny ways
of learning to pee. Ultimately my boys began to pee standing
up but it wasn't their initial inclination. I think it is
scary to pee upright at first, there is the whole pee-on-the-
leg issue plus loss of control b/c you have to reallt relax to
pee. to tell the truth i prefer them to pee sitting b/c they
dribble on the toilet seat and floor still. When they were
little and needed to pee outside I would have them squat or
perch on a rock or even cradle their bodies in my clasped arms
like a swing (bottoms on one side legs on the other so that
they felt like they were sitting) that worked well too.
anyway, my point is htat i would not worry about it AT ALL --
just know that the day will come, all on its own, when you son
discovers the ease and pleasure of peeing stangin up - and then
he'll get married and his wife will insist he pee sitting down -
I think your son is waaaay too young to be expected to pee
standing up. We didn't even try it with our son until he was well
over 4 years old, pretty close to being 5. He just sat on the
toilet and tucked his penis down in the seat. that worked best
when he was using his training seat because it has the pee/spray
catcher on front. When he transitioned to the big toilet, we had
to encourage to physically hold his penis down so the urine went
straight down into the toilet. Come to think of it, that was
probably a good baby step toward holding his penis when standing
As for transitioning to standing, don't rush it. If he continues
to see daddy standing, he'll get it. Just keep the potty in the
car for now. This isn't something to make a big issue about,
because then it'll take forever for him to do it.
I had the same problem with my son. I liked that he peed
sitting down at home but when we were at the park it was a big
drag to have to go into those filthy port-a-potties. Finally,
we were at the park one day and he had to go, so I stood him in
front of a wall, facing it, and told him to put his hands on
the wall like he was pushing to keep it from falling down. His
feet were away from the wall a couple of feet, so he was angled
toward the wall, head closer than feet. I then told him to
relax and pee. It worked ok the first time, he got better at
it with time. I think the effort of standing up was
distracting him from relaxing to let the pee out. By leaning
against the wall he didn't have to worry about falling over
while peeing. Good luck.
Given everyone's advice about how to get their son to pee on rocks, trees, wallls...
I wonder how many moms who are hesitant to use the dirty looking bathrooms have
ever thought about how many small boys have peed on the rock they are sitting on, the
wall they lean against to tie their shoes, the tree their daughter is climbing, or the
bushes their own small boy is insisting on exploring...
Just a thought.
Hi - I'm pretty sure my daughter (2 years 9 months) is more than
ready for potty training. She is comfortable on the toilet, can
occassionally tell us in advance that she has to go, and is
eager to get panties. I've read the advice from previous
posters, but realize I need more explicit information. The
process I'm proposing to use is to 1) let her select panties she
wants to wear and take her out of daycare/preschool for one week
2) put her on the potty every 1/2 hour or so. 3) put her in
panties so that she'll feel the pee/poop and get uncomfortable.
Here's were I get confused. What do I do at night? Put her in
pull-ups? How do I transition her from pull-ups?
I would love any advice on the topic including any modification
of the proposed steps listed above.
When my daughter was the same age as yours we KNEW that she was
ready to use the potty. It sounds like you are getting that same
vibe from your daughter.
We kicked off 'potty training' with a visit from the 'panty
fairy.' The 'panty fairy' delivered panties individually tied
with bows to the bottom of her bed one evening. When she woke
up, she carried the whole pile to our bed to show us. We
explained to her that she must have received a visit from the
panty fairy and that it meant that she was probably ready to give
up her diapers during the day. As luck would have it, Mom had
some Gerber training panties (not the plastic kind, but the
'thick' cotton kind) on hand. We doubled bagged (put two pairs
of 'thick' panties) her and started our day. She did just fine
(an accident or two at most) per day for a week and then
gradually got less and less over the next few weeks.
She still wears a diaper at night (she just turned four) and
probably will for a while. We have our own reasons for delaying
the night time potty training -- we are guessing that she will be
in a pull-up for the next year or two.
-the diaper fairy
Yes, diapers or pull-ups for night. Most kids are in diapers at night long after
they're trained for daytime. Mine was till age 6. When her nighttime diapers are no
longer wet in the morning, you'll know she's ready to give them up.
I think you are thinking about this too much. Many kids are
potty trained day and night at 2.5.
Just get the underwear and that's it. Expect occasional
accidents for about a year. Carry her to the bathroom once in
the middle of the night for a few months. Don't go to parks that
don't have bathrooms. No big deal.
-- a mom
As for the nighttime, goodness, my 5-y.o. son was
in ''Goodnights'' pullups until he was 4 (daytime training
complete at 3.4 years)! Nighttime training takes longer--don't
worry about it--they make these overnight pullups in HUGE
sizes, so that may give you an idea of how long it takes some
kids! I'd just go for daytime success first so she gets the
idea of what it means to be dry.
Mama of 2
I would just work on the daytime stuff until her night time
diapers are consistently dry in the morning. My 5 1/2 year old
has been daytime potty trained for a couple years now but just
got out of the night time diaper a couple of months ago. On the
other hand, my 3 year old has been out of night time diapers
since he was about 2 3/4.
Don't rush it!
Although I've looked through the archives, our situation is a
bit different and I'm hoping to hear from parents whose kid
responded to potty training the same way.
My daughter is 2 years 9 months. She knows how to use the potty
and knows when she has to pee when she's naked. She was psyched
to go on the potty a few months ago. Now, she has not only lost
interest, she does not want to go at all. If I begin to take
off her diaper so she can be naked, she will say ''No no no, I
don't want to be naked. I want to wear my diaper.'' If I
say, ''come one, it's time to go on the potty,'' she'll
scream ''no, I don't want to go on the potty.'' Every once in
awhile, I can get her to come around. But those days are few
and far between. And forget pooping on the potty.
She has told me that she doesn't want to wear undies instead of
a diaper because she doesn't want to have an accident. She's
had one or tw and although my husband and I didn't make a big
deal about them, she was upset she peed in her undies.
She's also told me she doesn't want to go on the potty because
she's busy. :) And she is - she's in preschool most of the week
and has a couple of afternoon activities. So, we're not home
during the day much.
I'm not worried that she's not going to be potty trained. And I
don't think she should be trained by 2 year 9 months. I just
want some advise to keep going in the right direction. And what
is the right direction, at this point?
Two steps forward one step back? So many achievements are like that.
Why not just stop pushing right now while there's resistance. She'll want
to use the potty again soon, no doubt, and she won't be in diapers in
kindergarten. Just about every parent I've talked to who had a problem
with potty use pushed before the child was really ready. Every sucessful
potty use story came when the child lead the way. While some kids do
learn to use the potty before age three, most of what I hear is that it's
most normal between ages three and four. Why not just let go, and wait
a little while?
Back off completely for a while. She's not even three, and you
already know she is capable of being trained. The rest is up to
her, and the more you force it, the more she will fight it. Go
back to diapers entirely for a while, and wait for her to let you
know she's ready.
My 3+ daughter is resisting potty training but really wants to
dress herself. The problem is that she can't manage to put a
diaper on herself (I'm not sure I could, either). My mother
thinks pull-ups are the answer -- but I'm worried that giving my
daughter pull-ups will delay training even more. I'd love to
hear from parents who used pull-ups as part of their potty
training -- how did you do it???
Stuck In Diapers For Now
My 3+ year-old daughter is also in process of potty-training.
When wearing pull-ups, she is not motivated to potty when she
needs to, knowing there won't be a mess. She simply doesn't
care if she wets or not. When wearing panties, however, she is
much more conscientious and will go when she needs to. Even
though I worry more about accidents, having her wear panties
facilitates her training.
My son will be three in mid August. We began toilet training
a month ago. Although he is compliant about getting on the
toilet or potty chair, successes for urination are purely by
luck, and defecation is better because he squats when he is
ready and we can often move him on time. We have tried
praise, letting him flush, dancing, singing, high fives, and
lately Teddy Grahams. Yet he shows little if any motivation
to go to the toilet. He doesn't like it when he urinates and it
runs down his leg, but then leaves the puddle and moves
on unaffected. We can't seem to find a way to get him
engaged and /or motivated. Should we just continue what
we are doing, are there any suggestions that might help,
should we just go back to full time diapers and attempt this
when he's more willing?
Hello, I was in your situation a few months ago. Don't worry he'll get it. Don't go
back to diapers, just hold out a little while longer. Also, take his pants off
completely every time you are in the house or at home. they tend to notice more
when they are naked and can see it come out.
also, is he in school? I found that when my son was at pre-school, he saw the other
kids go and the teachers were really good about having a potty schedule, and it just
reinforced the potty training thing.
Also, I totally advocate giving treats as rewards for using the potty. we are normally
a no junk food household, but for potty training we bought chocolate covered
peanuts (a little protein in addition to the sugar!) from trader joes, he got to pick
two when he successfully went on the potty. Then the treats need to be changed
occassionally b/c they get tired of them. We then switched to jelly beans or
something like that...up the ante. Now he is potty trained and we don't have
anything like that anymore. So just to assure you that it didn't ruin him for life!
