BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Toilet Training with a Full-Time Job
Berkeley Parents Network >
The Potty >
Toilet Training with a Full-Time Job
My 31 month old boy is potty training - and I am struggling
with doing this while both my partner and I work full time. He
gets it -- and sits on the potty and goes (even poop) when the
he wants to... or when we leave him bare bottomed. But he has
no problem with his soiled underwear or diaper. He is pooping
in the bathtub more frequently now. and then being freaked out
by it. I'm at a loss. I have to put him in a diaper for day
care -- even though they try to give him potty time. How
should I work on this at home? no pants? underwear and just
be prepared to clean up. I know not to rush him, but I also
think we aren't doing a very good job working on it with him
Perhaps your son is simply not quite ready to use the potty. I
understand that it is pretty normal for boys to hold off until
they are about 3 and 1/2 these days. Our son flirted briefly
with using the potty when he was about 2.5, but then abandoned
the endeavor and really wouldn't go back to it. We dropped it
and waited until he initiated the transition. It was hard to
wait. It seemed that many (maybe even most) of his classmates
in pre-school were starting or done much earlier. But, he just
didn't want to. As he was approaching three and a half, I began
thinking that maybe I needed to take the initiative. By that
time, our son knew when he was going pee or poop, and wanted to
be changed right after, seemed able to hold it, etc. But, just
as I was thinking of taking the initiative (almost 3 and a half
to the day), he made the decision on his own. His teacher at
school had been encouraging him, and we tried to raise the
possibility of using the potty periodically without pushing the
subject. But, in the end, it was his decision and he made it
all at once. All of a sudden, he started using the potty on his
own, or asking for help. Almost simultaneously, he announced
that he was ready to sleep without a diaper. My husband and I
initially responded that we thought he should work up to that -
but we didn't want to discourage him - and he seemed to take it
as a given that he would quit diapers all at once. So, we let
him go without at night too, and in the last 2 or 3 months, he's
had only 2 accidents at night, and the occasional memory blip
during the day. The experience really sold me on the idea that
it is ok to just wait until they indicate they are ready. I've
seen other mothers getting into power struggles over using the
potty. Obviously each child is different. But I think it is ok
to let them lead the way. Anyway, I hope you find a way that
works for your family. Good luck!
You have a long weekend coming up - take advantage of it!
Don't go anywhere, keep things low key, turn up the heat and
let him go bottomless all weekend. Sit him on the toilet at
strategic times (upon waking up, after each meal, before nap,
etc.) We've potty trained 3 kids and my husband and I both
have full time jobs so you'll get there. It just happens we
found, like a little switch gets flipped and they just get it.
However our son stayed in pull ups at night for about 6 months
after we had him potty trained during the day as he just
wouldn't wake up in time to make it to the bathroom.
As for the pooping in the bathtub, just watch his face very
carefully during bath. Our son used to poop in the bath as
well and we got pretty good at seeing it coming by the
expression on his face. Then we'd just lift him out and put
him on the little potty that we kept by the tub.
Since we received the reference to the New York Times article, I have been
thinking about toilet training. What am I going to do? I work full-time
(against my will--due to finances), and my son is 16 mos. old. When should
I start and how? Should I expect the day care person to take care of this
for me (I guess she'll have to)? Or, do I need to take vacation leave to
get started? I admit, I haven't started doing any reading up on this, so I
apologize for my naivete. Any advice from "seasoned" parents is welcome.
My son is now 3.5. My husband and I both work full-time. Our nanny
and his pre-school trained him. I suggest you let your daycare
providers do the same if they will. Depending on the age you start
this, he will probably acquiesce more to their requests than to yours.
Unless there is a real need for toilet training your son now, like
day-care requirements, I would suggest you wait for at least a year,
especially with a boy. All the boys in my mothers group, seemed to
self-train at just over 3 years.
For us, we let him somewhat decide the timing. The nanny pretty much
let him run around without a diaper on starting around 2yrs 9mos. He
had accidents, but stayed drier and drier. The pre-school teacher
told me to just put him in underpants and send him to school. He
refused to put them on for me, so I didn't do anything for a while.
When he was 3 yrs 2 months, he was still refusing me, so I handed the
underpants to her and wished her well. Fifteen minutes after I
left, she pur them on him and he used the potty all morning there and
all afternoon with the nanny. When we got home he immediately peed on
the floor and insisted on a diaper. This went on for two weeks until
the nanny talked him into wearing underpants for us. We have not had
a problem during the day since.
