25 answers

At My Wits End! Potty Training Advice, Please!

My dear daughter just won't go on the potty. I've heard all the "wait until she's ready" and "don't punish about potty issues". The problem is that she is taking off her own diaper...often! Not just getting poop on the couch but on her hands and clothes. Taking the diaper off after she's in bed for the night or at nap time and peeing all over the bed at night. She understands the potty and will sit on it (occasionally) but has yet to do anything in it. I tried stickers...worked for a few days. She knows she'll get a sucker if she'll pee...but again doesn't care. I tried putting her in underwear...could care less that they were wet. I just don't know how to tackle this. On top of all that...my six month old has yet to sleep through the night...so I'm probably not the most patient mom on some days. Thank you for any ideas you may have.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

If she is showing no interest, you might consider taping the diaper on with packing tape. I've done it and it bought me some sanity.

Hi L., I suggest buying the tightest panties you can find and putting them on over her diaper. This will get her used to wearing them and will also make it hard for her to get her diaper off! Some other suggestions are putting her in a onesie or putting her pajamas on backwards so she can't unbutton or unzip them.

2 1/2 is PLENTY old enough to potty train. The older a child is when you potty train, the more resistant they can (and often do) become. I think the disposable diaper companies have managed to sell American moms a bill of goods about being "ready" in order to sell more diapers. A lot of moms that wait end up totally frustrated.

All you have to do is take away the diapers AND the pull ups. Buy her some pretty undies, and tell her she is a big girl and look what she gets to wear. Don't give in if she is resistant. If you can't get her to poop on the potty (it happens pretty frequently), stay at home for a few days and have her go bare bottomed, even to bed. Don't allow her to wear anything on her bottom until she has pooped on the potty (usually, as soon as they get ANY piece of clothing on, they will poop). You don't get mad, and you don't offer bribes. You must be consistent, firm, and offer lots of praise. Good luck!

More Answers

Hello L.,

I agree and disagree with some of the responses that you have received. I will say this. I am a 26 year old working mother of a 3 yr old and an 11 month old. When I was potty training my oldest daughter, my youngest daughter was not sleeping through the night as well. I was tired, cranky, and often cried. However, after praying one night, I realized that I needed to get over myself and focus on gaining control of the situation. (For my own sanity! lol) Please consider my advice:

1. Loose the diaper!-
At this point she should be alternating between pull-ups and panties.

2. Create a Potty Pattern-
Allow your daughter to try and potty at least every two hours, and certainly after drinking. There should be no side talk about anything else other than potty time.
Ex:
Mommy 'Let's go Potty!'
Child 'Mommy, look at my belly button!!!'
Mommy 'It is Potty time right now. Let's go! I'll race you!'

Also, take her to the potty in the middle of the night. Whenever my youngest would wake me up, I would make my husband get my oldest daughter and go to the potty. EVERY NIGHT!! lol

3. Make Potty Time Worth While-
Allow your daughter to turn the light on/off. Does she have her own soap to wash her hands, and her own towel to dry them? Do you have a Potty song? Book? Hand Puppet?

4. Rewards-
Have potty snacks that sit out on the counter. If Potty Time was sucessful, allow her to choose her reward. Special Activity time...Paint, Playdough, Baking, Movie...

5. Consequences for Accidents/Tantrums/Lazy Behavior-
Be confident! Say what you mean and mean what you say. You are smarter than your 2 1/2yr old!!! lol Understand that a lot of that behavior is due to it being allowed, her not knowing how to express herself and needing guidance. Match everything with her age. Corner time (2 1/2 mins), Taking toys and tv away (2 1/2 days), No juice or special snacks (2 1/2 days)... Always remind her why.

Ex:
Mom 'You can not have juice today, you know why not?
You TeeTeed all over your clothes and that's a BIG no-no. Mommy had to wash them because they were all dirty. So, no juice for you today. Maybe tomorrow if you can show Mommy you can go to the Potty like a BIG GIRL.' 'Can you go to the Potty? Let me see if you can do it!'

I know this is alot of information, and I hope you try some of it. It is a lot of work, but it will pay off. I believe in offering children the understanding of guidance...not forcing them to guide a certain way because that is the way it's suppose to be...lol Not only am I a mother, but I'm also a Pre School Teacher. Good Luck to you. You sound like a wonderful mother! Keep up the good work!

2 moms found this helpful

I am so sorry to hear about your frustrating situation. I have yet to have to tackle this problem with my own son. I have read other posts in the past about the diaper removal during naps and bedtime and some moms said they were not above duct-taping the diaper on during those times. Personally, I would not hesitate! :) Good luck, L.!!

1 mom found this helpful

I am with you!! For the longest time I thought my daughter would never get it. She just turned 3 and still will not poop in the potty, but she will pee in the potty. It is like you said "she doesn't care". The only thing that has remotely worked for us was a picture chart that we put stickers on. The routine was to pee and poop in the potty (worth two stickers), wash her hands (1 sticker) & put away stool and potty seat (1 sticker) then she coul dhave a sticker. I have a friend that is a teacher and she told me that small children respond well to "picture charts". My daughter did...it was a lot to keep up with, we don't really use it anymore, but she has kept up with the routine, for the most part. She no longer uses a potty seat and she still won't poop on the potty. Just come up with a routine you want to teach her and be as diligent with it as you can, if you have any help, see if someone can help you enforce this routine.

