19 answers

2 1/2 Year Old Potty Training & Behavior

I have a 2 1/2 year old little boy and I have two issues. The first issue is his behavior. Lets just say he has me dialed into the max!! As soon as I come around he starts to whine and act up. I can drop him off at daycare and he's fine all day or I can leave him with his Dad, but when I come in the door typically he starts to whine. He is also at a stage where he repeats everything I say. So if I go to discipline him and tell him "no" or "please stop doing that", etc., he'll repeat what I'm saying. I have tried to do time out with him. He does get upset when he goes in time out and we talk about why he was in time out and he says he won't do whatever he did "naughty" again but he still does. He is a very smart boy for his age but he just seems to "work me over" for some reason? My second issue is the potty. He was starting to get interested in the potty and would go from time to time when he felt like it. He was still in diapers while trying to train. Then one day he just stopped completely. He knows when he's wet and he goes and hides when he's going poop. He always tells me when he's got a poppy butt and wants his diaper changed. I tell him to go on the potty and that he would be a big boy if he did it and he just tells me no. I have tried to bribe him and tell him that other kids at daycare do it and that he should join in. What should I do?

What can I do next?

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I have 3 boys that i have gone through this with, and it sounds so familiar. It really sounds like he is not quit ready for the potty yet. He is very close though. He knows when he goes, and he wants to be changed, but mentally not ready just yet. The only thing i could suggest is making him stay in the dirty diaper for a while. It will make him uncomfortable, and maybe that will get him to the next step of usung the potty instead of having to be in poopy pants.
He is not unique in this way. I went through it with 2 of my boys. You are not alone.
Good luck to you!!

M., I don't have boys I have 3 girls. But, I did have a whiner. My youngest daughter used her whine to get everything and I finally got to the point where it made me crazy. A friend of mine told me two things. First, tell him you can't hear him when he whines and make him use a normal tone of voice. Second, don't reward bad behavior. If his whining continues to get him what he wants he will continue to whine. As far as the potty training goes, my only suggestion is 2 1/2 is still pretty young and maybe just give him a little more time and then try again.

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First off, as my pediatrician advised me (and it was good advice) never bother training a little boy before age 3, especially with a new baby in the house. He is still wanting your attention and showing it by wanting to be in diapers too. I have also noticed that the whining starts when Mom comes through the door. They never whine for Dad. Not sure why....My guess is that Mom provides certain needs that they may be looking for at that time and that is their cry for attention. As far as the other issues, just ignore the mimicking; he is just trying to get your attention. Give him positive attention in other ways and the annoying phase will disappear. I think the little guy is just going through some changes right now with little sister, potty training, day-care, etc. Lots of love and one-on one will probably do wonders. Just remember, what I always tell myself: "This too shall pass...." and it will!

I have twins that just turned 3 in November and I have been working on the potty issue since the spring. When they expressed an interest we bought them undies that they picked out and I have been diligant about asking and taking them into the bathroom to sit and try to potty and we used the treat and sticker incentive and nothing seemed to be working. One day before Thanksgiving my son woke up and decided he was ready and has used the potty ever since and that includes over night w/o pull ups. My little girl, on the other hand, still refuses and so I am still constantly asking her. I was told by my doctor that she will when she is ready like he did but to keep asking. It is frustrating but we have come to terms that they might be twins but every child is different and she will when she is ready. Don't be discouraged and keep trying with positive reinforcment and it will happen when he is ready.

I would suspect that his whining when he sees you is partially because he misses you during the day. Mommies are the #1 person in their children's lives and kids attach themselves to their mothers naturally because mothers are the main caretakers. If your son is without you most of the day, I would expect his response to be negative, even though it may seem wrong, it is actually a normal response. I would suggest you make sure to spend as much Mommy/Son time with him as you can and let him know how important he is to you. Don't be too hard on him, he is a young child needs your patience. As far as repeating your words, this is also very normal. My son just turned 3, and I realize that this repetition can get annoying. But repetition is how they learn to speak and it's really amazing how fast children remember and pick up on things. Just try to respond to him when he is speaking to you and remember this is a stage of development, it too will pass.

My 2 1/2 year old daughter is like your son in a lot of ways. The whiney stuff I'm still trying to figure out. However, the potty training is really starting to work out. First taking her out of her pull-ups and putting her in underwear makes a big difference. They know that when they wear a pull-up or diaper that they don't have to worry about having an accident or really feeling gross. When she wears underwear if there is an accident it will run down her leg etc and she doesn't like it very much! Also we started using a stiker chart. Everytime she would sit, go to the potty, or tell us she had to go she got a sticker. Hope this helps.

You are not alone in the whole "I come in the door and he starts to whine". My kids are the same way! So are my nieces and nephews, my friends' kids, my neighbors kids, my babysitting kids,......LOL See what I'm getting at? I don't get it either, but for some reason most kids go into whining mode when mom is around. My best advice is to point it out to him and tell him how much it bothers you and the people around him (of course, that might encourage him to do it! lol) Other than that, just ignore him and tell him you speak to him when he can quit whinning and talk like a big boy. It's sounds like he's in the full throws of the "terrible twos" and the "horrible threes". Just hang in there!

As for the potty training, both my boys went in fits and spurts of being interested. One day gung-ho, next day not so much. Maybe it's a boy thing =) Boys do usually take longer to potty train. My oldest wasn't fully trained til 3 1/2, my youngest at 3. So at 2 1/2 just let him come around, this is one thing where he gets to set the schedule to when he's ready. It won't do any good to push him. Good luck!

