26 answers

"Potty Training" My 3 Year Old Son!

I'm looking for advice/ideas on how to Potty Train my 3 year old son. How do I know he's ready? At times I think I am influenced by other family and friends that comment on him not being potty trained. At the moment I am a stay at home mom so i'm thinking this is a great time to get started. Any advice would be helpful! Thanks!

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I am with Chrissie. It sounds weird, but having my son naked really helped. We have beautiful weather for it. Hopefully you have a back yard. It was also a big incentive to go outside and pee. There was that one time he pooped on the driveway (smile) but he was potty trained by 13 months old. Also, I would suggest enlisting Dad in this. I know Moms are the ones usually left to do this job but my son LOVED peeing outside with Dad and seeing how far it would go. He will be 4 next week and he has only had maybe 4 or 5 accidents in 3 years. Good luck!

I know that potty training can sometimes be a challenge. I potty trained my son when he was about 3 years old. What finally worked, was playing a "Cherrios Game". I know it sounds wierd, but it worked. All you do is put a few cherrios into the toilet, and have him see how many he can hit. Warning, there could be a little bit of a mess, if he tries to aim to fast. But with my son, he got so excited when he would hit one, that pretty soon, all he wanted to do was play the cherrios game. Little by little I starting cutting down the amount of cherrios, until there was none. It helped him not be so bored. Good Luck!

I have 2 boys and a girl. My boys potty trained really early. My oldest was done just after his second birthday and with the example of him my youngest boy followed in his footsteps around 18m. Amazing I know. Books help! They get them excited. Also referring to the diapers as a "baby" thing makes them think about it not being their thing. We had a jar full of little toy horses and everytime he used the potty he would get a toy. Also, I don't know where you live and if you have a back yard, but little boys love to pea outside. It's a good way to get them used to the idea of it. Don't get frustrated, they will and do have accidents....it's part of the process. I think they will stay in diapers as long as you let them. It's a thing where you have to be ready more then they have to be ready. Good luck!!

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Hi A.. I just turned 34 (last week!), I have been married for 15 years and have a 8 year old girl and 4 year old son.

The funny thing; as soon as I gave up my attachment to having my son be potty-trained, he trained himself. Sounds funny, I know, but I too was influenced by my daughter having been trained at 14 months and a loving mom who never forgot to remind me that I was missing my opportunity when my some was already three.

A loving suggestion, buy plenty of pull-up (I prefer actual underwear with my son, can through them in the wash.) and practice patience. Ask him often (every time you think about it, really) and stand outside the door when he goes. When he does go (which may be one out of every 7 visits) CELEBRATE! My entire family, including my husband, would sing a special song and only Brenden got to pick a special treat from a jar just for him.

Long story short, he was asking to go, then going by himself within two weeks.

Hope this helps.

hi annete, ill share with you what worked for me. Im now 35 and my kids are 15yr and 12yr, yet only seems like yesterday they were 3 yrs old. bolth my children were completly trained and no accidents betwwen 18 and 24 months. My husband and I couldnt stand poopy dipers along with the expense. I was determined to have then on the toilet asap.starting at 12 months I began saying shoooeeee while changing diper, and saying no no poo poo goes in toilet. So id take them to toilet and release pooop from diper into toilet and and flush saying by by. making a big deal about it.sounds silly but it got there attention. Then putting them on the toilet so they know this is where you do your doody. As well as each time I went to the rest room I brought them with me and had to show them, again making a big deal about it and clapping after flushing. suprisingly it worked with bolth kids each time around. I realize your son is 3 now. Stay consistant and patient.now is a great time with your 19 month old to communicate not to poop in diper. good luck.

when your son is ready he will do it on his own. i potty trained my son at 2 and it took 3 weeks. i did it purely for financial reasons. i did not want to pay for diapers anymore! at the time i was a single mom. i go my son trained with m&m's he would go and i would reward him with an m&m. the biggest thing you must remember is that you have to be consistent!!! take him to the bathroom every 10 minutes. get him to drink liquid and then after 10 min take him. get rid of the diapers and put on big boy underpants. also you can let him walk around the house with out any bottoms on at all. sometimes when a kid pees himself it is very uncomfortable and they don't like it. let him know he is a big boy now and it is now time for him to go to the big boy potty. have your husband take him and also have your husband pee with him in the room. watching helps. they also make these "targets" that float in the toilet so the can aim. cherrios work also make a game out of it. stay positive and don't scold or belittle. just let him know that you are proud of him trying and that he will be proud of himself when he does it. at night use overnight diapers until he goes a few weeks without peeing at night. the good thing about the overnights is that when they are not wet you can reuse them. be patient and make a big deal out of it clap and call family when he goes. bm's take longer but ask him if he has to go yuckies or poop. encourage him to let you know. bm's should be treated as such: food in food out when he eats take him to the potty. read to him play games go over the abc's. take your time and have fun when he is ready it will be easy!