Hi L., I suggest buying the tightest panties you can find and putting them on over her diaper. This will get her used to wearing them and will also make it hard for her to get her diaper off! Some other suggestions are putting her in a onesie or putting her pajamas on backwards so she can't unbutton or unzip them.

The best advice that I was given, was to say goodbye to the diaper...completely, and to not force her to go every 30 min to an hour. My daughter started showing interest in the potty around 14 months. By 16 months she had gone pretty frequently on the potty. Then, one Monday morning, we sat her down and told her that her diapers went bye bye. That all she had now were her big girl panties, and that she needed to let me or daddy know when she had to Titi or Ewwey(what she calls poop...still :) Now the key is, not to remind them of what they need to do. She will know when she needs to go, and that is something that she needs to learn and pattern for herself. With doing it this way...we have achieved success!! The first day and a half were the hardest...lots of undies washing! But she was completely potty trained in a weeks time!! I hope that this helps you out!

oh L., I feel your pain. I went through this with my 2 1/2 yr old daughter as well. And I got even more frustrated when I heard all the success stories of potty training in a week. Or how someone said the first couple of days were a nightmare.. hahahha, my nightmare lasted 3 or 4 months!!! so.... My daughter would do the same as yours. She wouldn't care about being wet. She was smart enough to "clean" the mess when she did a poo. We tried M&M's, stickers, etc.... what finally worked was playdough, but I honestly think it was time more than the reward. My best advice is hang in there. She now goes even by herself, doesn't even let me know. She is very independent, so I guess she wanted to tackle this one on her own. It is hard on you, your wit and you christianity, but it will happen, I promise.

When you first (potty train)you arer training yourself for about two weeks. You have to take them to potty every two hours or so, and espically when it is time of day they go poop usually, then of course brag if they go and the stickers are a good idea, and telling her she is a big girl. I assume she is dry for two hours at a time or her bladder isn't ready and you'll be waisting your time. As for the baby, have you tried rice cereal in a bottle for the last feeding of a night, that got my daughter to sleep all night.

Hi L.,

I don't have any really great advise, but wanted you to know that I am in the same boat as you. Does it make you feel any better that you are not alone in your struggle??? My son is 3 and doing the same thing you describe. He also could care less about rewards or if his "big boy undies" are wet or soiled. I am very anxious to hear what advise you are given. I can tell you that we are currently trying the "potty clock" approach. I got a cheap kitchen timer and set it for every 30 minutes. When the bell goes off we do a dance and race to the potty. The first and second day he thought it was fun and would do it. As day three and four have progressed he is less and less interested. Not sure what to do either. Taking him to the potty so frequently is VERY hard, but it has allowed him to do a pee pee in the potty a few times just by shear necessity (in the right place at the right time approach!)

Good Luck to you!

Our daughter, now almost 15, did this same thing. It was very frustrating! What we did that helped a lot was put her diaper on backwards and then duct taped the tabs so she couldn't take it off. We didn't get angry, but just explained to her that she could not take her diaper off. If it was wet or dirty she needed to come to us and we would take care of her. Wearing the diaper backwards was definitely uncomfortable and it didn't take long for her to realize that she was not going to win this battle.
We've always told our children that in matters of the will, we will ALWAYS win. It's because we love them and want what's best for them and when we(Mom and Dad)win, EVERYONE WINS. When they win, NOBODY wins.
Don't stress about the situation-keep a sense of humor and remember that you're the mommy and you know what's best for your child, not the other way around.

Best Regards,
D. L.

Taking off the diaper is a stage most toddlers go through... I suggest putting her in onesies. for my boys, they slept in onesies and jeans that were put on backwards. (they usually cant get them off that way) she is really too young it sounds like and is not ready to potty train. just keep up your efforts, she will get it soon but in the mean time, at night she should sleep in onesies and backwards jeans. :o)

Hope that helps
A. J

If she is showing no interest, you might consider taping the diaper on with packing tape. I've done it and it bought me some sanity.

I agree. My first thought was tape (either duct tape or packaging tape). It's definitely a control issue if she's peeing all over things. And, who said don't punish for peeing or pooping all over her bed or other furniture. I think the no punishing rule applies to children who wet or mess themselves while potty training. If she's not potty training, then she has to learn to keep her diaper on.

My coworker swears by a book called either "Toilet Training in less than a day" or "potty train your child in just one day" (I can't remember which). She used it on both her daughters more than 20 years ago. She said it did take 2 and 3 days respectively for her two daughters, but it worked great. You might try that and see if she really is ready.

Sorry if this is a duplicate...