M.,
the first task you work on, will require a lot of creativity from your side, as you know him better than any of us, but iut is the great time that starts for you both!
Here are couple examples:
MY son once started responding on any of my questions 'yes-no'. It lasted for months: I ask, for instance, are you hungry?" and he responded: "I am hungry, not hungry."; "Do you want to go for a walk?" "I want to go, not to go", and looked at me very seriously and inquiringly.
Another situation we had, was that once he decided he needs two of everything. He wouldn't start eating one slice of bread, or even his favorite pie. He needed two. He just held the one in his hand and said: "two." Then, I took it from his hand, broke the slice in two, handed him two, he held one in each hand, and happily devoured both, munching from one and another one simultaneously. Same with toys. He came to me with his little toycar and announced "Two!" So, we walked to his toybox, and found another one, about the same size. With a car in each hand, equaling two, he could play alone or in his brother's company for a long time, no problems.
:)
You will have some interesting situations, obviously.
Do not get frustrated. As creative as he is, he expects you to be even more creative.
I have no clue what would work, but you will need to try many things.
Important is though: do not approach it straightforward, as you tried it already and it did not work.
For instance, he starts whiling, why don't you sit on the carpet and shart quietly whining also (peeking at how he reacts of course). As this is totally unusual behavior for him, the hope is, he will quit his whine, or at least become curious. If he will come closer, you may ask for his help: "mom is so sad, she needs a hug, can you help her?"
or,
if he starts whining, start doing something (not addressing him AT ALL), what he really likes, in the same room: take his legos, start building some castle, and talk TO YOURSELF: "I like to build this castle, but if _____(Your son's name) was here, it would be so much more fun to build it together! But he is not here, so I will have to do it alone." and see how he reacts.
If you DO NOT PAY PARTICULAR attention to his whining, he should eventually get bored with it.
Or,
if you say, once he starts whining: "oh, little boy, I do not know who you are, but I am looking for my son ___(his name), and I miss him so much! You even look almost like my dear ______, but your face is so much different, I don't think this is my son. My son always smiles, and I have such a great story to read him, I need to find him right away!!! Maybe you could help me to find him, little boy?" and if you walk around a little, he will probably follow you, out of curiosity, and once you get into the room with the mirror, start looking inside the mirror: do it very carefully, attentively, inquiringly: see what he will do. I believe he will come to the mirror too, and it won't be a whiny face... THAT"S when you discover him! "Oh, here he is! Can you come out here, I need to hug You, ____, please!" and finally turn around and find him in this world, and express your surprise how you didn't notice himn here before!
You know what I say? None of these described above situations might work, but if you quit paying straightforward attention to his whining, do something absolutely extraordinary, to catch his attention and redirect it away from his 'sadness'(something jaw-dropping would be even better, you name it!), make life interesting for him to the point that he will forget whining, and always leave him a chance to approach you 'through the other door with a smile', you will be both fine pretty soon.
He is definitely trying out what is poossible with you, and you need to outwit him. Once he will see whining does not work, but not whining makes life so much more interesting, you are on!
Be VERY creative, explore your son's soul and mind, like he explores yours. And, do you not get frustrated, this will make YOU cry, and then your creative mind will not have enough energy to think about new ways of communication :) !!!!
Good luck!!!

With Potty training:
I responded about a month ago to one mom with a 3 years old girl. if I may, I just copy-paste you my response, and good luck, again, M.:

one VERY UNPLEASANT experience taught my daughter immediately:
I cannot suggest it, as it is for you to decide, but 3 years old is definitely ready to understand and do it right. She might feel it comfy not to bother to run to the toilet, but it's really time to 'grow up' :).
So, this is what I did: no diapers, regular underwear and stockings or pants on.
Once the clothes got wet :(, I helped her to change, but I tied these wet stockings to her tummy on top of her dress. Well, they kind of stink. She did not like it at all. She quietly suffered through about half an hour, then I took the wet stockings off.
Ever since, not one single time of such a problem occured. She knew where the pot is, and she 'helped herself'

Good luck to you!
M.

M., I don't have boys I have 3 girls. But, I did have a whiner. My youngest daughter used her whine to get everything and I finally got to the point where it made me crazy. A friend of mine told me two things. First, tell him you can't hear him when he whines and make him use a normal tone of voice. Second, don't reward bad behavior. If his whining continues to get him what he wants he will continue to whine. As far as the potty training goes, my only suggestion is 2 1/2 is still pretty young and maybe just give him a little more time and then try again.

Hi M.!
I can't help you with your behavior problems, ie, I have a 3 year old, but it's a possibility I could shed some light on the potty training! First of all, DON'T go back to dipars. Ever. Throw them all away. Better yet, have him put them all in a box and take them to the garbage. (or save for your baby, but don't let him see them) Spend one whole weekend with no plans. Don't say a word and just help him change his underwear when he soils them. Make him help you laundry them as well! That's an icky job that worked with mine! When he does go in the toliet, smile, kiss and hug and give him a much desired treat. Once he realizes that you mean business and sitting in cold icky underwear is gross, he might have a change of heart. Let him pick out his cool underwear all by himself. You will be doing a lot of laundry the first couple days, but it will get better. Just don't go back to dipars. Good luck!

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