19 answers

Potty Training Almost 3 Year Old, Need Help!!!

i am looking for a program for potty training my almost 3 year old little girl. i have conceded i really don't know what i'm doing. She gets really excited with me when she does use the potty, at which time i offer a ton of praise, a happy dance, and a reward ;) i'm starting to wonder though if i can't employ discipline when she simply opts out??? she is very smart, and aware enough what the expectations are.
timer? sticker chart? fruit snack? fine, but i told her this morning that i would start taking away the little toys that she cares about when she peepees on the princess (her pull up's have disney princesses on them) and isn't following my instructions to use the potty... is this ok?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

wow thank you all for the responses! just knowing i'm not alone in motherhood is really great!!! so i recentered myself, took the advice not to consequence, and upped the ante in terms of reward. i've hung a long cinderella canopy from the ceiling that makes a circle of gauzy curtain around the potty chair area. fun! i stripped off the pull-up and set her on the potty. when she went, i rewarded her with ice cream (those bite sized Dibs) along with the happy dance and praise. she went the whole day like this. first i would remind her to sit, then at on point she asked me for a pull up(!) and i took her to the potty, then she started to head to the potty on her own and inform me afterward to recieve her praise and reward. she slept the night without a pull-up and had NO accident! woke up in the morning and went to the potty, then let me know! I was so thrilled :) i know this will have ups and downs ...but down with pull-ups lol

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My daughter is almost 3, so I know where you are coming from. Pull-ups don't work. Strip her down and let her run around naked. She may have a few messes on the floor, but she can help clean those up. Once she starts using the potty, give her real panties. I was leary of trying this myself, but after 10 months of pull-ups and the occasional use of the potty, I was getting desperate. It took 3 days of wearing nothing on bottom and she was done.

I wouldn't punish or discipline her, or take things away because that will add a negative vibe to what you're trying to accomplish. Kids this age get too busy with toys and games and they need to be reminded. Don't think of it as opting out- she's just wrapped up in the wonder and amazement of being 3!!! Just keep doing what you're doing. Remind her A LOT about going potty. I'm potty training my 3rd daughter right now and they're all different. I've never used stickers or anything else. Just constant reminding and LOTS of praise! One child will get it within a month- others will take what seems like forever. Just be patient and let her come to it on her own.

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I have boys, not girls......but....... don't push her at all... she will fully do it when she is ready.....my youngest caught on a month after he turned 3 and his brother did a couple months before his 3rd birthday......some fully do it before they turn two, others can be close to four

with my now 4 year old he was naked from the waist down around the house for a couple days and caught on soo quick...... my 3 yo couldn't stand having his clothes off, but he just started using the potty on his own

1 mom found this helpful

I realize that I'm late responding to this question... but what I did, worked within about two days.

I started out with the pull-ups, but those feel so much like diapers that they're USED to "messing up" in them.

I went to the store and had her pick out the theme panties that she liked the most. Then, I made a big deal about her wearing them, reminding her how comfortable they were in comparison to diapers. I then begin first thing in the morning, sitting her on her potty and waiting until she did her business... then, every hour, on the hour, I sat her down again. She went every single time, and each time I reminded her about how cozy panties feel.

I also set up a little chart, just to make it fun... each time she used her potty, she got a sticker to place in the square. The little chart was hung on a wall so that she could track her achievements. This seriously worked for me immediately. She had a couple accidents where she let a couple of drops come out once I wasn't doing the "every hour" thing, but all in all she did great fast.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there! I recently went ot a potty training seminar, and they said to ditch the pullups--just go cold turkey in underware--they will be uncomfortable when they go in their underwear and they will learn. It took my daughter a couple weeks, and we had a lot of accidents, but she is now trauined--don;t think she ever would have been in the pullups...also said it was okay to remind them/make them go in the beginning. I don't know if it is right or not, but when my daughter refuses to go potty, she has to be in her room until she decides to go. When she has an accident, she has to sit on the potty after anyways, and if she refuses, same thing--she has to spend time in ehr room until she decides to go. She has never had to hang out in her room for more than a minute or so before she runs in and sits on the potty. May not be right, but works!

