16 answers

How Can I Get My Daughter to Tell Me She Has to Use the Potty?

Whenever I ask her she always, always says no. Then I will put her on the potty and she will go. Not that she's holding it, she just happens to go, or she doesn't at all. She has no problem sitting on the potty. She just won't let me know when she has to use it. Me and her dad work during the week so I train her at night and on the weekends. I asked her daycare to help with it but they are just asking her, and that doesn't work. We have backed off and decided to wait a little longer, but we are having the same result. She will be three in December, when the next baby is due.

Can someone please give me a few tips on how to get her to tell me? Here are some of the things we have been doing. She does get rewarded when she does go. We make a huge deal out of it. I let her wear panties (most times she'll just take them off though). I take her to the potty every 45 minutes or so. At daycare she wears a diaper.

She just doesn't associate the urge with going to the potty.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well it turned out that the diapers were the culprit. After I stopped using them she started using the potty in daycare at home, everything. I guess it's true, if they have a diaper on they're going to go in it! Thanks for all your answers.

Featured Answers

Children get mixed messages when they wear both undies and diapers. See if the daycare will allow her to wear panties.
Put a few in a bag just in case of an accident. When she wears her big girl panties she might not want to wet them in front of the other children.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi T.,
I had a horrible time training my oldest. She was four years old before she could hold it. But she still wouldn't tell me when she had to use the potty. We would just put her on the potty every so often and she would go. Finally, we put her in underwear and eventually she figured it out on her own. But I would say it took a good four or five months. I really don't think you can force it. After a lot of arguing and tears from my daughter, my husband and me, she just finally got it one day - like it clicked. I wish you the best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear Tamika,
You cannot expect your daughter to tell you when she needs to use the potty. Most likely, she herself has not related the feeling of having to go with the potty. She is busy just being a kid. Remember that you are in charge, you know what is best. Put her on the potty at the same time every day and you will have success, no questions asked.
This is only the first in a long senario of times in which you need to be charge of the situation. Especially with young children, you cannot offer them a choice, but rather put it in the affirmative. For example, "Let's sit on the potty." Their only answer can only be "Yes". It sounds like you're giving them a choice, but actually not.
Just remember, phrase your questions so that they can only answer in the affirmative. As they get older, you can begin giving them more choices, but still have the upper hand. They will respect you in the long run.
Good luck, W.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,
This is how I potty trained my daughter (she was 2 1/2 at the time): I put her in underwear all day long. At first there were a lot of puddles to be cleaned up, but pretty soon she started to realize what was going on and she would start to pee, but then catch herself and start to hold it (smaller puddles) and eventually her muscles became stronger and she began to realize what the urge was. We did this every day all day, and I think the whole process took about a week, maybe two (which is not to say we didn't have accidents after that, but by that time she was understanding what we were trying to do).

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Children get mixed messages when they wear both undies and diapers. See if the daycare will allow her to wear panties.
Put a few in a bag just in case of an accident. When she wears her big girl panties she might not want to wet them in front of the other children.

1 mom found this helpful

Ditch diapers entirely.
In the beginning you don't ask her. Take her to the potty about 15-20 minutes after she eats or drinks (you may want to observe her for a few days to figure out the timing before ditching diapers).
Keep up the rewards system. Reward everyone in the household everytime anyone potties.
After a while, she'll let you know. But in the beginning you need to do the thinking for her. It can take a week or it can take 6 months. Just be consistent.
I don't know how you work it out with day care. Perhaps just inform them of how you are training and ask them to hop on board.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Time for a new daycare, Your daycare provider should be working with you on this issue. Also be prepared for regression in the potty training when you make a change in her life ie: a new daycare and/or the birth of her new sibling. I used a calendar and a chart to let her see how she progressed during the day if by the end of the day she asked to use the potty and went or had no accidents we put a sticker on the calendar and at the end of the week if all of the days had stickers we went to buy her something special.

1 mom found this helpful

honestly, i would just keep doing it with "telling" rather than "asking". my daughter was the same way, at 3 1/2 she will still occasionally will have an accident if playing. i think they just are so wrapped up in whatever is going on at that moment, they just do want to stop for the few minutes to go.

what helped way back was to set a timer on the stove. i told her when it went offshe had to go. quite quickly, she would hear it, and go all by herself. now, i dont use a timer, and she does go all on her own. but i still keep track and ask if she has to go if i think its been too long. she usually says no. then 5 minutes later i tell her she has to go. i think that gives her the oppurtunity to do it on her own, but also avoids accidents.

i think what you are doing is great!!! the rewards thing i think is good but make sure they are very simple. but dont make a huge deal of it. you dont want her to ever use it for attention since she knows how much it means to you, or to test you. just say im happy you went to the potty, and give her the reward. have different rewards for if she goes on her own, and special special rewards for #2.

the only thing i would suggest is getting daycare on board. many daycares i know of take the kids every () minutes. they dont ask because what kid would want to stop playing to go pee? im sure they just dont want accidents. maybe you could go to target to get those gerber training pants. they are like panties, just thicker. if she wets, they will get wet, but they absorb it enough so it doesnt drip down her leg. she will still need a change of clothes, but it wont be as bad. she just might get confused doing different things. good luck, sounds like you guys are doing great!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Be consistent.
I just finished potty training my third child. She was by far the easiest. Put her on the toilet every hour or so. Its not not she is trying to cause you problems. At that age the 2 yrs its still young. My daughter is 2 yrs and she did great with potty training but she didn't tell me either until about a month into the potty training. She usually tells me she has to poop. Its usually pee.