My son has been in some kind of daycare full time since he was 6 weeks
old. My husband and I were concerned about potty-training but both the
pediatrician and my son's preschool teacher-to-be said it's no big
deal--don't even think about it--he'll do it when he's ready without
effort on our part. They were right. We told our daycare provider not
to bother with potty-training but some of the other kids under her care
were either slightly older or had mothers who had a schedule in mind, so
our son was exposed to other kids using the potty
starting when he was about 2-1/2. About this time, we went out and
bought him a potty, but didn't try to make him use it. Just before he
turned 3, he decided that if other kids could do it, so could he. We
then gave our son the opportunity to use the potty at home when he
wished to. He was out of daytime diapers within about 2 weeks of
starting to "train" himself. He started preschool just after turning 3;
he may have had one accident at school at the beginning, but certainly
no more than one.
Our son had a few accidents when we went to visit our relatives at
Christmas when he was 3.3 years old, but they stopped soon after we
returned home. I think this type of behavior is typical.
To the working parent with the 16 month old....
I too work full time and have a daughter who just turned three. It's
been a real challenge to teach her to use the potty. I've tried
everything! But she's got a very "careful" and "persistent" temperment.
Bottom line, at day care where she receives lots of consistency she's
pretty much been trained since she was two. But at home, we're still
having lots of accidents, though in recent weeks they are indeed
improving. Another factor is the modeling and pressure of her playmates
in daycare. I think you'll find your daycare provider a great help with
training your son. Work to follow her methods if you can.
First of all, don't feel badly about not having done any reading on this
yet. At 16 months your son is probably far from ready for toilet
training. My husband and I also work full time, although we do employ a
nanny. When my son, Douglas, was 2.5 I began to stress about the
toilet training thing. Then someone put everything into perspective for
me by reminding me that it WOULD happen because "after all -- how many
teenagers do you know who aren't toilet trained?" So, we took a low key
approach. Douglas was naturally curious about the toilet -- following
his father and I into the
bathroom, asking about his friends who used the toilet, etc. As his 3rd
birthday neared, we talked alot with Douglas about how he would soon be
old enough to wear "big boy underpants." I made sure to have a pair of
underpants on hand that perfectly matched a daddy-size pair. On
Douglas' third birthday, we made a big to-do about him putting on his
underpants --and how they were just like Daddy's. He wore the pants all
day -- including during his party in the park -- with no accidents.
But, the next day he refused to put them on again. We didn't push, but
every day asked him if he'd like to try wearing "big boy underpants"
again. One day, around 2 months later, he just said yes. And has been
wearing them happily and successfully ever since.
I wanted to share my experience when I was faced with the same. Parents
can usually receive hints from children, when they're ready for potty
training. Kids usually are wonderful copycats, and want to imitate
everything the parents do. I believe it is up to the child to give you
signs; however, parents have a HUGE role in helping the child decide
that they have outgrown being in diapers. When you talk to your child,
you have to let them know that they will soon need to learn to do
without, show what "big people" do when they need to use the restrooms,
In my family's case, our kids wanted to imitate us (parents) going to
the bathroom. When my kids showed me this, I took it as a sign that
they were no longer inclined to be in diapers. Consequently, I
purchased really thick cotton undies, which I made them wear when we
were home together (early evenings and on weekends). Then I talked to
their babysitter and asked her to help me in this endeavor (you can't do
it alone when working full-time); and we would coordinate how to deal
with the situation.
After a while, the children learn to appreciate how nice it feels to
have dry & clean undies. This encourages them very quickly (with your
help) to learn to let you know when they need to use the bathroom.
You'd be surprised how fast they quit wearing diapers! Of course, you
constantly need to praise their efforts, and perhaps reward them every
so often with a special trip to the park (or something like that...).
Then you'd do more or less the same for night time, emphasizing no
drinking after a certain time and making sure they use the bathroom
before (or after) their bed time story. I would definitely deal with
daytime first, then night time. Best of luck!
My comments are directed at the parents of children who tend to have a
stubborn streak. My experience is that potty training for my daughter
was different from other parents because of her personality. Caregivers
and pre-schools don't always have the right methods for each child. In
my situation, the pre-school's method set my daughter's potty training
back almost a year.
The reality is most caregivers don't know how to potty-train kids unless
the child cooperates. Kids potty train themselves when they are ready
and feel like they are in a safe environment. My husband and I are full
time working parents. My daughter became potty-trained during a
pre-school vacation when she was four. I took off
two weeks before the school's next session. We talked about it - she
was ready and so was I. Since I was off from work and she had more
freedom, it was a success. Neither of us felt under pressure. It was
too obvious in hindsight. Good luck!
On potty training: the earlier you start, the longer it takes.
this page was last updated: Feb 19, 2007
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network