L.

I am with Chrissie. It sounds weird, but having my son naked really helped. We have beautiful weather for it. Hopefully you have a back yard. It was also a big incentive to go outside and pee. There was that one time he pooped on the driveway (smile) but he was potty trained by 13 months old. Also, I would suggest enlisting Dad in this. I know Moms are the ones usually left to do this job but my son LOVED peeing outside with Dad and seeing how far it would go. He will be 4 next week and he has only had maybe 4 or 5 accidents in 3 years. Good luck!

I know that potty training can sometimes be a challenge. I potty trained my son when he was about 3 years old. What finally worked, was playing a "Cherrios Game". I know it sounds wierd, but it worked. All you do is put a few cherrios into the toilet, and have him see how many he can hit. Warning, there could be a little bit of a mess, if he tries to aim to fast. But with my son, he got so excited when he would hit one, that pretty soon, all he wanted to do was play the cherrios game. Little by little I starting cutting down the amount of cherrios, until there was none. It helped him not be so bored. Good Luck!

I have two chilren, a 9 year old son and a 3 year old dauter. She just turned 3 on feb 10th and how I did it with both of them was let them go with out clouse. It worked realy well. It was easer with my son than my dauter. It helped because when they had to go there was nothing in there way, and they could feel it. Maybe it will work for you.

My 3 yr. old has really struggled with potty training. Putting my son in real underwear didn't help much, but what did help was making him go around naked. That did the trick. With any kind of underwear on they feel that there is something to pee into. After eliminated the underwear, my son peed on the floor once or twice and pooped once but after that he decided that he did not like peeing/pooping on the floor. So he started using the toilet instead. Continue doing this until you see that he is comfortable with using the toilet, then you can put the underwear back on.

my family told me to do little tricks like: put a fruit loop in the toilet and have ur son try to pee on it and others tell me to other things. the best way i learned, and i was not a stay at home mom, was to take both of my sons into the bathroom maybe every 5-10min and let them try to pee. they got the hang of it. it took awhile because boys take longer than girls, trust i know i have a daughter she was potty trained at 2. pull-ups work great for over night also. when he gets up in the morning just take him straight to the bathroom and show him thid id what he does in the morning. also reward him everytime he does it, it makes him want to use the bathroom even more. i hope this helps u some and good luck with the potty training.

When our older boys were potting training (they are now 10 and 9), I was home with them and was able to let them keep their diapers off, or sometimes where cotton boy-underwear. This allowed them to get used to being in something other than a diaper. I was able to "catch" them before they went to the bathroom...not always, but eventually they caught on. I would make a big deal about the potty, singing made-up potty songs about how exciting it is to go to the bathroom on the potty! Hilarious if anyone knew, but it created excitement for my kids! Also, I allowed them to bring a book to encourage them to take-their-time, if necessary. Hope some of this helps you!

(I'm a 36 year old, married mom of 4 kids: 10 1/2 year old boy, 9 year old twins: boy/girl and a 2 year old boy.)

I am curious as to why this has become so delayed, and I am not critcizing you, just wondering. I am seeing this over and over. When I raised my children, it was so common for 2 yr olds to be potty trained, and now it is 3 and even 4 yr olds. My instinct wonders if it is due to the widespread use of disposable diapers, which keep baby so dry, they dont even feel that they are wet. If this is the reason, then putting cloth diapers or cloth underwear on the child might help. I find it curious that although children seem to be advancing so quickly in most other areas, when it comes to using the potty, they are getting older.

I know people who let their child run diaperless (naked) in the house for potty training, and although there were a few messes to clean up, the training was accomplished in a few days, with gentle, loving guidance. With this approach, it is essential the adults understand the child wants to be trained and accidents are accidents! NO shame, only loving understanding. Just a thought!

