61 answers

Potty Training My 2 Year Old

i have a head-strong 30 month old daughter who we are trying to potty train. we've been trying on and off for about 6 months now, but to no avail. she really resists the whole thing. we try to tell her that she's a big girl and that big girls use the potty and she says she's a baby and cries when we try to put her on the potty. i don't force her and many times it turns into a negotiation to even sit on the potty. then, as soon as she's off the potty and her pull-ups are back on, she'll do her business. it's getting a little frustrating and she's almost outgrown diapers, so we have to get this going? any advice?

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So What Happened?™

we're taking a break from potty training for now. thanks everyone for your advice and words of encouragement.

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My now 17 year old knew how to use the potty at 18 months, which was great. Then she saw us flush her pop down the toilet and wouldn't use it again till she was three, at which time she told us "I don't want a diaper any more." She never wore one again, even to bed (no even one accident). She was very headstrong and stubborn and wanted to potty train on her own terms. This was very hard to deal with when we knew she could do it, she just wouldn't. She's still headstrong but as she grows, I respect her choices and the person she is becoming. She knows what she wants and does what she needs to to get it. I'm so glad we didn't start a war with her over this. Sometimes kids need to be given their own choices in life. Save the big battles for things like dating, parties, friends, school. Kids respect parents who give them boundaries, but also treat them with respect.

My son was actually 3 when he finally got it. He was almost 40 months. We got him a really fun potty(he love trains, so it was a train potty that had train sounds) and just put it out in the living room for him to explore and play with. Therefore, when we actually had him start using it, the transition was great because he was already familiar with it. We initially tried what you are doing until a friend told us to lay back and not emphasize it so much. When he was ready, he let us know by showing interest. Also, he wanted to wear his new train underwear which was an incentive as well. Good luck!

Try the rewards system, my daughter got stickers and a Dance given by none other than me,,, they don't grasp the Big Girl thing until around three and then they want to be 10 --- TeeHee... Seroiusly, rewards do work... and get a book on potty training desinged for toddlers .. read to her and show her,,, rewards ( bribes ) really do work,,, my daughter was potty trained at 1.5 and all because she liked the rewards.... right wrong or indifferent... it works ! Make Her a potty Chart Hang it up where she can see it and have her pick some stickers out at the nearest dollar store, and use it ....... ! :) Happy peeing you will see...

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Hi N. -

This is probably not going to be what you were hoping for, but I'm writing to gently suggest you wait on the potty training and start buying pull-ups. I know there are lots of techniques, and I'm sure you'll have talked to many people who say their kids were potty trained by x number of early months, and heard about other cultures who potty train amazingly early. It's not that I don't believe them; I just can't fathom how in the world they do it. And I do know several people who thought their toddlers were potty trained, and just had to go through it all over again later.

Personally, I don't believe it's worth the fight at 2 or 2 1/2. Even 3 or 4 year olds have a hard time noticing their bodies cues. There are some cute books and videos out there, but my closest friends and I used those just to get the subject planted in our kids' little heads and then followed their cues. Then we waited, some of us for a quite a while. My daughter's pediatrician advised waiting for the child to be ready. My daughter was well into 4 and I admit I had some thoughts that she'd go to kindergarten in pull-ups, but she didn't. When she was ready, she was ready. I'd listen to other moms at the park discussing their struggles and I'd just smile and be so grateful I'd chosen to relax about it all. When the time came, we were done in a day or so. My daughter had a couple of accidents, not judging how long she could hold it and I privately wished for the days up those pull-ups, but we got through it.

I'm sure you're tired of changing diapers, but if you potty train early, you're in the bathroom wiping your child's little bottom anyway. A 2 or 3 or even 4 year old doesn't have the hand coordination to get themself very clean yet. Really - take the path of least resistance, and everyone will be much more calm and happy.

This may be the only letter you get offering this advice, but I really hope you'll consider it. You won't be the only one with a 3+ year old or even a 4 year old in pull-ups, believe me!

Whatever you choose, I wish you and your lovely little girl all the best,


1 mom found this helpful

N., I was told not to even try until my child was three. Early training could really be damaging. Girls usually start to potty train themselves anyway and boys need a little help. If I were you, I would suspend potty training until she is three. She really doesn't sound ready and she is trying to tell you by telling you she's a baby.