Good luck--it is a fristrating process, but once you get her in underwear, don't go back, except for nighttime and nap!

B.

Try using real underware. It is a bit more messy for you, but the kids don't like the feeling, and can actually feel when they do have and accident, unlike the pull ups which are more like a diaper. We use pull ups only for night, or to church when we can't afford an accident. We are potty training our son now. Good luck to you!!

As soon as you employ discipline you make this a power struggle and you do NOT want that. Avoid it at all costs. Keep up with the positives, though.

And get her out of pull ups. They offer no discomfort. There are plenty of reusable training pants that she can use to feel wet. Pull ups are just like disposable diapers and do not offer real world consequences for "accidents." Get her in cloth. Or in panties and be OK with cleaning up messes. They are normal and go along with parenting in general!

This is one situation you should not punish for. Any negatives will prolong and change her will to potty train. There is a lot of information on the internet and in books about this. It sounds like she is definately ready since she is willing to do it - maybe she wants to copy her big sister. Praise the times she wants to and if she goes in her pull up, let her know that is O.K. Stickers work well for some kids - it did for my kids. Everytime she drinks some liquid, time for 20 minutes afterwards and take her to the potty to use it. There is a potty DVD that I used for my daughter and she liked that also. Parents cannot force this milestone or you can change the course. Relax and let her decide. Good luck.

Hi K.. I haven't looked at the other responses, so sorry if this is a repeat of any of them. My advice to you is do not turn potty training into a power struggle. It's one you're not going to win. So I wouldn't recommend punishment for not using the potty. A good method that worked like a charm with my son is using regular underpants instead of pullups. Pullups feel too much like a diaper. It's a little less convenient, and you have to resign yourself to being home-bound for a few days, but it can be worth it! Going potty in regular underpants makes them uncomfortable and most kids don't like they way that wet pants feel. My son was just over 2 when I potty trained him, and he was pretty much done in about 3 days. Ultimately, she has to decide she wants to do it. Maybe take her to Target and let her pick out some pretty panties and stress that they are big girl panties, and we don't pee pee in big girl panties. She'll get there. good luck!

I second what Dawn said. I had my daughter potty trained at 22 months. I simply told her she's a big girl now and to let me know when she needed to go and I put the cotton undies on her. She had a couple of accidents but she got the point right away. The pull ups don't really work because they're like a diaper and absorb the wetness. I just say keep it simple and praise her when she goes. Also, we used the little potty that goes right on top of your toilet. Good luck!

My sister's friend used this book: "Toilet Training in Less Than A Day" (you can find in on Amazon . com) It worked in one day! I think the premise is that you put the potty chair in a public area (like the kitchen) and make the potty and open and accepting thing rather than taboo and hidden so the child isn't scared. (then transitions back to bathroom) Anyway, good luck and I hope this works for you! Let me know as I will be heading down this path soon with my little girl as well.
Thanks!

Hi K., I had this same question with my boy. He turned three in november. He has an older brother and could care less about peeing in the potty. He goes when he wants to go so I know he isn't scared of it. And I too have tried all types of rewards. In the back of my mind I keep thinking he just isn't ready. His brother trained at 2 1/2 in one day! So I know some of the things I do are right. I just think they are different kids and different situations. I had been trying to train him over the christmas break but it still isn't working. My peditrician gave me another idea from another mom. She would put the underwear on and then a diaper over it. That way if they pee the diaper will still catch the wetness and you won't have a ruined carpet but the underwear will get rather an icky feeling to it. Maybe then she might respond to you. My boy however would still sit in it all day! Good luck. And just know that if you decide to wait because she isn't ready, you aren't alone. I am one of those moms who belongs to both clubs (the one who potty trains way ahead of time easily and the one who will probably be 4 before he does :) and both are fine!) Do what's best for her!