Another simultaneous thing was that we created a Potty Chart like they had at his
school. We put a photo of him sitting on the potty pasted to a big poster board.
Then we bought a bunch of stickers and he got to put one sticker on the poster
board every time he went on the potty. It was just another thing. And when visitors
came over, they would see the potty chart and tell him how great it was. So there
was some public validation.
So anyway, don't go back to diapers...and the pull ups are worthless too.
RE toilet training, here is advice I read in the newspaper that
worked Perfectly for our son: Pick a weekend and make toilet
training the only goal that weekend. Summertime is ideal (for
more backyard outdoor time), so you are set there! Off go the
diapers, out comes the potty, and that's it. No errands,
playdates, etc. Family time with no dipes while they master
it. We put ''big boy'' undies on him, and went through 5 pairs
(maybe 10?) from 9am to noon, and had to pick up some spills on
the floor, but that was the worst and it went quickly. Kids by
nature do not want to soil themselves, so it is basically a
practice thing: do this, you will get wet, do that, you stay
clean and dry. It truly is ''training.'' And Worth it big time.
It's one weekend and dipes are gone forever. Tell him about it
in advance as you change his dipes, such as ''remember, the
weekend after fourth of July, the dipers are gone.'' It's a huge
relief. Good Luck!
My 2.5 year old son has been toliet trained for a couple of
months now. Even though your son is older, I'm sure it's the
same in that it has to be gradual and that they have to feel
like sitting there. The first step is not about going pee or
poo in the potty, it's just about sitting on the potty and
getting used to it. Both my son and neice would sit on the
potty for 20 - 30'' stretches for weeks before anything actually
happened. I think a lot of kids find it boring so we started
with letting our son watch a short video while sitting on the
potty. He seldom gets to watch tv so this was a treat and a
great distraction. A lot of the times the video we'd put on
was ''Once Upon a Potty.'' ''My Potty Book for Boys'' is also great
as is actually photos, not drawings. We'd read that and other
books to our son while he was on the potty. We didn't make a
big deal about having to go pee, we just asked him to sit for a
while. This probably went on every day in the evening for 3 - 4
weeks. After a couple of weeks we also started putting him on
the toliet right before his bath as part of the routine.
Don't use diaper pull ups. I took my son to Target where they
have all sorts of garish underwear with Thomas the Tank or Bob
the Builder that will appeal to boys. I told my son that he
could pick some out, but that they weren't for pee or poo-poo.
He was so excited about his Bob the Builder underwear that he
held them on the way home in the car and we kept talking about
how they weren't for pee or poo-poo. That did the trick. The
first couple of times I put them on him I's reminded him again.
Now every morning when I'm getting him dressed and put on the
underwear, he declares ''not for pee or poo-poo!''
Go back to full-time diapers and try again when he's more
ready. No use fighting a battle of the wills. He'll know AND
you'll know when the time is right. Our son was 3 3/4 and we
thought it'd never happen. But, suddenly it did - and he's been
virtually accident free since - almost a year now.
You know, with some things readiness is everything. Potty training is
one of those things. You'll be amazed at how quickly it goes when your
child is ready for it. And not quite three is a little on the young side for
potty training, especially for a boy. I'd suggest you just go back to
diapers full time. Offer the potty but don't force it, and let your son lead
on this one.
I have a three year old son. Very smart. Academically
advanced. Totally disinterested in Potty Training. This week
he has taken to removing his diaper and pants when soiled with
poop. I have been talking to him about using the potty for some
time. Never with any pressure, just explanation. Prior to
turning one he was very interested and even used the potty a
couple of times. For no apparent reason he became very averted
to sitting on it. As not to create a big push-pull over the
issue, we did not press. We have tried both types of training
potties (small and standard toilet adapters). We are now
working with the toilet adapter type. We get as far as sitting
on the potty, but no further. I will mention that getting him
to eat with any regularity is difficult at best. It makes his
bowel schedule, sporadic. This makes working with him when he
has to go, hit or miss. I would love suggestions on how to
approach this or just other parents to commiserate with.
I can only commiserate. My son is 3.5 years old, also
academically gifted (read his first word today! Is starting to
add!), spoke early, etc. He does not have any interest in using
the potty! (He did at one point when he turned 3 and then
stopped.) He shows every sign of readiness, but does not want
to. (he also says it's scary sitting on the potty.) He does
pee sometimes standing up at preschool. Everyone tells me to
relax and he'll use the potty when he's ready, so we gently
suggest using the potty to him often, and that's it. We wait
and wait, and joke that he should be potty trained when he goes
to college, we hope.
Sick of dumping pull ups in the landfill
I remember looking in scorn at a 4-year old who was still in
diapers. Then my third child, a boy, turned 4 and was still in
them. His sisters were out at 2yrs and 2yrs 3 months. We went on
a very ling vacation and he slept in the room with his older
sisters and in a few weeks wasn't using them anymore. It had to
be his decision and I think he wanted his sisters to see him as a
big boy. So he will probably do it in his own time, on't worry.
My son is also 3 and was resistant to toilet training. We
recently moved and prior to our move he was training very well.
After we moved he refused to wear underwear and would cry if we
put them on. He refused to sit on any toilet as well. Here is
what we did to train and maybe it will be helpful.
We didn't stress him out and force him to train- that was key. We
bought training underwear ( these feel more thick like a diaper
and made him more comfortable) in colors and patterns that he
would find appealing.I let him pick out which to wear. We gave
him small peices of chocolate if he wore the underwear. First we
had him wearing them in 30 min increments and didn't mention
using the toilet. Eventually, we had him in underwear for half a
day and explained that it would be great if he told us when he
needed to go pee-pee. We'd give him another piece of chocolate (
and M&M). Over the course of a week, this worked well and he was
trained. However, he refuses to make a BM on the toilet or use
the toilet at preschool. THat is our next hurdle. But, at least
we have him in underwear and on his way to full training.
WHen we needs to make a BM he asks for a diaper. We put him in
one as not to create stress around training. We need to come up
with and idea to tackle this issue.
My son, who got potty-trained about a month prior to turning 3,
absolutely hated his small potty and showed no interest in even
sitting on it. However, when we offered him a regular “adult”
toilet, that sparked his curiosity. Of course, our training
process was not an overnight miracle (quite the opposite) but
what finally broke the spell was a simple bribe. I bough 20 or
so of those really cheap Tonka cars (my son is a typical boy
and would do anything for a new car/train/airplane toy) and I
started putting one toy at a time on top of our shower, so that
he could see it but was not able to reach it. The deal was,
every time he does #2, he gets a new toy. I think he stared at
the first one for about a week. When he finally earned it, that
was one of the happiest moments of my life (seriously). After
three unsuccessful days he finally earned his second toy and
the training was done, we never saw another diaper.
I would recommend an excellent book: ''Diaper Free Before 3'' by a
named Jill Lekovic. She talks about potty training issues with
children over 3 as well.
I would also just suggest that you give your son time to just sit
on potty while doing
something fun at the same time like reading a book or blowing
bubbles - just to
give him practice sitting on it - maybe 1 week of that with no
pressure to actually
go in the potty. Then after he is used to how it feels sitting on
potty you can
strongly encourage him to go in potty. If you get him in the
habit of always sitting
on the potty after he eats, you may start catching a bowel
movement. You may
need to encourage with a reward system like a sticker chart or a
Whatever you do, keep it up. Just be patient.
My very spirited, 3.25-year old daughter is not potty-trained
yet. She went pee on the potty a few weeks ago for the first
time, after sitting on it for at least 30 minutes. She will now
pee on the potty maybe every-other-day, but usually only after
sitting on it for sometimes almost an hour. We have to pull her
off of it sometimes if we have to go somewhere, but she says ''I
want to go pee on the potty'' over and over again. We have of
course talked to her about just sitting on the potty when she
feels the pressure and has to go. She asks for toys and for us to
stay in there with her, which we don't oblige. I also have a 4
month-old so it's difficult to keep on checking in on her. When I
see her pooping, I point it out, and ask her if she wants to go
on the potty, but she refuses. She also holds her female part
when naked. I think she's afraid she can't control it.
I'm not sure what to do. Any suggestions? I'm very frustrated and
don't want to do anything that is going to make this process
harder than it could be.