Hi N.,

Get a copy of "Toilet Training in Less than a Day" by Nathan H. Azrin PhD,Richard M. Foxx PhD. This method was first designed for teaching developmentally disabled children who were likely to spend their lives in diapers. We used this method for our son just before his 3rd Bday because we were going to be travelling internationally and didn't want to have to cart diapers along. It really worked! You do end up spending the day in the bathroom, though, so take the book's preparation instructions seriously. The method is based on practice, praise and positive reinforcement.

Some kids just aren't developmentally ready to potty train by 2, no matter what, though. Our daughter was more resistant to the method and we had to try it on several occasions before she was willing to use the potty. One good thing about the method, though. Once they were trained, neither of the kids had more than a few accidents, during either the day or when asleep.

Also, listen to your daughter. Why does she insist in saying that she's a baby (aside from the fact that she IS one!)? Is there a new situation/stress in her life? Are you expecting another child, has she started preschool, is she having problems at preschool, suffered a loss, etc.? These kinds of things can really make a toddler entrenched in a type of behaviour that they associate with being familiar and comforting. You might try assuring your daughter that she will get just as much love and attention from mommy and daddy if she uses the potty than if she doesn't.

All in all, you have to really decide if there's a dire need to push your daughter at this time. I'm surprised that a 2 year old would be so large that she's outgrown diapers, however. Even if she's bigger than the average toddler, you can get diapers up to adult sizes. Ultimately, the thing to remember in this power struggle is that no child with normal intelligence starts kindergarten in diapers! And, if your daughter is in daycare or preschool, eventually peer pressure will win out and do the job for you.

Good luck!


Dear N.,

I potty trained my first son at 36 months with no problems. What I mean is that earlier than this he was a bit resistant but when he was ready, in two days he was out of diapers with no accidents. We never pushed him or tried to negotiate since I had read many articles on the internet that 3 is an acceptable age to start potty training. Every child has their own time of doing things and it sounds like your daughter may not be ready to make the 'jump' to big girl yet. Wait a month and then try again, and if she is still resistant, wait another month and so on.
Gook luck,
C. C.

This may sound (Nuts) but,I was desperate, My son was so stubborn,Kids that age are becoming so independant,and feel they are being bossed around,manipulated! lol Sooo I put a few of his (short) favorite books,plus some new ones, in a container in the bathroom,and when he began dancing or after a meal,or lots of fluids,I'd say...Hey Want to read a story? Yesssssss!! lets go sit on the potty and I;ll read you that one you like about.....It took me a few minutes to read that little book, and it must have relaxed him enough to do what he needed to do.It didn't take long before he was asking to go read.You see,I took it from a demand from me,to A request from him.That took away the threat of my pushing him.It only takes a few minutes as long as you make them short stories,after a while,I'd find him sitting on the potty attempting to read his own story lol.it sure payed off in the long run.Good luck to you N.

Let it go for another six months and then bring it up again gently. Her body will know when it's ready. If you force it, you'll have problems later. That's my experience anyway. She's not at all developmentally slow if she's not ready yet. Check with your pediatrician and don't worry about what the other kids are doing. good luck.


My daughter is 28 months and i decided that i wasn't in any hurry to potty train her. I figured when the success rate was higher maybe then. Also when we would do it the poop was loose instead of contained in a diaper. After a few smears to stand up and look, then sanitizing I figured it was overrated. So then what do you know. She decides to do it on her own. When i took the preasure off, she figured it out. She is 88% there. Good luck.

Good morning N., Take a deep breath mama, this will become history and you'll wonder why is ever frustrated you. Oh..unless you have to be some where on time and you're still packing those darn diapers around. (ha ha) It's a tough one that diaper training into potty training. The next thing will be how long they take in the bathroom and your dinner is on the table chilling to ice cold. Surrender is my words of slightly humored wisdom. Take a step back and let this happen as time will let it. No use getting you and your adorable gift into battles over this one. She'll find her way and the less you push the sooner you'll both get through this one. If you can, try to support her calmly and with the love in your heart that become permanant the day she arrived in your life. Good luck and be the blessing that brought this child to you.

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