My daughter is almost 3, so I know where you are coming from. Pull-ups don't work. Strip her down and let her run around naked. She may have a few messes on the floor, but she can help clean those up. Once she starts using the potty, give her real panties. I was leary of trying this myself, but after 10 months of pull-ups and the occasional use of the potty, I was getting desperate. It took 3 days of wearing nothing on bottom and she was done.

Hi, K. -
I'm sure there are plenty of books out there that might offer some assistance. It took me one full year to train my daughter. We started at just under two, and finished at three. Then my twins were born, she regressed, and we practically had to start over from the beginning. Try not to lose patience, and I have heard and read that discipline should not be used. If you turn this into a power struggle, you will lose. If you think about it, this is something she has COMPLETE control of. I started off with hand-stamps and happy dances, too, but had to break out the heavy artillery. It wasn't until I started giving her candy as a reward that we actually made any progress. She's 4-1/2 now and still calls M&Ms "pee-pee candy".
None of this may help you, but I just wanted to encourage you. She'll get it soon. Don't despair!

My daughter turned 2 on July 29th and she is completely potty trained. I would recommend using Lora Jensen's 3 day potty training method.( www.3daypottytraining.com )She says 22 months is the perfect age and that any kid can be potty trained at that age. I know many girls my daughter's age that are potty trained already because of this method. That being said, you have to do what works for you...but from what you say I think your daughter is plenty ready and you're ready to have this over and done with. Since you are already doing training, you'll have to stop for 30 days and then do the 3 day method because they need to get "reprogrammed". Basically, you toss out the diapers (pull-ups in your case) and go straight to panties day and night. You stick with her for 3 days straight and just tell her "tell mommy when you have to go potty" all day long and rush her to the potty any time she starts to have an accident.

All the positive stuff you're already doing is great. And since she is older the stuff about a sticker chart will probably work. Of course with ANY method you still have to remind them to go before you leave the house or get somewhere, but that's normal. I would say after about 2 months I really didn't have to remind her much at all except if we're going for a long drive or will be somewhere not close to a bathroom all the time.

And I know I was there at a point because the whole process wears you down and is frustrating at times, but the negative really backfires! My daughter went through this little phase where she would pee on purpose when she got mad at us or didn't get her way. YIKES! She was trying to prove that she was in control. Glad that's over.

Good luck!

I'm currently potty training my 18 month old little girl and my recommendations would be to one, get rid of the pull ups. They can't really feel when they start to go in those and that could be part of the problem. They are glorified diapers. I bought actual Gerber training pants that have a thicker crotch and then I put rubber pants over them in between which I put a cheap thin sanitary pad to absorb when there are accidents. It's also my understanding that you should never shame them into going potty. It will just create more defiance. We're using M&M's as our motivator combined with putting special Elmo heads on her bedroom door when she goes in the potty. I got them at Dollar tree. Hope that helps!

What worked best for us was advice from Mrs. Mary from The Parent Connection here in Tucson. Set aside a 3 (consecutive) day period and have the child go without pull-ups or underwear. If possible, don't plan any playdates or outings during this time so you can be at home. She said for many families, ours included, the underwear sensation is too similar to a diaper for a child to tell the difference. It worked like a charm for us!

We had the pergo floors, so any accidents were easily dealt with. We got a shower curtain from the dollar store and put down easily washable toys. Same for sleep and naptime. Have the child sleep, without anything on their bottom half, on a good waterproof pad or shower curtain covered with a towel. The idea always is for them to feel the wet. During the day, offer the potty about every 20-30 min.

With the reward system, we used a collective approach. If our daughter got 5 stars in the day, she got a prize. We didn't take any away as she'd already used the potty properly for those. We put them on a chart that she could add the stars herself. Like a path with stepping stones for stars. After the 5th star was a box /picture of her reward so she could see how she was doing towards her reward.