Daughter spending too much time on the throne
I feel your pain. I started potty training my 3 year old when
her baby sister was about 3-4 months old. It was not a whole
lot of fun, especially with a nursing infant in tow. In fact,
it was so stressful, I vowed to do something different with the
second child. I joined East Bay Diaper Free Baby
www.diaperfreebaby.org, which is the coolest, smartest most
progressive group of mommas out there, and began toileting my 5
month old, explaining to my 3 year old that the goal was for
everyone in our family to use the toilet, even the baby. In
this way, big sister was able to become a role model and
diapering became less attractive for both of them. We all know
the three things we can't control are the three things our kids
use to drive us most insane -- eating, sleeping and
eliminating. I learned concepts and practices through Diaper
Free Baby that have proven very useful for both kids and even
beyond the realm of toileting. Essentially, positive behavior
is celebrated, and unfavorable behavior/accidents (intentional
or not) are downplayed or even ignored. You already sense that
your daughter is trying to ''hook'' you and you have the instinct
not to want to get hooked. Start working on toileting the baby,
cheer and sing when the baby uses the potty, and your 3 year
old will be eager to receive the same positive attention. We
also watched A LOT of ''Once Upon A Potty'' for about 6 weeks to
help my older one get comfortable. We had 2-3 potties and kept
them all over the house so I could stay near the baby while big
sister had potty tries and she could sit on the potty while
watching the video. For the older one, I would not avoid a
small reward like an M&M for successful potty tries. It will
phase out on its own as she learns to appreciate a little song,
hug and kiss for getting it right. One day it's just, oops, I
guess we're out of M&Ms, but YAY! You used the potty!!!
Incidentally, the younger one was potty independent and
accident free at home by about 17 months. A nice perk in all of
Did It Differently The Second Time
My son just turned 3 and we are working on potty training. All
the other kids in his daycare of the same age are potty
trained, so we have been getting a little pressure. Anyway, we
seem to be making progress, as he has gone many times on the
potty, both pee and poop. We are doing a reward system with
We can tell that he now is clearly aware when he has to pee.
He starts holding (or hitting) his penis and doing a sort
of 'dance.' However, he often strats to cry/scream and freak
out. When we try to get him to sit on the toilet and pee, he
either continues screaming and doing the 'dance', but will not
get on the potty (he is holding the pee in) or he will sit on
the potty, continue to show unhappiness/discomfort and
sometimes eventually pee, or hold it until he gets off and then
pee almost immediately after getting up (he often pushes his t-
shirt against his penis to ''hold it''). We always offer 2
different toilets (little and big) and the option to stand or
sit. He has observed all variations at his daycare so that
seems to make sense.
Anyway, I would appreciate any advice on this behavior. We are
really not sure what to do. It is becoming very upsetting/sad
to us to see him go through this, but now that he is obviously
aware of his need to pee, it does not seem to make sense to go
back/stop the potty training.
Thanks so much.
In potty pain, Oakland
Our son never screamed, but I have read that some kids are really
afraid to let go of their urine and feces, because it's a part of
them. They are also sometimes afraid of where the urine goes once
it's in the potty.
The thing that kickstarted potty learning for us was letting him
pee outside. Today he wanted to climb a tree and pee off it. Fine
with me although I may regret this when he can actually climb the
tree on his own. I have also had him put out an imaginary fire in
the toilet with his pee and pushed around cheerios with his urine
stream. Oh, and the first place he ever peed consistently was in
the bath. Yeah, it's a little gross to have your kid bathing in
bath water with urine, but it's his urine and he was peeing in
there already so I am okay with it. Also you could try having him
bee naked a lot at home. Another idea is to ask him where he
wants to pee and accommodate if feasible.
First day without a puddle
My son does a similar thing when he poops. We can't get him to
sit on th potty or toilet- he just runs around the house, yells
and screams if we even suggest that he may need to or is pooping.
So, I asked him point blank why he gets upset when he has to poop
( he is fine with pee). I didn't expect a response, but he looked
at me and said ''I'm scared''. Wow. Of course, I asked why- not
expecting a response. He said ''Don't touch it''. I never realized
that when we changed diapers, and he inevitably went to grab his
penis, me and every other family member who changed his diaper
sort of freaked out that he was going to grab his poop and in
surprise/ disgust/ fear told him ''No, don't touch your poop!'' in
very serious tones. I, personally never realized my son would be
so sensitive to this reaction and that I was sending a negative
message different than what I perceived it to be. He's a pretty
bold kid and doesn't get scared too often. Now we are sure to
constantly re-iterate how great it is that he poops like the rest
of us, we poop with him in the bathroom ALL of the time and wave
bye when the poop goes down the drain, give more and more
positive reinforcement and have discussed with him that poop is
not bad, but that it has yucky germs,that it is ok for poop to
touch our butts in a diaper, etc.
He seems to be dealing with it much better now, but I think the
big thing is to just let kids run their course. My son is 2 1/2
and is ready, but his cousin is 4 and is just expressing big
interest. Yes, it is tough for his family because his peers are
potty trained and they feel pressure, but they feel it is better
that their son is allowed to be who he is and take things at his
own pace-- which I totally agree with! Try having a discussion
with your son and see what happens, but mostly just let him have
his time and space. He will not wear diapers forever, and he may
train sooner than you think just from feeling un-pressured by
adults and from the unspoken peer pressure from his classmates.
Best of luck!
Messy pooped & peed on mom!
After what weve been through, I wish I could turn back the clock and completely let our
son use the toilet when he wanted to. He was terrified of the toilet and started
in his poop. This led to severe constipation and having to do an enema a couple of
times. I recommend completely letting go of the issue. Don't compare him with other
kids. Just use a diaper or pullup, have a potty cusion or chair with cool figures on
but don't mention it. Let it be okay for him to choose the toilet when he is ready.
will learn. There are so many other more important things to stress and worry about
have a little boy who will be three in August. His preschool
wants him at least on his way by then, although he
does not need to be completely trained. He has been resistant
so far to getting into any routine around the potty. I just got
the doll that you give liquid and pees when you squeeze his
stomache. I have underware, training pants, chips and salty
foods to get him to be really thirsty to drink, lots of yummies
as motivation or rewards. We also have a chart and reward box
with re-usable stickers. I cant seem to get into any rhythm and
its hard just to get him to practice pulling his training pants
up and down. If there was a window when this would have been
easy, Ive missed it. Any advice?
Our son is also 3 in Aug and is about 95%
potty trained, but he has an older brother. We tried a few
months ago to push the potty training and he had no interest.
They pushed it at school a little and once he showed interest,
we tried again at home and had much better success. It sounds
like you have all the incentives, but maybe just lay back for a
few weeks and try again later. Each kid has their own scedule
and there is no need to stress yourself about it. Don't forget
to pee in front of them so they see you. Other then that it's
about encouragement. BTW our son revolted against undepants so
we let him go commando. As my husband says, wearing underpants
is not a hill we have to die on today. Good luck
I know boys can be more difficult than
girls, so other mothers might have more useful tips. For my
daughter, I bought the book ''The everything potty training
book'' by Linda Sonna. It gives several different methods, and I
chose the method that made the most sense to me in terms of my
daughters needs and temperament. Basically, we went cold turkey
and accepted the fact that there would be some accidents. No
training pants - just panties. And forced her to go to the
potty every hour for a whole weekend, with stickers as prizes
and lots of praise. Then, at preschool they reinforce
the potty training schedule, so she was trained within a week
or two, with only a few accidents (albeit some very messy ones)
along the way. Good luck!
We had great results potty training our daughter during the
summer by letting her be naked almost all of the time. No
underwear and no pull-up except for at nap and bedtime. I know
its been recommended by others on this network as well. Kids
don't like pee running down their legs very much and just seem
to notice more when they have to go. I spent lots of time
outside with her and kept the potty right next to us most of the
time. She got the knack very quickly when she was naked, but it
took a while before she could wear underwear without peeing in
them. Even in public, we didn't have undies on her, but we kept
her in longish dresses all summer long. Don't know what you'd
do with a boy.
What has worked really well for both our kids when we were
potty training them was wearing no underwear/diaper. For
obvious reasons summer time would be the best time to use this
approach. We let the child walk around half-naked for almost
the entire day. Our daughter caught on really fast and was
fully potty trained within 2 weeks. We didn't realize that we
were spoiled, though. We thought that we were just really smart
parents - hahaha... Our son was a completely different story. I
had heard that boys can be more difficult to potty train and I
have to agree that that was indeed the case in our household.
But once I allowed him to walk around half-naked most of the
time, he really seemed to catch on. The moment I put underwear
or diapers on him, he would poop. However, if he was naked he
would get nervous and call me or run to the potty himself. I
read many ''potty'' posts on BPN and most of them said to be
patient. That was difficult, because I wanted him to be as fast
as his sister and that just wasn't possible. But I kept
reminding myself of those wise words of fellow BPNers and, by
gawd, he is actually potty trained now. It took months, but
perseverance and constantly reminding him seemed to eventually
pay off. Good luck!
I think the salty foods, treats, rewards chart and training
pants are all distractions (since they don't seem to be working
for your son). We just potty trained our 2.5 year old son in a
couple of weeks by going straight to underwear and taking him to
the potty every half hour. He had accidents the first week and
immediately realized each time that he didn't like that messy
feeling (I think training diapers still shield kids from
appreciating the drippy feeling). He began to lead us to the
bathroom when he wanted to go not because of treats, but because
he realized for himself that he prefers to feel dry. Of course
we reward him with gushing praise and tell him what a big kid he
is (especially when he does #2), after which he beams, without
treats. That's what worked for us. Your child might respond
differently, but focusing on treats and gimmicks may be
distracting your child from finding his own motivation to become
My son will be 3 in October, and toilet training is ''required'' by his preschool
begins in Sept, though they are willing to work with us.
