Need Advice About Potty Training!!!! - Potomac,MD

Updated on July 16, 2008
C.M. asks from Potomac, MD
24 answers

Hi! this is my secnnd posting in about 2 months, buy I am lost! I have a 3 1/2 year old that will not pee in the toilet unless we remind him and will not do # 2 at all. He will last all day in his undewear and as soon as he gets the pull up, he will do it then... With my older son, we stayed in the bathroom with him the whole day, eating in there, playing, reading, etc... And after a 1/2 day, he got it and never had an accident since that time. The younger one refuses to go in the bathroom for more than 2 minutes...Any suggestions would be more than welcome since he has to be fully potty trained by September!
Thank you in advance,
C.

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N.H.

answers from Washington DC on

This costs a lot, but my son was so excited about using the "wiggle potty" when we went for a train ride, he trained himself when I thought he never would learn.
Grandma N.

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C.H.

answers from Roanoke on

My daughter has 2 boys and she made it kind of a fun game to pee in the potty! She kept a little container of cheerios on the back of the toilet-when the boys needed to go-they sprinkled a few in the toliet and aimed for them! I know it sounds funny-but they did it and loved it. They thought they had really accomplished something!! Before long they forgot about the cheerios and went all by themselves. Important thing for potty training is that the child not be intimidated or afraid. Try it and Good Luck!!

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J.K.

answers from Richmond on

SOunds like he thinks of the bathroom as like a job or a task. Sometimes if we slack off from pushing so hard, when we think they are ready and when they are, it works... Just have him go to the store with you pick out the character underwear of his choice then have him wear them.. He might have an accident or two but make him aware of how it feels to have wet his pants, it usually works. Usually once you have introduced underwear, you dont need to go back to pull-ups, it then confuses them. They tend to use it as a crutch. The cheerio thing in the toilet is a fun game.But he may just be not fully ready yet..I hope that helps..

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A.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Relax & don't panic- I know it seems he is older than most to 'get it', but I was in the exact same boat. All kids take different times, and then all of the sudden- bam! They got it! We did use some tricks of the trade, but still tried to let him keep the power. First we used tattoos(temp, of course) everytime he used the potty- little ones for peeing and bigger ones for #2. Seems like a silly answer but he was psyched about it- cooler than stickers because you wear them like a badge of honor. Sometimes he was COVERED-arms legs, we always let him pick the spot-control. I had an occasion or two to be out and a tattooed gentleman would say 'where's you get that cool tattoo?' and my son would say 'I pee-peed on the potty", and the men would say "Me too, that's how I got this one!" and they would point to one of thiers. Talk about an impressed kid. Sometimes you just gotta love the kindness of strangers. So he mastered Peeing but still held out on the pooping part, so THEN we lied- and told him they just did NOT make pull ups for 4yo's and what would we do then?? In his mind, he figured it out on his own out of logical necessity.
The important thing is not to stress about it too much-Don't let so-called social expectations freak you out- he'll be fine. He'll get it when you least expect it and all this will just be in the past. Good luck and and Relax!

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J.K.

answers from Washington DC on

Our Moms group just hosted a guest speaker who specializes in potty training./

She does in-person and phone consultations and said that a 15-minute phone consultation on potty training costs $25.

Here are her details:

Sally Neuberger LCSW-C
Counseling for parents and young children
Support around social emotional development, peer, behavior management and potty training!
phone: ###-###-####
email: [email protected]____.com

1 mom found this helpful
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S.M.

