19 answers

Slow Potty Training

We've been going through the potty training process with our daughter for at least a year now, on and off. She'll be 3 years old in 3 months. She understands the process of using the potty, knows what it's for, etc. But I can't get her to tell me when she needs to go. Sometimes she will tell me, but most of the time not. I've tried taking her every so many minutes, but if I say we are going to the potty, most of the time she fusses & refuses, so nothing happens. And of course she will not poop in the potty at all. I've talked to her about how she stinks when she poops in her diaper, but most of the time she won't even bother telling me she has pooped. If I smell it and ask her if she's pooped, she will just say no!

At daycare she will pee in the potty when they take her (of course, she actually listens to them!) and she's going with other kids. But they can't get her to poop in the potty either. At home I can't get her to go to the potty on a regular basis.

I've tried keeping her in panties at home. Sometimes it will help with getting her to pee in the potty, but other days it's just me cleaning up everywhere!!

Do I need to just leave her alone and wait longer? Is there something else I can try?

Not sure if this is part of the problem, but her dad has been deployed for several months now, so it's just me and our daughter at home. We do chat with him often on the Web, including with a Web cam. She is very much a Daddy's girl & talks about him often. She still seems to be a very normal 2, almost 3, year old.

Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all of the responses! I think I may try the reward idea. We have lots of Halloween candy anyways! I'll try restricting her candy to only when she uses the potty. We'll see how this goes tonight!

Featured Answers

Bribery!! Specifically: M&M's One for pee and two for poop. Keep a jar of them in or near the potty and don't give them out for any other thing but good behavior results.

Many babies aren't potty-trained til they are 3. You might just need to wait a month or two and then try again. Apparently it's easier and quicker to do it when they are truly ready; if you try before they are ready it can take forever, I've heard.

More Answers

I would tell her that you can tell that she just isn't ready and put her in diapers and completely DROP the subject for the next month or two. Then, try again. This is really a common problem in this age group and they ALL potty train eventually!

I went through the same thing with my daughter. She was very strong-willed and determined to not do what I asked of her. I would get her up in the middle of the night to pee and she would just refuse. I finally kept a large plastic bowl in the bathroom for warm water and would put her hands in it as she sat on the potty. Not even she could resist that sensation!

At four, she reverted to wetting the bed EVERY night after our son was born. I think your Daddy's Girl is really missing him and has just decided to "postpone" this new thing until he returns.

Try buying her some really pretty, big girl panties. Reminder her how surprised and PROUD Daddy will be when he finds out she's being a big girl for him while he's away!

Bribery!! Specifically: M&M's One for pee and two for poop. Keep a jar of them in or near the potty and don't give them out for any other thing but good behavior results.

Mine turned the corner when I put her only in panties (except for nap and bedtime) she improved within a few days and within about 2 weeks she was doing awesome. She also had to clean up her own messes. She hated touching the wet panties, but I wouldn't take them off for her she had to clean the floor (I cleaned it later when she was napping) and if she pooped that was a little more complicated, but she had to clean that up too-natural consequences. She never did get to the point where she told me she needed to go-I always told her when it was time (when she got up in the morning, after lunch, before nap etc... Now she will go on her own if she has to without me telling her. But we still have to tell her to go first thing in the morning, before nap and before bed. I also read recently that the goal is clean and dry so rewards for dry and clean panties, bigger rewards for keeping them clean and dry by using the potty. So say every 30 minutes ask if her panties are dry if she says yes, she gets 2 M&M's (or whatever is her favorite), when she keeps them dry by using the potty she gets 5 M&Ms or as we are doing, a treat from her trick-or-treat bag! Hope this is helpful-God bless you!

My friends had this kind of trouble and they finally tried this method and potty trained that kid in one day. They put him in underwear and when he went in his pants they would put him fully clothed into the shower fully dressed and turn on the cold water. Not warm, not hot, cold. They would take his clothes off him and make him rinse in the cold water and then dry him off, re-dress and start over. It took two times and it really worked. He did not like that cold water and decided using the potty wasn't that bad. Sounds a little harsh I know but it really works and in one day too!

What a lot of pressure! I know with daycare they really emphasize potty training. As you know, it is time consuming. It is possible she just hasn't physically developed enough that she can tell if she needs to potty. She is busy learning about her world and that is not a top priority for her. With her Daddy gone, please just relax and let her work it out on her own. She understands what it is and what it is for, keep gently reminding her. She'll get it. And you can depend on peer pressure at daycare to help out. The more she sees the other kids doing it, the more she will do it too. Please don't make this an issue for her.

Hi S.,
We tried the "gummy Bear" technique (she got 1 gummy for Peeing and 2 if she peed in the potty AND her undies were dry). She pees in the potty regularly at 2 yrs 8 mos.
She also started pooping in the potty daily when I told her she got a kiss for every Poop (The Hersey's variety).
You don't have to use candy, you can use stickers an inexpensive toy etc... We use candy b/c it's the only sugar she gets most days (except yogurt).
She still has accidents and still wears diapers for naps/nighttime and pullups when we go out.
I agree with the idea another Mom had about giving a reward for good behavior only. I also think the Mom who said her kids regressed when their Dad was deployed was on to something. If your daughter got "worse" or didn't improve any more after Daddy was sent over, that might be the case.
What if your Husband got into the picture. What if he started asking her if she had kept her diaper/pullup/panties dry that day?? Not in a judgemental way, just asking as in "how was your day today honey, good day at school? Did you pee and poop in the potty all day :-)??" Something like that.
Just my 2 cents, I SAH w/ our daughter so if I can't get her to do something (eat, get dressed etc...) Daddy CAN.
:-) Just my 2 cents,
Hope it helps & Good Luck.
:-) C.

Hi S.! You might try giving her a special surprise everytime she goes on the potty. I'm a mother of four and that's what I had to do with my oldest three. I would always use their favorite candy like M&Ms. Everytime they went pee on the potty they got 3 M&Ms and if they went poop they got to have a little handful. This gives them something to look forward to and they knew they couldn't have any unless they went on the potty. It's kind of like rewarding them for doing something good. Eventually they got the hang of it and by then they were potty trained. I hope this helps you and good luck! I know how frustrating it can be at times but hang in there. V.

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