Best of luck. Try to stay patient and positive.

I had a horrible time with my son. He was almost 3 1/2, and the preschool I was sending him to had a recommendation - they told me to put regular underwear on him, and send LOTS of extra underwear and pants for the day (I think I sent 4 extras a day). She told me that they feel the difference between going in pullups and going in underwear, and it always works for them. Well, what do you know! It worked within 4 days! Hooray!!
Of course, you have to have someone with your child during the day that is willing to do lots of clean up. =)
It was the best potty training advice I ever received. Within a full week the accidents completely stopped!
Good luck!

I wouldn't punish or discipline her, or take things away because that will add a negative vibe to what you're trying to accomplish. Kids this age get too busy with toys and games and they need to be reminded. Don't think of it as opting out- she's just wrapped up in the wonder and amazement of being 3!!! Just keep doing what you're doing. Remind her A LOT about going potty. I'm potty training my 3rd daughter right now and they're all different. I've never used stickers or anything else. Just constant reminding and LOTS of praise! One child will get it within a month- others will take what seems like forever. Just be patient and let her come to it on her own.

I definitely wouldn't discipline her for not using the potty. As someone else mentioned, it will become a battle. Plus she may then start holding her urine/stool and then you will have a whole new set of problems on your hands..UTI's, constipation, etc.
My oldest daughter didn't potty train until a few months past her 3rd birthday and when she finally did, it only took 1 weekend. I put her in regular panties and she had 2 accidents the whole weekend I think.

Hi, I’m a parent educator and this is one of the top questions I’m asked, so here goes.

A three year old is still using immature reasoning. And they can misinterpret getting in trouble or not cooperating as another form of getting attention. It doesn’t make them spoiled or wrong, it’s just as far as their brain development has advanced at three.

This is especially true when a parent has a vested interest in seeing something happen, like potty training, sleeping, or eating. I go into how and why this happens, how a child applies this during the toddler and preschool years and how to change it, in every one of my online seminars. You can find them at: www.proavtiveparenting.net.

For your purposes you need to know that there are only 4 things a 3 yr old can be totally in charge of. When and if she will go potty, if she will eat, how fast she will go and when and if she will sleep. These are the power points of the preschool developmental stages.

Even when you take toys away a child can still learn that she has power to get what she wants in a situation, which is you and your attention. She can decide, after having toys taken away a few times, that no matter what toys you take away from me that’s not enough of a reason to go potty or eat what you want me to eat or to be separated at bedtime. To correct this parents need to flip this on its head.

My suggestion is that you take any punishment (removal of toys) and rewards (candy) out of the equation and treat going potty as a normal thing that all people do, which is true. And tell her, “It’s okay that you aren’t peeing in the potty. That from now on instead of mommy getting mad when you have an accident I’ll just put you back in diapers for right now. And when (being positive here) you go pee in the potty each time the timer goes off for 1 week then and only then will I take the diapers off.”

If you really release your interest in seeing her succeed with potty training, for the moment, it will shift the power and control. She will come to see that in order to gain power and attention she needs to be successful at potty training. She’ll also see that not going potty is no longer a place where she gets extra attention or power.

Try making potty training as bland and routine as eating and it will be much easier. When she has an accident, simply say “no worries, we’ll put you in a diaper and when you’ve gone without too many accidents in 1 week, we will take the diapers off and see what you can do.” No more bribes, no more please do it for mommy and things like that. I’m not saying you say any of that, but as an educator I’m always also writing for everyone who’s reading this as well.

Most children when the pressure is removed, if they are really ready, just begin going potty all on their own. It’s the extreme interest a parent has in seeing success with potty training that creates the resistance in a child.

Like I mentioned above, of course you can set a schedule to help her if needed. Get a timer and have her go once every hour. Take the diaper off and have her go. If she isn’t interested, or she has a tantrum, just keep the diaper on and try again in a day or so.
I hope this helps. If you have any more questions email me at ____@____.com

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