answers from Washington DC on

C.:
We started back at potty training. Our son is 1 month from being 3. We had tried and stopped over the last year (we moved) but on 4th of July weekend - MY HUSBAND said we were DONE with diapers. Stickers, charts and little toys weren't enough for our son in the last few attempts. We don't usually go for bribery but this time we were serious. He LOVES chocolate cos he rarely gets it. So whenever he goes successfully he gets a miniature (I probably should have chosen an M&M but this is working) We did a trip to Phili this weekend for the day. He is in underwear and the only accident he had was on the ride up when we didn't get stopped to pee on time. He is still doing #2 in a diaper and seems to wait till naps but that issue is next. Cliff notes on what we did:
1 - got a dozen pairs white undies and stopped with the diapers. (except at nap and night)
2 - set a timer and tried every 20 minutes. If he fussed we sat with him and read a story or played playdough in the bathroom.
3 - Gave him LOTS of liquid so there would be lots of opportunities for success.
4 - Let him pick his "special treat" with each success.
5 - I stayed home this whole week and only did errands when my DH got home - then he continued the process to give me a break.
6 - #2 we let him finish his meal and wait 10 minutes and then put him on the pot for 10 min. w/a timer and sit with him. He's not ready yet but I read a post that that is the way to get their little bodies ready to go #2 after meals. And in a couple weeks their bodies will just be ready to do it.

Sorry so long - but in conclusion. My little guy is SO VERY STUBBORN. But this has worked in a week. It had everything to do with our gentle determination and consistency. He doesn't need the timer now - he tells us he needs to go. He went in strange bathrooms yesterday at museums without missing a beat AND asked us to stop to use the potty (we took his and used a parking lot) on the long ride home. He now wakes up in the morning and from naps dry - eventhough he's in a diaper for back-up.WOW - so be encouraged - we are AMAZED. I got my tips from www.thepottytrainer.com and this website. Blessings, S.

LATER UPDATE: I would pick a different special treat. I'd still stick with the chocolate but 1 M&M would work each time. The kisses and miniatures were binding - so it became a problem for a couple of days trying to train him for #2. We have stopped the candy altogether because he gets it now. We have switched to his other favorite thing - coins. Now he gets to get a penny or nickle from a jar for his bank with each success. Changing up the reward has enhanced his desire to stay dry. The BIG payoff for #2 on the pot will be a $1 gold coin. Then he can take all of it and buy a toy - 2 benefits - going potty and saving for somethign you want. It's working - he asks to go even in new settings and last night Daddy took him to pee in a bush when we were not near a bathroom. My baby is growing up!

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G.T.

answers from Norfolk on

This may take a week and then you may need to clean the carpets after. My kids were all in cloth diapers or naked, so potty training was quick with all. Let your son go with no pants or underwear all day--and that includes no pull-ups. You can buy "chucks" at your local pharmacy and put it on his bed at night to save the mattress. Eventually, he will have to go, and will not like the feel of it running down his legs, so he should start using the toilet.

There are also the games you can play with boys. Put cheerios in the toilet--and ask him to sink them, etc.

Hope this helps.
G. T.

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R.U.

answers from Washington DC on

I read a book I believe its called "Toilet training in less than a day". Basicly the book teaches you to let your child train a toy(doll, stuff animal etc.) while you train the child. You have to find an area of the house that you don't mind accidents and no distractions and lots of his favorite drinks( to fill the bladder). Also you have to decide to not go back to diapers or pull ups which gives mixed messages. Along with treats and praises. Eventually you stop the treats and keep the praises. It worked for my son. I wish you lots of love and patience.

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A.P.

answers from Washington DC on

Boys are notorious for being hard to potty train. Even though your older son learned quickly it sounds like that won't be the case with this one. what might be helpful to you is to set a timer for every hour or so and take him to the bathroom or tell him to go depending on which one works. Potty training is not easy. I had to let my son run naked for about a month and a half before he would stop peeing in his underwear. To him wether it was a diaper, pull-up. or underwear he thought he was supposed to go potty in it. He is doing o now he still has day accidents and we still have to tell him to go to the potty. As far as your son going to school in September goes doesn't it really only matter that he is trained during the day? What helped my son start going number 2 on the potty was when he went in his diaper, pull-up, underwear or on the floor we took it to the potty and he got to say bye-bye to it and flush the toilet. He was rewarded with really cool stickers at first too. It took a bit to find stickers that motivated him but animals worked for us. Good luck to you and your son.