Currently, he will sit on the little toilet training chair if requested and either
or able to watch Sesame Street (we have been a no TV household for the most part,
so this is VERY motivating and drives him to actually ask for it.) He will urinate
of the time and once has had a BM. Until 3 weeks ago he would not even consider
sitting naked-bottomed on the chair, so this is great progress. But we seem to
stopped there. He is NOT amenable to going diaperless and panicked the one time
he urinated on the floor, asking for a napkin and wanting to clean it up. After
we had to wait 2 weeks to even bring up toilet training again. Now, after we dump
out the toilet he immediately wants his diaper and pants on.
So here we are. He is not dextrous enough to take his own pants off or down, but
refuses to go bottomless in fear of making a ''mess''. He has no interest in the
unless asked or in the mood for a little Sesame Street. Seems to be unaware of
he actually needs to go. He is now tied to TV or extensive reading (with TV being
sometimes the only motivator) for any toilet time. He is terrified of the big
even with an Elmo seat. And school starts in 3 weeks.
I might also mention that he is a perfectionist - no job worth doing unless it's
right. If he spills a little milk he'll dump out the whole cup in anger. If he
thing, he flings the rest. Asks for napkins at every meal, doesn't like to make a
unless it involves dirt, mud or sand. HELP!!!!! How do I get him to go to the
his own volition?
I am also potty training my soon-to-be 3 yr old son and he
likes the video 'potty power' - he wants to watch it all the
time. You might try it. I know from potty training my older
child that you can't force it and sometimes have to back off
for a few days. Try not to have unrealistic expectations of
him - it can take 3 - 6 months. My son started preschool this
summer and he is doing pretty well at school - I think he is
motivated by seeing his classmates use the potty. Also, I
doubt your child will be the only one going through this - in
my son's preschool about half the 3 yr old still use pull-ups.
Take care and good luck!
You are ME about a month or 2 ago. We just finished a marathon
toilet-training with our 3yo son. It took just over 2 months
for him to ''get it'' and he still has occasional accidents. Our
biggest hurdle was the pooping. He used to tell me it
was ''scary'' to poop in the potty. I read so much of our own
situation in your post. We did the video-reward system too
(which actually backfired on us). As far as going diaperless,
have you tried putting him in big-boy underpants? Make a big
deal of going shopping for underwear....let him pick out
whatever he wants (it was ''Cars'' underwear for us!) It's his
special underwear that he gets to wear all the time, no more
diapers. We made a pile of diapers and left them out on a
shelf. He could see the pile getting smaller and when they
were all gone....that's it. No more diapers. Some people use
bribery, but my son didn't fall for that. He doesn't like
sweets so promises of M&M's were completely useless, but we did
use a sticker chart that seemed to work, but only because there
was an end goal: when he filled the sticker chart, he got a
new Thomas Train. But to pull the focus away from the potty a
little, we incorporated other big-boy jobs on the sticker
chart. We got stickers for putting our pajamas on, taking our
clothes off, etc...in addition to going potty. I didn't make
the sticker chart too easy either, it took him over a month to
earn that train, but it got to be a big deal every night to see
how many stickers he got for the day. Which reminds me, you
said he's not dextrous enough to take his own pants off. I
think you underestimate your boy! You need to modify his
wardrobe. He needs to be in elastic waisted, baggy pants for
awhile. My son hasn't worn jeans in months. Once he learned
that he *could* dress and undress himself it made a huge
difference. Kids want to be able to do it themselves. Sure,
he usually pulls them up sideways with half his shirt tucked
inside his underwear, but so what? He did it himself! I'm
willing to bet once you get your son to do this on his own,
your potty issue will get much better
BTDT mom who's planning on letting son #1 potty train son #2
I would say cut out diapers except at night or when he need to
poop. also cut out the tv and potty. put his potty in the
bathroom and ask him if he needs to got often.
My son and I make a game out of going potty together. I sit on
the toilet, he sits on his potty. and we listen to each other
pee. It started when I was trying to get him to pee before going
out. I thought hearing me go would help him. it did! and now when
we sit in the bathroom we look at each other and whisper
''listen!'' and then I make interested faces while he's going.
Also, he almost exclusively wears sweat pants so he can pull them
up and down by himself.
We also make a game of dumping his pee into the big toilet, he
loves to flush and watch it go down
I was in a similar situation with my now almost six-year old
son. He is still struggling with accidents and has toileting
issues. The one thing I would go back and change if I could
would be to NOT send him to the preschool that required toilet-
training!! Talk to the director and teachers - how will
they ''work'' with you and him? Tell them exactly where he is
with training and get them to commit to help or you need to
find a better fit. Yes, all schools expect a few accidents and
deal with them, but they must be prepared to help train if you
want to send him there. My son's school said they'd help, but
our approaches differed. They would not let him use a potty
seat on the toilet, and he was uncomfortable balancing on the
seat. Plus one teacher was more supportive than the other. It
puts added anxiety on the school experience. You want to pick
him up after school and ask ''How was your day?'' NOT ''Did you
have and accident?''!! Get on waiting lists for other
preschools if you need - there are often last minute openings
and changes. Remove the deadline! it's too much pressure for
As for the training itself, I think you need to be able to take
a break from toilet training for 1 week up to a month. Tell
him the potty needs a vacation and he should let you know if he
wants it back. Your perfectionist son will probably tell you
when he is ready to try again if he doesn't, introduce it again
when things seem to be going well. Maybe after school settles
into a routine.
Try introducing some Sesame Street time and reading time to
separate that association - try keeping the potty only in the
bathroom away from the TV. You could have a book or toy that
is only for the potty instead.
I wish you luck and hope that you won't be dealing with this
three years from now like I am!!
been there, still at it
We will be relocating to the South Bay for job reasons, and so we're
currently looking for preschools for our 3-year-old daughter for the Fall.
Unfortunately, she's not yet potty trained, and that seems to be one of
the first questions the preschools ask. For most of the preschools we've
seen, our daughter would either have to be fully potty trained to attend,
or she would have to be with the 2-year-olds and I fear she would be
Our daughter just doesn't seem terribly interested in potty training.
When she does sit on the potty, she never manages to produce
anything. I've considered letting her run around with no diaper on,
but we're renting and have carpets throughout the apartment. We
haven't seriously pushed her, partly because I always thought that
she would do it when she was ready. I also thought seeing her friends
use the potty at school would be strong encouragement, but that hasn't
worked, either. Neither did shopping for ''Big Girl Underwear''.
So here's our dilemma. We need to enroll her in a preschool very soon
for the Fall, and I don't know whether she'll be ''fully potty trained'' or not.
If we find a preschool we like, but that requires potty training, do we
enroll her there and hope she's one of those kids that trains in a week?
And what if she doesn't? Or do we enroll her somewhere we don't like
as much but lets us put her in with the 2-year-olds?
I don't want potty training to become a stressful thing for her or for us,
since I fear there will be more problems. I'm also concerned about how
this impending move is going to affect her. But we're running out of time
for preschool enrollments, and I just don't know what to do. I didn't see
anything on the website that really addressed these questions.
Have you successfully crash-trained your child for preschool?
Unsuccessfully? What if she trains for pee but not poop? Any words of
wisdom would be greatly appreciated.
Please, please use the potty, dear
I would strongly advise against forcing the issue. If she's
truly not interested then it will turn into a major power
struggle that you're likely to lose. In addition, if you're
moving, it is not an ideal time to force the issue. Big
changes often bring about regression that would interfere with
the process anyway. My advice (and I've been in a similar
situation with my son) would be to choose a preschool that
accepts children who are not potty trained. Your daughter may
need to spend some time in the younger class in order to learn
that she wants to be with the bigger kids. She may also learn
some valuable lessons by being with the two's. If she's truly
bored, they she may understand that the decision to move her to
a more interesting class may only be possible when she decides
it's time to use the potty. I would be careful about enrolling
her in a class where it is required that she be trained. It
would cause her more damage to experience the failure of
moving to a different school if she is unable to stay dry at
school. By choosing a more inclusive program, she is able to
move up once she is successful. Good luck!
My mom always talked about the rush to potty train me for
preschool also at 3ish. I think it was stressful but she said
after a few accidents at school i got the gist of it. I guess
you could push it a bit more and then wing it. My experience so
far with potty training is that they almost never do it on their
own. It really has to be parent-initiated.
Doing it now
My daughter took a while to ''get'' potty training. We tried
buying thick potty-training underwear that kept her from peeing
directly on the floor. When she peed in her new potty training
panties, we'd say, ''That's okay. You just forgot to tell us you
needed to go. Try to tell us before the pee comes out.'' Based
on her sometime-success potty training (sometimes she's tell us
she had to go, and sometimes she was too busy having fun to tell
us), her preschool teacher suggested we try the Diaper Fairy. I
told my daughter that the Diaper Fairy had come to take all of
her diapers away since she thought she was ready to go potty.