I have a son (now 5) who resisted the potty training after he turned 3 as well. I had tried reward systems. He would use the potty just enough to get his reward, then quit. He was hit or miss- no regularity with his potty use. I was so worried that he wouldn't be able to go to preschool that started in 2 months because he wasn't trained. One day, he blatently refused to use the toilet. So I refused to put a pull-up on him (which we had been using for a while). I bought Thomas the Train underwear. He was really into Thomas at the time. And I told him, "Do not pee on Thomas!" It bothered him when he peed because he peed on Thomas, and his shorts, socks, legs, etc. He did not like getting all wet. So, we tried again and again with the underwear (make sure you have plenty clean and ready to go!) After 3 days, he had no more accidents. What we discovered is that he really didn't understand the sensation of having to pee until he was already peeing. Once he realized what was happening he learned that he could pee a drop, feel it, stop, and run to the toilet to finish. Pull-ups are great for at night, but definitely not a good thing for potty training. They keep the kids dry just like diapers, which teaches them nothing. Let your son make a mess and feel it. He wont like it, and will try really hard to change it. I hope you have a lot of tile or a nice backyard you can stay on/in for a few days. Pooping took about 3 weeks for us. It was harder for him as with most. Just hang in there. It takes a while, but he will get it eventually. Maybe your little one will be quicker after watching this one get trained. Good luck!

Hi A.,

My name is Renee. Even though I am still pregnant with my first child, I've been potty-training two & three-year-olds as a Preschool/Toddler Teacher for 14 years. Some tips that I give my parents at the school when they ask for advice is to introduce the subject with books about the potty. Start putting him in thick, cloth underpants (some parents use plastic pants or a pull-up over the cloth pants to contain excess messes). That way, your child will be making the connection that he feels wet when he goes potty. (Disposable diapers & pull-ups pull the wetness away.) Also, I recommend that parents introduce the subject as soon as possible, but if there are any changes in his routine/home life, etc. to not expect to make much progress until things have resumed a normal routine for him. (Especially if a new baby is on the way.) Learning to use the potty is a big step for him. He will likely make progress, then regress a little, then make more progress. That is very normal. If you can stay relaxed about the issue & expect to change many accidents at first, you can remain confident that he will get it when he is ready. I also find including the child in cleaning up his accident & dressing himself as much as he possibly can helps to curb excess accidents sooner over time, as well as giving him the self-help skills that he will need & be proud of. For some children, using a sticker incentive chart works well for them, with a short term goal achieved with a reward that he looks forward to. The gifts of time are the best, I think, but every child is different. Obviously, you know him better than anyone to find what will be special to him. With many families, having him pick out "Big Boy Underwear" at the store can be a great incentive to wanting to wear them & keep them dry.

I hope these tips can prove to be helpful. =)
All the best, Renee

My own experience was that when they are ready, they train themselves so don't stress it and ignore well-meaning family and friends. My eldest son asked for a potty on a trip to Toys R Us the week of his first birthday, by the party he was completely toilet trained. My younger son was 4 years old and flatly refused to even discuss using the toilet. I was convinced he'd go to his own wedding in a diaper...but one fine day he asked to use the toilet and that was that! Good luck and enjoy the process!

Try the book "Toilet Training in Less Than a Day." It worked for us several times. Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.com/Toilet-Training-Less-Than-Day/dp/06...

One thing to keep in mind, though, you decide when you are ready; don't fall to the pressure of others and their time schedule for you family milestones. Early weening, potty training, bottle and pacifier removal, etc. are all not as big of a deal in other countries, so keep in mind that this is culturally driven and you don't need to heed the pressure and opinions of others. Do what brings you and your family peace. That's why you're the mom (and they're not). Best wishes! :)

I had my 2 year old potty trained in 4 days. I just took the diapers away completely during his wakeful hours, and put big boy underpants on him (I feel like pull ups are a waste of money and a safety net that delays potty training). We got him really excited about his underpants and told him not to go pee pee in his underpants. He had a couple accidents the first few days, but got the hang of it really quickly because he hated the way it felt when his underpants and pants got wet. Poop was a little harder. I saw him straining and would run him into the bathroom and pretty much let it fall in. But then it would be a big party of hoorays and whoo hoos, and then he was excited to do it. I think he was totally easy as kids go, but that's my method, and it totally worked for me. Don't hold it against him if he isn't getting it. Just take the pressure off, put the diapers back on and try again in a few weeks. He'll get the hang of it.

I have 2 boys and a girl. My boys potty trained really early. My oldest was done just after his second birthday and with the example of him my youngest boy followed in his footsteps around 18m. Amazing I know. Books help! They get them excited. Also referring to the diapers as a "baby" thing makes them think about it not being their thing. We had a jar full of little toy horses and everytime he used the potty he would get a toy. Also, I don't know where you live and if you have a back yard, but little boys love to pea outside. It's a good way to get them used to the idea of it. Don't get frustrated, they will and do have accidents....it's part of the process. I think they will stay in diapers as long as you let them. It's a thing where you have to be ready more then they have to be ready. Good luck!!