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B.C.

answers from Washington DC on

If at all possible - clear out 4 days straight where you do nothing but potty train. Set a timer in 20 minute intervals - at each ring of the timer - say "It's Potty Time" very cheerfully and have the older one join in on the "fun" - make it as enjoyable of an experience as possible. Do this for at least 4 days straight. DO NOT revert to a pull-up - only at sleep times - during this intensive training. It is a priveledge to wear underwear and a diaper is just a comfort zone - it's there so he uses it - if it's not there - he has no choice! Making a HUGE deal of it when he does go to the bathroom on the potty - and congratulating him - singing a potty song - I used to sing a rendition of "My Girl likes to party all the time" - I would change it to My guy likes to potty all the time.....he's such a big guy - he uses the potty all the time" - cheesey yes - but it worked and he still sings it sometimes. Just be patient - and consistent! Those are the keep words! Best to you and your son!

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C.W.

answers from Washington DC on

This is sounds like he has turned this into a battle of the wills. With my daughter who was driving me nuts at 3 months after her third birthday, we took my preschool director's advise. No pullups except at bedtime, make a big deal about undies (after many many pairs, she finally loved the Dora ones), get a portable toddler potty (let him pick it out). Pick a time when you know he will have to go. Restrict him to the room (we picked the kitchen) until he goes in the potty. Find a reward he will like (my daughter was a sucker for tastykakes and ho hos that we called potty treats). I was really skeptical at first, but within 10 minutes of being stuck in the kitchen, she stompted her foot and said "fine, I'll go potty" went and dragged the potty into the kitchen, slammed it down and went. We made a big deal out of it calling daddy and Grandma and giving the treat. She was potty trained (pee) from that moment on. We also put a potty in the living room (you loose all modesty and privacy when potty training) and it stayed there for a few months until I felt she was fully there. For #2, we had to find out the reason for the delay and it was that she had somehow bonded with the poop and didn't like seeing it flushed down the toilet. I think we told her something like the poop was going to a party with other poops and she would see him later. She also liked the ho ho treat that was reserved for poops. Maybe his butt hurts sitting that long on the toilet so you may want to add some fiber to his diet to make it quicker coming. Good luck--at 3 1/2 he is ready for this.

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J.B.

answers from Washington DC on

I have a 4 year old with impacted bowels who has been on two different laxatives for the past month and a half. He's in this condition because he didn't want to go poopie on the potty and he's been holding it in... he has been going peepee very well, more and more often on his own, I just hear the flush and help him snap and zip if necessary. He has yet to go poopie on the potty. Of course, I'm not even asking him to these days, because the important part is to get it out of there! The doctor said it has probably stretched the lower intestine too much already and he may not have the sensation that he needs to go until it's too late. It will get better on its own if we can get it cleared out, but after a month of laxatives, the X Ray showed him still completely full. He's been a real trooper about taking his meds... luckily it doesn't have a taste or color, so he doesn't really realize he's taking it.

You want advice? DO NOT FORCE HIM. :) My mom said she was afraid she would have to send my older brother to college in a diaper, but of course, he had it figured out well in advance of Kindergarten. My little guy starts preschool in September, and I've been concerned about it, but really, it's only 3 hours and he can wear a pull up if I say so. It would be nice to have this behind us (so to speak) but we will just have to be patient patients until then.

Good luck and be patient... your little one sounds like mine... will not be told what to do. Soon, I think, it will become their own decision, and that will be that.

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K.C.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter will be 4 in September and we've been fully trained for a long time (pee and poop), except at night. Fortunately she only pees at night so I feel for you in the other department:-) I've tried several times to go undies at night, but revert back to pull-ups. I have another friend who tried the aforementioned M&M method, one each morning, and it worked for her. Also, previous advice I've seen is to put on two sets of linens (sheet and mattress pad) so that all you have to do is strip one set off in the middle of the night, which takes a little of the work off of you.