In a few weeks, after a year of potty training, she ''got it''.
We did not make a big deal if she peed in her pants, and we only
used Pull-ups over night. I told her that the Diaper Fairy
would only bring one Pull-Up for her to sleep in, but that she
had to wear ''panties'' from now on. When kids wear Pull-ups,
they don't really know what it feels like to be wet. When they
learn what it is like, it helps them be a little more conscious
of when urine and poop is coming.
After she'd been trained for a while, she started peeing in her
pants again. We worked with her preschool on getting her back
on track to no avail. After a few weeks of regression, one of
the teachers suggested we get her checked for a urinary tract
infection. We took her to the doctor and that was the problem.
She ALWAYS felt like she had to go pee and couldn't tell us
this, so she stopped telling us. A very short use of
antibiotics cleared it up (we didn't finish the meds). When
little girls are potty training, they sometimes get bacteria in
the urethra because they don't really know how to clean down
there properly yet. My daughter was the last kid in her
preschool class to be potty trained and she's three years and
two months old. I'm sure that some people would say we
pressured her, but I don't think we did. We let her pee in her
pants and didn't scold or punish if she did. We told her, ''wehn
you feel like it's coming out, tell us''. Now she wears thin
cotten panties and doesn't need the thick ones, and I save money
on Pull-ups. She still uses them at night, but rarely wets
My almost 3 year old daughter has shown me that she can use the potty
many times, very successfully. There's always been a certain
arbitrariness to when she decides to display her skills, but it is, of
course, only on her terms. Now for the first time ever, she decided to
wear underwear yesterday. She had complete success all day long, even
including going out and using public restrooms. She said she wanted to
wear underwear to school the next day, but when Monday came around,
she had changed her mind by morning and would only go to school in
diapers. It's like she's proven to us all (and herself) that she can
do this, but now she just doesn't want to. Is this common? Is there
anything to be done but just wait it out until she completely decides
that she wants this? (She's pretty strong-willed so I'm suspecting
that will be the case).
My daughter was potty-trained three times by three years old. In the
long run it was a matter of being patient and waiting for her to make
the final decision. Helped that dad called from the place we were
moving to and told her her new pre-school didn't accept diapers. That
was the end. Her choice.
I'm looking for potty aids for a boy around age three, who has shown
absolutley zero interest so far, but I suppose responses not specific
to that description might be helpful to others on the list. Thanks!
I am sorry to say that I do not have any guaranteed aids for helping
your son with his potty training. I just wanted to offer you some
support to let you know that you are not the only parent having
difficulty getting a three year old boy potty trained. I have
recently had the same experience with my son. In fact, a few months
before his fourth birthday, he still wasn't fully potty trained. I
tried just about everything; buying books about potty training,
letting him run around the house without clothes on, having regularly
scheduled times when he had to sit on the potty, buying "big boy"
underwear, etc, etc. etc. No matter how much he was coaxed, rewarded
or punished, nothing worked. One day, my son just decided that he was
going to use the potty all by himself (without reminders). We have
only had about 3 nighttime accidents since he started going to the
potty on his own a year ago. I know that this does not help you solve
your problem. But, essentially I think that he will go when HE'S
ready to go.
Your three year old will not train until he decides to, and boys are
notoriously reluctant. Just keeping saying to yourself, "He won't go
to high school in diapers." and don't push the issue. Both my kids
trained themselves more or less overnight when they decided it was
time, and never had accidents. My son, however, was probably 3 1/2
before he made his decision.
Our pediatrician told us not to push potty training, that our son
would do it on his own when he was ready. And he did, just a couple
of weeks before his 3rd birthday. The only outside "aid" he had was
other kids at his daycare who were potty training at that time: he
wanted to do what they were doing.
At 3 years old, my son was not interested in potty training either.
The advice I heard the most at that time was that he would train
himself when he was ready, which was such an unbelievable idea, but
that is just what happened. When he was 3 years and 4 months, within
a week he was completely trained in the day for pee and poop. (He
is 5 1/2 now and still wets the bed.) The only thing that I think
may have influenced him for potty training was starting preschool at
age 3 years and 1 month, and wanting to be like the other kids.
My son will be 3 in December and I am at a loss as to what to
do about potty training. I feel like I have tried it all. I
could go into detail but it would probably take up an entire
BPN advice page. We have the potty chair (never been used),
and seat that goes over toilet, books, we have picked out and
purchased copious amounts of underwear, I have offered treats,
he gets stickers even if he just sits on the toilet. He is the
only child in his preschool class not potty trained. It does
not bother my son to have a poop or pee in his diaper. In
fact, he hates getting his diaper changed. This morning we
tried underwear only and he wet himself twice in an hour, but
when I asked him to sit on the toilet, he said no. The books
say not to push it. So, I wait until he is 4? He uses pull-ups
at school but arent' they just glorified diapers? His teacher
says he sometimes pees in the toilet at school, and that he is
very ready to be trained. So, what am I doing wrong? I feel
like I have interrogated every mom I know who has a potty
trained child, so now I am putting it out to the BPN community -
Our son (now 4.5) completely refused to use the potty or toilet
till he turned 4 years old. He's quite smart and could have
learned beforehand, but he simply wasn't interested. He didn't
care at all that all the other kids his age at preschool were
potty-trained; we were fortunate that he is at a preschool
where they took it in stride and just kept changing his
diapers. I broached it a few times with him between age 2 and
4, set up a potty chair, read all the kids' potty-training
books with him, etc, but he repeatedly declined. He did
eventually agree that when he was 4 yo, he would start wearing
underwear. Sure enough, as soon as he turned 4, he started
using the toilet and basically trained himself in a couple
days. (We had also promised him a positive incentive once
trained for a few weeks-- a trip to a special childrens' museum
which worked for him). I think for my son it was more of a
control issue-- he just wanted to do it his way, in his own
time. And I didn't care that much as long as it eventually got
done. In any case, I think it's important to try to keep the
whole process as positive as possible. Good luck.
This is a tough one. There is a lot of pressure on parents to ''get'' their
use the toilet by a certain acceptable age. As a childcare provider, I have had
luxury of helping introduce children to the world of using the toilet, without
And my hope is that, should I become a parent someday, I would let my child take
the lead. Wait until he is four? I would say yes. Chances are that it may not be
a long wait , once a child is given the space to decide that he/she wants to be in
charge of this process.
Children will naturally reach their own limit with the whole diaper scene. Also,
they are in school or otherwise spending time with their peers, they will simply
notice that other children are using the toilet , and may become curious and
Adults can casually mention that so and so uses the toilet and doesn't need
anymore, but avoid making this a point of competition.
Strongly encourage, help, and make sure that everything toilet related is visible
easily accessible, but I would avoid pressuring. After all, this is about a
process that belongs very much to the child. I can't imagine that the long term
effects of having this process associated with pressure and stress could be very
I would note that I have known several very precocious children who seemed ahead
of their peers in other areas of development, but who wanted litte to do with
learning. On the one hand, it seemed they were too busy getting really good at
other things to be bothered. On the other hand, they were extremely capable of
holding up their end of the toilet ''battle''.
Perhaps inadvertantly, the focus is often put upon acheiving toilet learning
certain time frame. Almost by default, the focus is thereby taken Off the hands
very important toilet learning process.
There, I have gone on long enough. I will just add some things that I have found
If you have not done so already, let your child take his stuffed animals (yes, all
them) into the bathroom, where He can be in charge of helping Them learn to sit on
(not in) the toilet.
I would Highly recommend a childrens' book called ''Time to Pee'', by Mo Williams.
Even if you have other books, this one is Excellent. The author has written
for Sesame Street.
A Childcare Provider in East Bay
I'm sure you will get lots of advice about this one. I felt
strongly enough that I needed to write. I have a 9 year old
boy (and a 6 year old girl). I don't have many regrets about
his childhood. But if I could change one thing it would be
about potty training. Looking back, I wish I had said nothing
and did nothing and just let it happen when he was ready. All
that hubbub, talking, treats, threats, discussion, games, and
pressure not only was useless, I feel it was damaging. It
created a whole problem where none existed. My son is a slow
developer, he still has lost only a few teeth. It is just who
he is. Looking back he just wasn't ready!! Anyway he
continued to wet his pants until he was 7 1/2 and I am very
very sure that would not have happened if he had been allowed
to do it on his own. Don't listen to anyone else, the teacher,
your friends, even BPN, just pay attention to your son and
TRUST that he knows best and will do it when he is ready. So
my advice would be to shut up about it completely and just turn
off that spigot of discussion. Don't say one more word to him
about it. Anyway that is my advice. :) (P.S. My daughter,
who has a completely different body and growth pattern, did it
herself at age 3 - see, it isn't a function of anything you do
at home, it is simply a matter of when their bodies are ready
and they need to learn to trust their bodies!)
