Help on Potty Training - Dallas,TX

Updated on February 23, 2011
D.K. asks from Bellevue, WA
7 answers

Hi to all you awesome mamas!

My almost 2.5 year old has been undergoing potty training since almost a year now. Each time there is a breakthrough, something happens taking time and energy from our busy schedules, and we fall back to using diapers. He does poo-poo in the potty seat correctly, but he still cannot control his pee-pee. At home, he wears potty training cotton underpants when awake and I take him to pee every hour. There still are atleast 2/3 pee-pee accidents per day. He is also wearing underpants most of the times in his preschool. I keep him in diapers when putting him to bed and when going out. If we are out and he needs to poop, he tells me and does fine on the adult potty seats outside (I carry a travel size toddler potty seat cover most of the times outside).

I want to take him out of diapers both in bed and when going out at the earliest now. What do you all wonderful mothers recommend? what is your experience in potty training?

All honest and non-judgmental suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

Thanks Dori and Kristen: I cannot do bare-bums approach as we have all carpeted floors. Kristen, was your son able to go pee pee in adult size potty? How did you help him do it outside? Was he also sleeping at night without diapers at the end of your training week? The problem with me is I cannot dedicate a complete week to his potty training, only weekends, so on weekdays he's back in diapers :(.

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answers from Portland on

Here's one of several sites that gives some great "readiness" checklists, plus the skinny on the various approaches to potty-training, their advantages and challenges. It's fantastic that you've got your son pretty much poop-trained. For the pee, I wonder whether he is ready for success yet. See if you can find your situation here:

Potty training is ultimately a process that the child must control, or else he's not trained. A number of factors are needed for potty training to succeed: the child must be able to notice and recognize the urge before it happens, he must have adequate sphincter control and the ability to hold it long enough to get to the potty, he must understand the point of training, and he must want to be trained. It sounds like at least one or two of these is still missing for your son.

Additionally, night training is a whole separate step for many children, and can lag a year (or several) behind day training. It's not too unusual for third or fourth graders to need diapers at night, and for a few unfortunate kids, they reach adolescence before they stop bedwetting. Their sleep is too heavy for the full-bladder signal to get through, and/or the sphincter isn't strong enough to hold a full bladder. This is more common in boys. They really are not doing this on purpose, and many of them are horrified and ashamed of not being able to stay dry through the night.

Sometimes rewards work in the short run if only motivation is lacking. But that introduces the very real possibility that rewards/bribes will need to escalate to keep him motivated, and that is a mistake that you will seriously regret someday.

So, what I would suggest is that, as hard as this will be, you drop your expectations, tell your son you are proud of how well he's growing up, and express your confidence that he will use the potty when he's ready – when he notices that taking a few minutes to go to the bathroom will be easier for him than getting changed. And then do it. Just stop hinting, fussing, reminding, nagging, demanding, bribing, acting anxious or annoyed, or anything that you MIGHT currently be doing around the topic of potty training.

Kids WANT to make this developmental step when they're ready, just as they want to walk and talk when they're ready. Your son will probably need some "space" to work it through for himself. Or he may need a few more weeks or months.

Meanwhile, you can continue to make all your messages about using the bathroom as positive as possible. That can include modeling how easy/quick it is for you or Daddy, reading potty books or watching potty videos, having his toys/stuffed animals role-play pottying, and in general making a game of it. With my grandson, once he could do it but didn't want to take the time, I would go into the bathroom and begin noisily ejecting all the dinosaurs that were crowding the room and sitting all over the toilet seat. My grandson couldn't resist that game, and would come in and help me wrestle the beasts, and claim his spot on the toilet.

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answers from Kansas City on

It honestly sounds like he's not quite ready. Potty training (daytime) should not take a year. If he's still having accidents and not telling you after almost a year, then he's just not getting it. I know you're anxious to have him trained, but he'll do it when he's ready.

I just potty trained my son who is 2y 10 months. Here's how it went:

Day 1 & 2: Did not leave house. Son wore only shirt and socks. We had 3 accidents each day.

