Getting My Son to Tell Me He Has to Go Potty

Updated on September 04, 2011
M.R. asks from Chicago, IL
9 answers

My son will be 3 in Oct. He is very good at going #1 on the potty when I put him there. He will not tell me when he has to go though. He will not tell me when he has to go #2 either. He will go #1 in his pants and he will NOT go #2 on the potty.

Any tricks for getting the kids to tell you when they have to go, esp #2? I've tried rewarding with Matchbox cars, but that is not working. I've tried making him clean up the mess (to an extent, of course) but that's not working either.

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answers from New York on

Since I don't know what technique for training you are using, I would start from the beginning. I waited until my son was telling me he had made in his diaper to start serious training. He was almost 3 but I did have him getting used to just sitting on the potty not expecting anything for a month or 2 before. I would put him on the potty every 15-30 minutes initially and he would get a small treat each time. He liked Annie's Organic Bunny treats. The rest of the time he wore pullups. We would go before we left the house and immediatly upon getting home even it was only 15 minutes. My son learned to go number 2 first. He was telling me within days of starting that he had to go. If he has an accident let him leave it in there for a few minutes. Then I would say, "You went poopy and had an accident. You see how that feels"? The elaborate of how it feels physically. Then came him telling me he had to pee, but that come after 2-3 weeks. Keep with the small rewards each time. Some kids, even at 3 are not ready. Don't draw out the whole process. If it's meant to work, it will happen quickly. Otherwise you and he will get stressed out.

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answers from San Antonio on

Girl. My son turned 3 in April and he STILL won't tell me he has to go. He'll go only when I tell him to. He'll pee on the floor if I put him in underwear. So likely, you are more anxious to potty train than he is. Likely, most people will post that he's not ready. I will be anxious to hear if anyone has any remedy for this, as I am in the same boat as you are.

One thing I have been saying to my son, but it might be too 'adult reasoning' for him, is "Mom can't buy that toy for you today. We don't have enough money. We spend too much of our money on diapers. No money left over for more toys." I've also tried "Spiderman pees in the potty" and "Your friend Joey pees in the potty." He watches dad pee. I allow him to go pee on rocks and trees outside ..... The kid knows how to turn it off and on, but not when to tell me.

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answers from Kansas City on

i would be a little uncomfortable with that level of bribery...we did 1 m&m, and that was only for a week or so. how many matchbox cars are you okay with giving him? in the end, yes, like Jessintexas says, i believe he's not ready. you're working too hard, and he's not with you. when HE starts showing interest, then is a good cue for you to start. until then, no amount of bribery will work. as you have seen. give him some time mama. unless you just have nothing better to

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answers from Los Angeles on

With my son who has ADD (dx at 5yo) when he turned 4 he still had accidents almost everyday, I just started telling him it was time to go potty and walk him into the bathroom. It was probably about every 2 or 3 hours cause I'd change my youngest who was a baby at the time and then make my son go use the potty just after. And I quit asking if he needed/wanted to go potty, I just said it was time and he had to at least go in the bathroom and try to go pee. Honestly I think even now he doesn't feel the urge to go - even though he says he does.

That trick is what worked for us. He wouldn't tell me when he had to go pee and liked to go hide when doing #2. For #2 I showed him that he should hide in the bathroom when doing #2 and then put the potty chair in there. It took a couple of months but that worked.
best of luck

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answers from Dallas on

i don't have any tricks other than putting him on the toilet every 30 minutes. My daughter is 4 and I still have to remind her!

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answers from Chicago on

I think getting him to tell you when he needs to go just comes with time. With my first son, we put him on the potty every 2 hours. He was good at staying dry and putting everything in the potty, but he wouldn't tell us when he needed to go. His reward for potty was stickers, which used to decorate his potty. We told him that the first time he tells us he has to #2 and actually puts #2 in the potty, he'd get a special toy. Even with that incentive, it still took him a while to tell us, but when he did, his first words were, "Where's my toy?"

We're potty training our second son will be 3 in October, and it's a totally different experience. Potty training our first son was very quick, but he's very motivated by rewards. At the time, we were getting ready to go on a Disney cruise, and he wouldn't have been able to swim in Mickey's pool with swim diapers. Anyway, this son is extremely stubborn so he often refuses to even sit on the potty. His potty success has been sporadic, but all of a sudden, things just clicked for him starting about a week ago and he's been dry. He went from never pooping in the potty and still having wet pull-ups to putting everything in the potty. We'll be putting him in underwear once he goes back to school on Tuesday. He also knows that when he tells us he has to go #2 for the first time and actually does it, there's a special toy for him, too.

Sorry I don't have specific tips but I guess I learned this time around that each child is ready for potty training stages at his/her own pace. There really seems to be a point where they're just ready. It's such a journey for the parents, though. Good luck!



answers from Joplin on

Elmo has an awesome dvd for kids and knowing the signs of when to use the potty.
Also I got a free dvd from one of the diaper companies, I am thinking it was maybe Huggies?
We have been using the timer method for quite a while now when we are at home.
We are still struggling with BM's on the toilet but having far less pee accidents.
My son is 4...I think it takes longer to click with boys and the progress you have made so far is great = )


answers from Kansas City on

We bought one of those kitchen timers.
Set it at 30 minutes, when it went off we all said one of the following "Cael it's time to go potty" or "Cael it's time to go poop". All happy and encouraging.

After a couple of hours I timed it to 20 minutes, going through the whole routine again.

couple of hours or the next day down to 10 minutes, repeating said quotes above.

Kept it at five minutes for a day. Then went back to 30 minutes. Eventually about a week later, he would just go on his own without any timer. (at one point he would carry the timer with him so he would know it was time to try without us telling him)

It really did not click for him until after his third birthday. I have read a lot about this and many parents and gurus say for boys they just don't get it, until they have turned three.

Good luck.


answers from Kansas City on

I will be watching your answers!!!! my oldest is 2 1/2. He will come and tell me as soon as he has gone either 1 or 2 in his diaper, he will even go so far as to bring me a clean diaper, but he wont tell me before hand. He knows the basics, know where his potty is, what it is for etc. LOL, he even follows hubby and I in to the bathroom when we go and he will sit on his potty and pretend to go and even ask for a piece of TP and he will pretend to wipe, so cute. But, I cannot for the life of me get him to tell me first. I hope you get some good advice!

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