We are struggling with potty-training our 3-year
old boy. He demonstrates some readiness (can pull pants on &
off, stays dry for long periods of time, tells me when he's
pooped) but does not seem to be making any forward progress,
despite months of trying. He'll sit on the potty several times a
day (with direction from us), but will rarely make a deposit.
Sometimes he'll go in his pull-ups right after he's been on the
potty. We feel like we've tried it all: bribing him with
rewards for using the potty, celebrating dry pull-ups, talking
about friends who use the potty, promoting the ''big boy''
benefits. It's becoming a stuggle, which is not what we want, of
course. Perhaps he's not ready despite his age? Any ideas would
be welcome. Thanks!
One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was to
never let anyone tell you how to parent your kids. My son had a
bottle longer than what others thought was necessary and my
cousin (who has 3 beautiful children) told me that when he is
ready to give it up he will, and don't worry about what others
think about the timing. He gave it up shortly after. Same with
potty training. Boys take longer. I would give up on it for a
while and let him do what he is ready for. At the age of 3,
they want to be independent and do things on themselves. Maybe
he wants to do this on his own. In the meantime, try giving him
big boy underwear and if he has accidents, just change them and
put clean ones on without making a fuss over it. He definitely
will not be comfortable without the diaper protection and might
make the choice to go to the potty himself. Or, if you don't
want to deal with that mess, just leave him in diapers until he
is ready. I found pull-ups more for the grown ups than for the
child. They were difficult to change and kids don't really get
the feel of real underwear. Do yourself a favor and try and let
Been There, Cheri
I know how you feel! I have a 3 3/4 year old boy who's still not
totally potty trained. We've tried just about everything but are
finally making some progress. We did this by taking off his
diapers when he's at home - and this includes Pull Ups. He only
wears underpants at home now. I've cleaned up quite a lot of pee
off the floor but it's been the only way my son has figured out
the connection between the feeling of wanting to pee/poop and
the actual action. He doesn't like it when his underpants get
wet (nor when he has pee running down his legs) so it's a big
motivator. Lose the pull ups, as they're just like diapers in
that the child can't feel the wetness when they pee.
My son didn't potty train until he was 3.5 years old (he's now
4.5). Once he was ready, he was READY: he has had maybe one or
two accidents and was dry at night the same time it took him to
get dry in the day (about 1 week). Let it go. Your son will let
you know when he's really ready. I did go to Target and get him
some Bob the Builder undies in an effort to give him some
incentive, but he didn't even care (and this is a kid who loves
machines, especially talking ones). This is a really huge issue
for many kids. I know it's hard, believe me. Hang in there and
before you know it, bye-bye diapers!
Been There, Done That
Have you tried just letting him run around the house without any
pants or diaper on? THis worked well for my son and it was a way
to see if he really was able to hold his urine in. By being
naked, he loses the easy option of using the diaper. Expect
accidents at first, but that is how he realizes that his urine
will go all over his legs and feet and the floor if he doesn't
make it to the bathroom in time. A logical natural consequence I
think. My son didn't like the urine landing on his body so he
decided to use the potty instead. We used absolutely no negative
words or tone of voice when accidents happened. Just matter of
factly helped with cleaning it up and reminded him that pee pee
goes in the potty. Cotton training pants might be an option too
because your son can sense right away when they are wet, whereas
the diaper feels dry.
When it was time to potty train my daughter I had just watched
an episode about it on Dr. Phil. I tried his advice and it
really worked. I put her potty in the front room and started by
using a baby who would pee. Both of us would put the doll on
the potty and watch her pee, then we would have a party. We
would get really excited and because my daughter loves parties
the baby would get a Happy Birthday song and get to blow out the
candles(with the help of mom). We would do this once or twice
an hour then I would get her to sit on the potty. After giving
her lots of water she would pee then we would make alot of
noise, dance around and she would get the Birthday song and get
to blow out the candles. We did this for a few days (maybe the
whole week) and it really worked. By the end of the week she
didn't have any accidents and I didn't have to sing Happy
Birthday or blow out the candles everytime. Eventually we got
rid of the little potty and she goes on the big potty. On the
show the little boy was really into super heroes so when he
would pee in the potty someone pretending to be a super hero
would call him and tell him how proud he was to be peeing in the
potty. You can probably look up the episode on DrPhil.com. I
didn't think it would work, but it really worked out great for
us. Good Luck.
It doesn't sound like your little one is ready and 3 years isn't
particularly late, especially for boys. My daughter didn't get
potty trained until she was 3 1/2 years. I thought her sister
(who is 22 mos younger)was going to lap her! But once she decided
& was ready, it went completely smoothly. The oldest is still
in pull-ups at night (she is 5 1/2 now) because she sleeps so
soundly. I think some kids just aren't that interested.
Also, you may be seeing some aspect of the ''terrible threes''
where if you want it then they exert their independence by
refusing. My kids wouldn't go potty at all if I suggested
it. The most useful thing I did was to just go along with
whatever they indicated they wanted to do. So my advice would be
to completely let it go and let him be in charge of this one.
Just follow his cues. He will learn in his own time. I am sure
you have heard the saying that no kid goes to kindergarten in
diapers. It may not feel like it now but it's really true.
Good luck & hang in there.
What worked for our 3 year old boy, after trying the various
methods you mentioned, was setting a date when we would get rid
of the diapers. We talked a lot with him about the date for about
2 months. (We used our summer vacation as the date -- which ended
up working great.) As the date neared, we shopped for fun
underwear. When the day came, he put on his underwear and never
went back. (He still uses a pull up at night.) There were
accidents for a week or so and smooth sailing after that. Good
I have a 3 year old boy who has shown little or no interest in
learning how to go ''pee'' and ''poo'' in the potty. I was
wondering if there are any good resources or advice anyone has
that might help him along.
My daughter did not potty train until she was 3-1/2. After trying
everything that was suggested to me and that I had read about
(including not pushing it) for at least a year, I finally
concluded that she wasn't going to do it until she was ''ready'',
and I would not be able to tell you what that entails, although I
think cognitive development is key. When she was ready, she
managed to stay dry at night as well as during the day. But what
seemed to help her understand the process were the more graphic
books like Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel (there's a boy's
version) and Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. Good luck.
Dear parents we are desperate because our son at 3.3 still
hides when he has to do #2, and is not phased w/ #1 in cloth
diapers. For those moms who have succeeded in training their
boys... were you very consistent about placing them on the
potty every hour or so? Are there any foreign-born moms who
could provide additional tips on how you potty trained your boys
so early (12-30 mos)? Is it true that we must act in a way so
that they don't see that we want them to potty train so badly?
My advice is to just drop it. Leave it alone and when he's ready
he'll go for it. This is one of those battles that he will win,
every time. I totally feel your pain. My just-turned-4 year old
potty trained only 4 months ago! It took about 2 weeks to
completely have him out of diapers but after 4 days I could
already see results. I did try several times before that but he
never went for it. The last time he was just ready, I guess. So
my advice to you is to just give it a rest and try again in a few
I wouldn't worry too much about it, frankly. I think that when
toddlers hold their poop, or hide to do it in a diaper, it is a
form of control. It is one of the few things that they have
control over. Both of our sons did this, and got over it. Also,
for some, letting go (even of a poop) is a difficult process. We
used a sticker chart for every potty use, and offered rewards, too
(something small, like a sticker book or a tiny car). They do get
over it, and I think you will feel a lot better if you don't think
about it too much.
My mother, who potty-trained seven kids, says that one of my
brothers was very slow to potty train -- he was more than 3
years old and still refused to use the potty. She thought he was
just being lazy, because he seemed to understand the concept of
using the potty, so one day she just took him out of diapers and
put him into regular underwear. After wetting his pants two or
three times that day (and being horribly embarrassed, I'm sure),
he got the message and potty trained himself in one day.
It seems a bit drastic, but it sure would get the message across!
I don't think this technique would be recommended for a very
sensitive child, though.
I am one of those moms with a ''trained'' baby. #3 used the toliet
from 11mo (started EC at 7 mo) and ''graduated'' at 20mo. #4 has
been sitting on the toliet from 6mo or so (started EC at 5 weeks
Elimination Communication simply bypasses the ''ignore your body's
signals and use a diaper until we decide it is no longer
socially acceptable to wear a diaper'' phase that most kids go
through. The babies are not trained - the adults are - but by
15mo or so, the babies prefer (in general) to use a toliet.
I like EC because it keeps my babies in tune with their signals,
is really easy and simple (especially so if started early) and
I've only had diaper rash when putting a diaper on.
I would take your child out of diapers (they will void everywhere
- being completely out of tune with the sensation of peeing and
pooping - and learn their patterns. Offer the toliet when you
feel they need to go. After over 3 years of being in diapers,
however, you might just need to bite the bullet and allow them to
choose when and where they want to give diapers up - especially
if they do not want their diapers removed - by now, they might
balk at going naked.
If you're not going to practise some form of EC, I would pull
completely back and recognize that you've provided the diapers
and they've responded to them - now allow them the comfort of
leaving diapers on their time table.