Day 3 & 4: Son wore only shirt and socks. We had 1 accident each day. We did leave the house in a diaper.

Day 5: Started wearing underwear at home. No accidents. Wore diaper out, but he asked to go potty. I took him to the public bathroom (diaper was dry).

Day 6: Underwear at home. No accidents. Took him out to dinner in underwear. He asked to go potty. I took him and he went. He ran back to the table saying, "I did pee-pee on potty!". The people around us clapped.

He still wears a diaper at night and during nap time. He's usually dry after nap. My older son potty trained even quicker than this. We reward bathroom trips with stickers (I printed a picture of J on potty on 8 x 11 paper and that's what we put the stickers on).

Maybe give it a rest for a while? Or, maybe try the "bare buns" method at home. We have hard wood floors so it was easy to clean up accidents. I just think it was easier for him to figure things out when he could get the pee feeling and see the pee coming out.

Best of Luck!

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answers from Dallas on

Nonjudgmental answer, just my honest suggestion (since you asked):

1.5 is too young to start potty training for the majority of babies. Yes, I said "babies." Obviously, he's still too young at 2.5 since he's having so many accidents. Also sounds like you're not ready as well as you've mentioned how you don't have the time to commit to a weeklong training AND you keep taking steps backwards by putting him diapers. It's confusing to me, and I'm in my 40s; imagine how confusing it is to someone who's not even 3 years old.

Since you've started it all now, to go back totally to diapers and wait until he's ready would not be a good idea. A good test is to commit to your baby a week of doing all underwear, diapers at night only, and by using patience, understanding, LOTS or rewards for success AND for trying (the latter is VERY important), you may see some headway.

I would not expect him to be out of diapers at night until he's 4. Some kids can go all night without wetting sooner; some kids take longer to get that part. It's a slow process and one that should be taken slow, not rushed.

Take your time, have patience, make it fun and rewarding for him, and you should get your result in the way it's supposed to happen, not because it's forced.

Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

You've been working on this a year? He's too young to even start potty training until now and most boys still aren't ready by 2.5. My youngest is 3.5 and is just now going teetee on the potty and wearing diapers for poop and at night. You are expecting way too much. I would put him back in diapers for another year. If he isn't able to control when he urinates, then he is not ready for underware. Night training isn't even possible at this age. Most kids aren't night trained until around 4 and some much later. Also, the inconsistency of wearing diapers sometimes and wearing undies other times is confusing. Until he is older and you can devote as much time as he needs to this, you need to wait. My oldest wasn't trained until age 4 and now my youngest at 3.5. They oldest had a couple of accidents and my youngest a few more, but both have gotten peepeeing on the potty within a few days. If it takes longer, in my opinion, they are not ready.



answers from Des Moines on

My son was 3 years old and one week when he decided he was ready and I didn't have to "work" at it at all. I really think he just needs more time. Boys take longer, a million people have told me, and I think it's really true. Seems like 3yo is the average age they finally get it and are ready to be potty trained. As for overnights, I just read a great article about how they are not physiologically (sp?) ready to go all night without wetting the bed til they're like 7 years old!! So I don't feel so bad my 5yo is in pull-ups at night. Some nights he wets, some nights he doesn't. I am a firm believer that when it comes to potty training, don't push it or you'll create a power struggle and issues for the kid.

He's young still so I think in another 6 months he'll have it down pat. Don't worry, you're doing just fine! :-)



answers from Dallas on

You cannot train for night sleeping. Leave him in diapers at night until he is waking up, consistently, dry. Most boys are not dry through the night until they are about 3&1/2 although of my three boys, one was an exception to that. As for the day training, is he sitting on the toilet? That will help with the pee. Have him sitting with his legs wide and his hands in front of him on the toilet seat, so he has a slight forward lean.

Good luck!



answers from Gainesville on

Please don't add frustration to the pot by expecting him to be nap/night trained! Night time dryness has *absolutely* nothing to do with day time dryness. They are 2 very different biological and neurological milestones.

He's only 2.5. Just keep working with him. Try bare bottom around the house. Makes them very aware of their body and what is happening.

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