Kids like to imitate, so maybe after meals, go into the bathroom with him and let him on his potty and you on yours and let the water run. I have a grand daughter 2 yo who is also potty training. Sometimes she goes and other times she prefers her pullups. Her parents bought panties and told her to keep them dry. Don't worry if he doesn't go at first, just let him know you will try later.

I highly recommend the book 123 steps or ways to potty training. By Gary Ezzo. don't let other people influence you. your child will be ready when he is ready and boys are typically later anyway!

Boys take longer than girls. My youngest is a boy,3 in March and I'm getting ready to train him. If you start them when they are not ready then it is harder and less successful. First they have to have an interest. They need to know what they are doing. ie they tell you they are pooping or peeing. I started getting my son to pee in the tub when he got in. The watter helped to trigger the need but he could also, kinda on command learn what it felt like when they started to go. It also helps for you to know when they are going potty in their diaper.(you may see them strain or walk and hide somewhere by themself) I suggest you get training pants. They are heavy, think in the middle, cotton underware. I don't like the pull ups, I don't think they learn control because they know it's there to catch. Have them pick their own underware for when they are good at it. It gives them incentive to stay dry and use a reward system, like some kind of treat when they are successful. When you feel like he knows and accepts what is going to happen, start. Put on training pants and take him to the toilet like every hour. I also got piddle targets at Toys R Us. Boys like to aim at something. I wouldn't try having them stay dry at night. For my other ones I just put a diaper on at night until he stayed dry himself. Don't get upset when they have an accident, just try to encourage. I know this is jumbled, but take what you want and try and good luck. I'm in the same boat.

If you're at home and he is 3 years old i think you're in the right time for trining... You have to be patient, buy the trining diappers, and start by sitting him in the potty every 2 hours... telling him what's you're doing... He is ready, he'll do it fine!

Boys take longer than girls. Chances are when he is ready he will be trained. Gently work with him - Starting in the morning when he first gets up, try taking him to pee, especially if he isn't that wet yet. After breakfast, take him again to pee and depending when he has his bowel movements, maybe try for that one too. The main thing is "don't beat yourself up" It will come in time. I have a 3 yr old grandson who is just taking his time.. He goes whenever he feels like it. Most times, if I can catch him, he will go on the pot. Give him lots and lots of praises when he does use the potty. Even reward him. Good luck.

Start by getting him used to and comfortable with the potty, take him in and drop poop into toilet to show him where the poop goes and what the potty is for. Then have him sit on the potty whenever he shows signs of having to go or common times that he goes every day. If the big potty is too scary, get a little potty and transition to the big one later. Don't force him or get mad, only give positive feedback and praise.Make it a fun activity for him. Be consistant in the family, daddy, grandparents, babysitters, etc. need to be a part of this every time every day.

Does he tell you when his diaper is dirty? Does he show interest in the potty like asking what you are doing or wants to try sitting on it? those are good signs to look for.

Don't succumb to the pressures of friends or family. Every child is ready in his own time, and that is the same for your son. Soem kids are ready at 2, some not until closer to 4, with the average being about 36 months. Pushing will only make it harder not easier, and it will take longer.

Good luck!

Try to not let others influence when you potty train your son. Both of my children were not trained until after their third birthdays. I trained my youngest when I knew I had time to devote to it. We stayed home for about a week. I just asked her every 10-30 minutes if she had to go potty. If I got to many answers of no then we went anyway. I am strongly against using pull-ups except for bed as I think it is too similiar to a diaper. Hopefully this helps.

Hi A.. From your notice, it sounds like you haven't even started. If he's 3, yeah, he should be well into at least the training. Boys are tougher than girls; my daughter was completely trained at 2; my son was training at 2 but was 3+ before he "got it". I think more of it was attitude than anything. Just like anything, the longer you wait, the harder it becomes. It's like thumb sucking or taking away a bottle, pacifier, etc. If you're at home with him, you have it a lot easier because you're with him all day. With a strict schedule, you could have him trained in a week (with room for accidents, of course). Reward him for going in the potty (I used M&M's -- 1 if they peed in the potty; 2 if they pooped in the potty!!) I give my kids VERY few sweets so this was a big deal. I had my son sit down, but I've been a single mom since my kids were 6 months old and 22 months old; so I didn't have the benefit of a man to "show" him how to stand up!! My son is 5 now and thinks it's pretty cool that he can pee standing up! It's just less messy if they sit down... Good luck.

Hello A.,

Make the experience interesting for him but rewarding him with a treat. What I did with my boys, I put coloured pieces of paper into the toilet bowl and challenged them to try to hit the papers with the stream of urine. Of course they always hit and then I would reward them with an MM from a jar that I kept in the bathroom. They just couldn't wait to go to the bathroom again. Good luck.
Silvia

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