I read the advice given to the ''potty training 3.3 yr old''
posting on Elimination communication(EC) by ''Kathy''. I visited
the EC website and found it very helpful, and would like to
learn even more about it.
I have a 3 yr old just coming out of diapers(thank goodness!),
and a 4 month old boy. I absolutely DO NOT WANT to see my second
son in diapers till he's 3 yrs old! I was potty trained by 12
months old, and my mother who is Asian thinks its absurd to see
any child ''who can chew food'' not going to the potty.
If ''Kathy'' or anyone else has tried EC and either been
successful or not with it, could you please email me? I'm very
motivated to try EC, and would like to hear other's experiences.
The potty's the place! m.
My 3 and 1/2 year old daughter is newly potty trained. She's
doing great and has only had a handful of accidents in the 2
months since she's been out of diapers. She still wears a
diaper at night, and it's usually wet in the morning.
However, she's decided that she doesn't want to wear a
diaper for naptime anymore. I'm all for it, but she tends to
have accidents maybe 2 or 3 times a week-- especially when
she takes a really long nap. Have any of you dealt with this
scenario? She says that sometimes she forgets that she's not
wearing a diaper. Other times she says it happens while
she's sleeping. I put a potty chair in her room but it
hasn't helped. I'm not interested in putting her back in
diaps for naps. Any suggestions? Am I just destined to do a
lot of extra laundry for the foreseeable future?
Out of diapers and into the laundry room
Congratulations, you're, well, she's almost there!
You may or may not do this already, but it wasn't mentioned in the post..
Here are a few tips.
1. limit how much she drinks before her nap.
2. have her go potty right before nap
3. buy ''special pull ups.'' for my daughter, I told her that sometimes her body
forgets to remember when she's sleeping and until her body remembers, the
doctor (you can change this to whomever she might listen to) suggested that
she wear it. I use the 7th generation, looks and feels less diaper like.
Emphasize ''special'' LOL
Also, maybe you can have a calendar or a countdown chart that you can mark
and tell her when her body can remembers to stay dry, for example, for 20
consecutive days, then she can try her regular underwear.
I tried to stay away from ''you're not ready'' or ''you're forgetting'' b/c I felt like it
could get into a power struggle. I say things like ''oops, you're body forgot'' or
''yay, you're body remembered this time'' i felt like it was a no-pressure
I have a 3.5 year old boy who recently (in last 4 weeks)
started to wet his pants throughout the day. He has been
potty trained since age 3 but continues to wear pull-ups
for naps and sleeping and had been making progress toward
making it through the night dry.
Recently, he has been peeing small amounts in his clothes;
no rhyme or reason to it, sometimes 3-4 times a day. He
does it even after we ask if he needs to use the potty, so
not like he is too distracted to use the potty. When peeing
his pants, its usually a small amount; definately not a
I have considered that this is a medical condition but dont
see that he has any other pain or bodily complaints
anywhere in his body. He is an healthy boy.
We do have another child, now 7 months. The peeing started
over Christams break (he is a full-time preschool student)
when he was home for two weeks with his younger brother and
his former nanny who now takes care of our infant. I
mention this as we are thinking there is some
jealousy/regression happening. Perhaps this is a delayed
reaction? We never had any conflict or regression up to
this point and our toddler has been very happy about his
role as big brother.
In fact, it seems that having a baby around who needs
diapers actually made our toddler want to be a 'big boy'
who does not wear diapers and his potty training
accelerated after the birth of #2. Is this the regression
I would appreciate any advice or insight into this. What to
do, any concerns etc. Thanks BPN community!
You may be right that it is an emotional trigger. Just in case I would take
the pediatrician just to rule out medical causes. My daughter spent a month
wetting her underwear and I thought she was acting out. It turned out she had
severe urinary tract infection and couldn't help the wetting.
When that happened to my 5 y.o. son, the doctor diagnosed a
bladder infection. It went away quickly. Hopefully, your
child is better already.
My easygoing, sunny 3.5 year old son has a perfect record of
using the toilet for both #1 and #2 at his preschool. He's been
going potty at school for 3-4 months now with only an occasional
At home is a different story. I've had about 5% success rate
getting him to use the potty at home. We have a small potty
which he understands is ''his'' next to the regular size toilet,
and he's encouraged to choose either one. He seems clear on the
concept of pooping and peeing in the toilet rather than in a
diaper, since he does it faithfully at school, but if I try
dressing him in underwear on the weekends, 9 times out of 10 he
has an accident.
I've tried the approaches of: asking him every 15 minutes or so
if he needs to go; matter-of-factly stating, ''It's time to go
potty,'' so that he goes and sits whether or not he ''needs'' to
go; creating a brightly colored ''incentive chart'' so he can earn
a star every time he even makes an attempt, and a dearly-desired
new Thomas engine is the prize for earning enough stars; but
none of these attempts has been much of a success. This morning
I dressed him in underwear, and he had an accident before we
even left the house.
I've tried to make the whole process positive and low-key. At
one point I dropped the effort altogether, since I didn't want
it to turn into some kind of power struggle, and because I knew
he wouldn't be wearing a diapers when he entered college
(although I was starting to think high school might be a
I think the problem is that I'm not clear on exactly what
approach I should be taking. I've been proud of my success in
other areas where standing firm is required, but that was when I
was clear on what the process needed to be. Now I'm not clear
myself, and am being wishy-washy with him.
Again, he's a bright, healthy boy, and this is not a big
problem, but I would like to be more of a help to him. Any
Stumped on the potty
Having potty trained 3 boys, here is a method that worked for us. When I knew that
they were really able to use the potty, I swtiched them to thick training underwear
pull on plastic underwear over it (the old kind for cloth diapers). I'd place a stack
bathroom, and tell them if he had an accident to put the wet ones in the bathtub and
put clean ones on. If he needed help he could come get me. This method worked great
because they got tired of changing themselves! So much easier to use the potty.
Coupled with sticker rewards for using the potty, this method really worked.
I suspect you will get lots of advice and I am a mom with a not-
yet-trained toddler, so what I am saying is what I would do, not
tried and true. If I were in your situation, I would begin by
picking your son up one day at school and telling him his
teacher told you how proud of his potty use his teachers are.
Tell him it is time for him to start using the potty at home as
well. (Check with the teachers...does your son use the little
potty or the toilet? With or without the ring on the toilet?
Standing or sitting for pee? I would limit the options at home
to whatever he uses at school.) Tell your son that it is time to
start saying goodbye to his diapers. Tell him in X number of
days or weeks, the diapers will be replaced with underpants,
which he can pick out. Take him to the store and let him choose
(regular or potty traing style) underpants. From that day on,
only underwear and just expect accidents. Be ready with a
plastic bag, wipes, and extra clothes when you go out and about.
Praise his success and don't show annoyance when he has
accidents. Then, when he ''gets'' it, reward him. Good luck. We
are starting down this path, now, and I am so ready to be rid of
diapers, I have to restrain myself from being pushy!
My 3.5 yo son refuses to use the potty. Although he will sit on
the potty if required, he has never made a ''deposit'' in it and
seems to be deliberately withholding his urine and bms while on
the potty. I've tried all the normal methods - books, videos,
underwear, rewards, talking about his peers who use the potty -
and none have worked at all. I had hoped that seeing his peers
use the potty when he started preschool this fall would
positively influence him to use the potty, but this has not
happened so far even though he is the only child in his class
who is not potty-trained. When asked, my son says he just
doesn't want to use the potty, period. No explanation. We have
not had a new baby or any other recent change other than
starting preschool, but this pattern predates preschool. My
question isn't how to potty-train him, but whether I should even
be trying at this point. He is ''normal'' developmentally, but
has had some behaviorial issues (hitting, scratching, etc.) and
is a very strong-willed and persistent child. His pediatrician
says that, given his behaviorial issues, she is afraid potty-
training efforts will turn into a power struggle and I should
just forget about potty-training until he is ready (God, when
will that be??!!). His preschool teachers say that I should sit
him on the potty at frequent intervals and make it clear that my
expectation of him is that he will use the potty (that's the
approach they take with him at school, with no success so far).
I personally don't mind keeping him in diapers for awhile
longer, but I feel like a bad mom for not potty-training him by
now. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
A strong-willed 3.5 year-old is going to win most battles with
mommy, especially considering that this is a very difficult and
emotional stage (and also a stage when he/she really bucks mom
in just about everything). I would suggest waiting until he's
past this stage and then try again.
Once you feel comfortable stepping up the potty expectations and
follow-through, you may want to try what has really helped in
1) stop buying pull-ups. Tell your son that you are not buying
them anymore because it is time to learn how to use the potty,
and that diapers are for babies, and that he's a big boy now.
2) put large absorbent water-proof pads on his bed (and yours if
he sleeps in your bed) so that you don't have to worry about
bedwetting staining the mattresses. I've found that children
have a great capacity to hold their bladders when not wearing
pull-ups. You could also try letting him run around bottomless
when he's home and placing a potty chair in the room where he
spends the most time.
