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.
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.

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!

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