With the stickers, if you haven't already, try using a "chart" and have some sort of "prize" at the end - a bath toy, book, doll, etc. - that your daughter can turn her chart in for once it is full. I did this with potty training and getting rid of the pacifier and it worked both times. Obviously every child is different, so it may not work for you, but I wanted to share it. We left the "prize" in a visible place so she'd see it, but couldn't play with it and we'd remind her that once her chart was full, she could have it. Good luck!

YIKES!!! That sounds tough, my sympathy is with you. I agree w/the onesie idea and you might even consider a call to your pediatrician's office for addtl. advice. Perhaps there could be something to her adjustment phase with a new brother, but others posting about control might be the case, too. For what it might be worth, I used that book about Potty Training in a Day, and unfortuantely, it was a lot of work with results that lasted all of about six hours. But maybe you'd have better luck....
J.

I feel your pain! I have a 10 week old and a 21 month old!! Have you tried putting her in the pullups? I know my toddler really has not grasped pulling those off yet. The tabs are pretty easy to pull off for toddlers on those diapers. I have just started potty 101 with my toddler. I may be posting about potty training in a few months :)

I agree with encouraging kids to use the potty, but not forcing them. If they aren't ready then they aren't ready. I would put panties on over her diaper or tape it or whatever you have to do to keep her from taking it off and making a mess. If she complains then tell her she can just wear panties if she will sit on the toilet and use it. Good luck. My son was very stubborn and wasn't trained until 4!

First of all, have you taken her to the doctor to make sure there's not any physical issues? If you have, then I have a feeling that she needs undivided "mommy" attention. If you have a 6 mo. old that is taking all your time she's using any way she can to either get attention or entertain herself. Try finding a baby sitter for your son and taking your daughter out to somewhere that she would think is awesome and fun, just the two of you. Make a really big deal about it and then tell all of your friends in front of her bother before you go and after you went and tell how much fun you had.

Good Luck!

2 1/2 is PLENTY old enough to potty train. The older a child is when you potty train, the more resistant they can (and often do) become. I think the disposable diaper companies have managed to sell American moms a bill of goods about being "ready" in order to sell more diapers. A lot of moms that wait end up totally frustrated.

All you have to do is take away the diapers AND the pull ups. Buy her some pretty undies, and tell her she is a big girl and look what she gets to wear. Don't give in if she is resistant. If you can't get her to poop on the potty (it happens pretty frequently), stay at home for a few days and have her go bare bottomed, even to bed. Don't allow her to wear anything on her bottom until she has pooped on the potty (usually, as soon as they get ANY piece of clothing on, they will poop). You don't get mad, and you don't offer bribes. You must be consistent, firm, and offer lots of praise. Good luck!

you sound like i did a few months ago...potty training my 2 1/2 year old and not sleeping with a 6 month old! i told my daughter if she filled a row of stickers on her potty chart, she could get a new toy. she could tell me what she had to do, but then never did it. she walked around in wet underwear not caring at all.
what finally helped me was when a friend suggested a potty party. we got her son and my daughter together and spent the whole day focusing on the potty. we had potty videos and make a super huge deal out of them using the potty. we put them on the potty every half an hour or so. we had all kinds of treats that they liked and made sure to give them tons to drink.
they still had some accidents, but it laid a good foundation.
every child is different, so it might not work, but it might be worth a shot.

My son has been somewhat difficult to potty train as well. Sticker charts help for him. I do notice that when he is feeling stressed out or like he is not getting enough attention he will revert and not use the potty. For example, when he swiched classes at daycare there was about a week and a half where he refused to use the potty. Now that he is settled in and using the sticker chart again he is doing great and having few to no accidents. He also liked picking out his own underwear. Maybe just you and your daughter go to the store together and pick them out. My son responded well to that because it made him feel grown up and special and I told him he was an official big boy now. Good luck - she will learn evetually. I understand about the no sleep - my youngest didn't sleep through the night until 8 months and it does make you a little less pulled together to go without sleep for so long. Hang in there :)

maybe the reason she wont stay in the diaper is it hurts? Have you tried pull-ups? The next best thing is heavy cloth training pants with plastic pants over them. Make sure she doesn't have an infection of some sort before you get too frustrated. Maybe spending some time with other kids who do use the potty will motivate her? Get some rest and remember she wont wear diapers to Kindergarten!

Give your six month old baby cereal before bed time/last feeding.

Potty training... um? Give her some gold fish to drop in the toliet and pretend to "water" them.

you could put a onesie on her...that would keep her from taking the diaper off when you didn't want it off. i had a friend who had to do this until her daughter was 3, b/c she would go potty in the diaper, then pull it off and make a mess all over the house. Hope this helps.

I've heard that duct tape can hold on her diaper if she's not ready to potty train yet. For the 6 month old...try reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It was a life saver for me. Don't be offended by others remarks about "parents these days". I am not a push-over parent and my son was fully potty trained before he turned 3...both things and very rarely had an accident (only pee once or twice, never a bowel movement accident) and it was very easy. You just need to find out what movtivates her. good luck

duct tape around the diaper and make sure she has shorts or pants on when going to bed.

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