Our four year old also did the same thing (with BMs only)! My
husband thought it was absolutely over the top, and was upset by
her behavior. I (he usually follows my lead) thought that we
should ignore it. So, that is what we did. We offered the potty,
and when she said no, we said, okay. No problem. We would always
add, ''You'll poop on the potty when you are ready.'' She would
say, ''I will never be ready!'' And we would simply say, ''okay.''
We often added, ''And when you are ready, you'll get [whatever toy
she wanted at the time]''. Her behavior indicated that she would,
literally, never be potty trained, ever. Then, totally out of the
blue on day, she decided to poop on the potty (by herself. We
didn't even know that she was in the bathroom). That was it. She
never looked back. So, although we received a lot of advice from
people (such as my mother in law) to force her to use the potty,
in the end, we ignored it completely and she potty trained
herself. Good luck!
Pooped Out in Berkeley
I have two 3.5 year olds and it is very frustrating. They have
both made deposits in the toilet on occasion. They enjoyed the
fanfare afterwards. However, if I put them in underwear they
will undoubtedly pee wherever. They don't seem to care that they
get wet. I have asked them numerous times about it and they say
things like ''it surprised me'' or ''I didn't make it in time'' or
something to that effect. I have given up. Whether my children
are ready or not I don't think should reflect on my parenting. I
have tried and I believe they are not ready. Maybe they are
ready physically but not emotionally or vice versa. I feel your
pain but I don't think you are a lesser parent in anyway. They
will do it when they are ready and then it will be effortless-or
so everyone tells me. My advice-listen to them and support them
and they will tell you when they are ready.
waiting for her boys to use the toilet too
3.5 is not too late for potty training a boy. It may seem late
with the peer presure you seem to be feeling, but clearly it's
not so for your son. Are his teachers pushing you to train
him? Do you really feel like it's time? I'd suggest lightening
up on it. You could ask him to experiment with going without
diapers outside on these late summer days, and perhaps
he'll understand how nice it is to go diaperless. Good luck.
--still waiting for the right time too
My now 4 year old daughter finally potty trained about 2 months
before her 4th birthday. She had been working on it off and on
for about 2 years but was pretty clear that she didn't want to
do it. The advice given to us by our preschool was to let it go
for a while until she shows signs that she wants to and when she
does go potty, to be pretty low-key so that she would feel it
was an accomplishment for her and not for us. We did follow
this advice and then when we actually did potty train, my mother
had gotten a set of quite attractive underwear (which never had
worked before) and she wore it for the day, and then for more
days. She had several accidents for the first three or four
days and requested to wear pull-ups again, saying she wasn't
good at this. I explained that nobody was good at it and had to
practice to get good at it. Because she was really ready, she
went with it. I think if she wasn't, she would have been back
in pull-ups just like all the other many times she tried wearing
underwear. Getting comfortable pooping was hard for her but
she did it with our support and we really especially careful to
not use any bribes or pressure. She now has an accident
occasionally, but this is very rare. I think your pediatrician
is right to let it go for a while and that forcing the issue
could just turn into a power struggle that no one would win. I
think my daughter was perfectly capable of potty training much
earlier than she did but it really had to be when she was ready.
I've been dealing the same issues with my 3.5 year old daughter
for the past 6 months. We've also tried everything. She has
been the only child, for almost a year, not potty trained in
her pre-school. We did have a power struggle which got to the
point of her crying when I asked her to sit on the potty. On
the positive side, I am happy to say that she is almost
trained. Here is what has worked for me. I stopped putting
her on the potty and had her only in diapers for about 2
weeks. I would ask her if she had to go and she would
generally say no. I then began asking her if she wanted to
wear big girl underpants or diapers. After a few days she
began asking for underpants. I told her that big girls go on
the potty but it was okay to go in diapers but I didn't want
her to mess her pants. She sometimes still asks for diapers.
I asked her for a few days, frequently, if she had to go potty
and have her sit down but if she said no I wouldn't force the
issue. Now she is going on her own, still wears diapers
infrequently, but our power struggles have ceased and we are
both less stressed. Don't worry about being bad mom - be proud
that you have an independant kid that doesn't give into peer
hi, I had EXACTLY the same problem, I tried everything, bribing, batman
My pediatrician, bless her heart, told me not to rush it, which was
contradicted what his preschool wanted to do.
I'm going to break down what happened:
The first 2 times we tried (we as in parents and preschool) we took him
out of diapers and what we noticed is:
1) he didn't care he got wet
2) he peed vindictively, he would pee RIGHT after we put him on the
potty, and usually on a piano bench, his bed, the couch, or the
playstructure at school.
We put him back in diapers, as per his doctor.
The third time we tried he was 3 yrs 9mos, he was still showing no
interest whatsoever, he didn't care that every other kid was doing it, that
he couldn't go to kindergym with his class, no cajoling would work
BUT, i had a nagging feeling it was really time, so against the advice of
his pediatrician, and with the support of his school (new school is
awesome about these sorts of things...), i just took away his diapers and
swore he would never wear them again (i did not count pull-ups at
night). I swear, it took 3-4 days of hell, but he was on that potty! I almost
cried the first time i heard the tinkling of pee on water!!!!
this time, he really cared that he was wet, and i had him help clean up
during those difficult first few days (never the poop, only the pee).
It worked for another parent i know too.
anyways, that is the long version of what worked for my most stubborn
now 4.5 year old (we are working on getting him out of pull-ups at night
now, i am thinking underwear underneath them, so he feels the
My daughter did not start using the potty until literally the
day she turned four. I too was frustrated when my daughter was
not interested. Like your kid, she also goes to preschool, but
that did not inspire her. Like your kid, she would agree to
try, but was never able to do anything on the pot.
When she was about 3.9 years, I tried using a potty calendar
that had great sucess with our little cousin. We'd put one kind
of sticker for trying, another for peeing and another for
pooping. It backfired completely. She just felt pressured.
It seems that there are two schools of thought. One is put them
in underwear, and pretty soon they will get tired of having
accidents and potty train. That probably works, though maybe
its traumatic for some kids. My lesson from this was FOR MY KID
I just needed to wait until she was ready. For her, for some
reason, using the potty had to do with what it meant for her to
turn four. It actually was a good lesson for me that kids
develop at different rates for different things. It will happen
by itself, it just takes longer. I do think that we can
certainly encourage our kids, in a low key way, that we have
confidence in their ability to do it, BUT to let them know that
it is ok for them to wait until they feel ready.
The good news is that once she started it took no time at all
for her to potty train.
Hang in there!! It will happen!
My three year, four month old daughter steadfastly refuses to use the potty, much less wear "pantsies" (as she calls them). We've always taken the easy-going approach to potty training, figuring she'd do it when she was interested, and apart from gentle persuasion (the potty video and books, two kinds of potties, lots of naked baby time), we've pretty much left out the hardsell. Now, however, I'm getting kind of hung up about
this. Grandma, her daycare lady (with 30 years experience with toddlers) and peer pressure have not made an impression upon her, either, and I don't know what to do. We're expecting our second child in mid-July, and it would be nice to have her out of diapers by then, or at least leaning that way. Is it too early to worry? Should I continue to wait until she's interested? Has anyone else ever heard of a 3.5 year old girl refusing
to be potty trained? She's a normal, independent-minded three-year-old in every other way. Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
My daughter is almost three and a half and just started using the potty about 3 months ago. I, too, used a pretty laid back approach. We used books and videos, she had cool panties, and she watched her friends use the potty. When I suggested she try, she replied, "I'm not ready to
potty train yet Mom, soon I will be." Those were her exact words. I kind of felt that if she could communicate that well, them she damn sure could use the potty. I stressed in silence and hoped that she would do it soon. Indeed she did. I have no idea why she started using it. I didn't do anything differently. One day she just started doing it, and not on the little potty, but on the big one. When she first starting using the potty I would remind her by saying, "Don't forget, you're wearing panties". One day at Totland, I was half way across the playground when she shouted, "Hey Mom, don't forget you're wearing panties." I hadn't, but appreciated her concern. Good luck!
Oh, yes! I certainly know of another 3 1/2 year old girl who refuses to use the potty. Mine! she's also about 3 years 4 months. She knows how, she goes at school, sometimes (one great day she spent all day in underwear with no accidents!). But she just can't be bothered to interrupt what she is doing most of the time. We've taken the same approach, with (it sounds like) similar results. We have also tried stars, and at one point we tried putting her on the potty every 15 minutes, but nothing has really worked. I'll be interested in what others have to say about it. My neighbor (also on this list) says that her son just up and decided to do it one day--from zero to 60 in no time flat. I
keep that in mind whenever I get discouraged.
As it happens, we're planning to go in a couple of weeks on a 4 day camping trip at a naturist resort. I assume that my daughter will run around with no clothes on (and a LOT of sunscreen!) for the better part of 4 days. I'm hoping that this will help her figure out WHEN she needs to go. I've never been willing to try this technique INSIDE our house, but maybe it will work outside! I'll let you know.....
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