Anyhow with you being consistently putting her on the toilet. She will start to realize to tell before she goes in her pants. Good luck. D.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,
I know they sell potty watches for kids that you can set to 30, 60, or 90 minutes. At the appointed time the watch timer will go off and the child knows it is time to go sit on the potty. Maybe this would help your daughter, especially at daycare.

1 mom found this helpful

keep a journal or running tally...when you take her and she goes record the time...you will see a pattern. Also limit liquids to meals and snack time(no running around with a water cup). My son has to pee every morning around 10...by 1030 it's too late and there's a mess to clean up...so our routine is wake up...go potty...eat breakfast and play... at 10 go potty... eat lunch... go potty...nap...wake up...go potty...and so forth...kids are little creatures of habit...and even when I make him go potty before we leave the house to run errands if I'm still at Target at 10 we are going potty there...as for the diaper thing if you are at home let her run around w/o one (and if she takes off the panties that's fine too)instead of taking her to the potty so often let her wet herself so she can associate the feeling with the wetness(she can play outside with just shorts on)she'll get it once she's wet all over a couple of times, just don't get mad and have lots of spare clothes ready...I know they make those cool sensation pull ups that may help for daycare...Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have a ton of time to reply, but I just read "diaper free before 3" and I totally suggest it. The author says that you should making sitting on the potty part of your routine. Don't ask them if they need to go, just tell that that before nap, after snack, before going out to play, etc... it is time to sit on the potty. They don't have to go, they should just know that that is the time to sit on the potty and if they go then they go. Read books, have special potty toys...make potty time fun. Just like we don't ask if they want to brush their teeth, we don't need to ask if they need to go to the potty... Maybe later on down the road, but not at the start of potty learning. I got the book from the lirbrary and it was very helpful.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is mostly the same way, except with #2 he tells me. But for pee he seems less in touch with his urges. The only time he tells me is if he has recently watched "Elmo's Potty Time" video. For some reason, the part about "I have the feeling" really stuck with him, and he'll tell me "I have the feeling". My only other suggestion is to try sign language. Maybe she's shy about saying it? I'm trying to implement that with him.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.. Typically telling you that she needs to use the toilet is the LAST step in the training process, not an early step. My suggestion is to take her to the bathroom at regular intervals. Do not ask her if she needs to go. Do not make it a choice, just take her. Eventually she will tell you, butit may not be for several months. I don't believe in rewarding for using the toilet or other expected behavior. It tells them that using the toilet is something they can do (or opt not to do) to please you, rather than something they have to do and should want to do for themselves.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,

I JUST potty trained my 2 1/2 year old girl last week. I downloaded a book from thepottytrainer.com. The biggest thing I got from it was to set a timer for every 20 minutes and make a big deal out of it and announce "it's potty time." It got to where she would say it with me every time she heard it. I started on a Thursday and we strictly put panties on her during the day (except for naptime). I put her on every 20 minutes, sometimes kicking and screaming, and made her stay for at least 5 minutes. If she didn't go that time, then I shortened the time on the potty timer and we went the next time after 10 or 15 minutes. The biggest thing is though, that I worked her up for about a month before saying things like "when we get back from vacation, no more diapers!" And eventually she would finish the sentence for me. I even got others to say it to her so she got more and more excited. It's a little over a week since we started and she has only had one accident in that week and most mornings she wakes up dry (I try not to feed her dinner too late these days).

Hope that helps! You might need to take off a few days to really devote to it, but relax, and it will happen!

Hi T., Your daughter may not be ready. It is good that she goes when you put her on the potty but at this point it is you that is "trained" Getting the message from her brain is also a very important step to potty training and this is a maturity issue. You can keep working with her and hopefully the second half will develop soon. My best, Grandma Mary

Hello T.,

I also have a two year old girl with a birthday in december! I am going through similar issues with her (although last week she did finally have an "ah - hah" moment and has been using the potty faithfully since - knock on wood!). I, too, was placing her on the potty every hour or so, but what turned out to be really helpful for her was to not do that. I kinda gave up out of frustration one day. I allowed my daughter to continue wearing undies but I didn't question her about using the potty. After a couple days of peeing and pooping on herself she finally made the urge/potty connection. I don't think she would have made this connection had I continued to intercede every hour. It sounds disgusting but it worked for my tyke. She is now going on day nine in undies and she is telling me everytime she feels the urge to go.

Another thing that has helped (albeit equally disgusting!) is carrying a potty in the car (or trunk). Whenever she has the urge to go we just have to pull over!

Good luck!

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