We're working up to going cold turkey, too, because I think the pull-up is just a crutch. I hear boys are a bit harder to train, especially in the poop department, so good luck. My friend's son (one of boy/girl twins) thought his insides were coming out when he pooped in the potty, so it really scared him. Maybe that's an issue for yours?

Good luck...e-mail me if you need moral support:-)
K.

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J.B.

answers from Cheyenne on

Try not using a pull up at night and placing the potty chair in his bedroom.

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C.L.

answers from Charlottesville on

My suggestion is to have him be bare-bottomed all day. (put on a long t-shirt if you have close neighbors) Spend the weekend outside in your yard, play in the sprinkler, etc. This will show him exactly what is happening when he does go pee or poop and you don't need to worry about cleaning up after him. He obviously has the muscle control to hold it if he is waiting until his nighttime pull up. Give him lots of water to drink in the morning so he can't hold it that long and he has to pee. That will give him more practice. If my son was wearing anything on his bottom (underwear, shorts, etc.) he thought he could pee in it. And don't be afraid of accidents. They will only help him learn quicker.

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F.B.

answers from Charlottesville on

Relax and don't push. If he'll be in underwear during the day, leave him in that and if he has an accident, just clean it up. Only respond when he goes in the potty by himself, with clapping, saying I'm so proud of you, etc. Then get rid of the pull-ups, they're diapers that you step into, that's all. For night get training pants, target sells some with a plastic cover on the outside, then put a plastic liner on the mattress. We did this over one long weekend and by the end of it my son was totally potty trained because he was ready and he did it. If your son goes on the potty when told but not on his own, he may just not be ready, try giving him a bit. This is a developmental and control issue and you won't win in the battle of this will, because they can control it. Don't punish the behavior won't get better and then they'll do it to seek negative attention. Since we totally potty trained him, with swimming season here he started wetting again in his sleep (probably too much pool water, but that's another issue) so we went back to pull-ups overnights, but only after he would go potty on his own then get right into bed, and since he had gone so long without a diaper, he's ready to get rid of it in the morning and goes potty as soon as he wakes up. Good luck!!

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M.R.

answers from Washington DC on

Be careful about pushing too hard. Going potty can be a control issue. My nephew was forced to train by his parents so he could go to preschool and to this day if anyone even hints or suggests he uses the potty (like before leaving the house)he throws a tantram and it has been 3 years since he was trained.

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E.T.

answers from Washington DC on

Hmmnn... by "pull-up" do you mean "pull-up" diaper? And, I think you said he does not pee or poop in his underwear all day...

So, it seems to me that he is a smart kid. He knows that diapers are to pee and poop in... but underwear should not be peed/pooed in.

I would go cold turkey on the pull up diapers and just use training pants or underwear. It sounds like he has been conditioned to pee/poop in his pull up/diapers.... so stop using the pull ups. The diapers absorb and protect against leakage... so it is not as uncomfortable for him when he doesn't go to the potty.

It will require some more clean up time initially, but I think it might be time. He seems ready to take the next step. If I am misinterpreting your request, please clarify!

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M.B.

answers from Norfolk on

I have to tell you, I am sort of in the same boat. Our son is 3 and he was potty trained and then he reverted just the last 2wks and we don't know why. So what working for us this time is a reward system. We used puffy stickers for #2 in the potty the first go around and now we are using natural organic lollipops as the reward. He tends to go right before a nap or bed time...so he knows he gets it but it has to wait til he gets up from his sleep. We of course do the YEA and HIGH 5, but he remembers the lollipop! He will wake from sleeping all night (a normal sleep cycle, not getting up early either) to tell you he gets his lollipop from the night before. I have a stepbrother that used Thomas Trains as rewards (that was expensive but they make some $$ and it WORKED for them..thier son was very very stubborn). So find a reward that he wants..he desires and have him agree to the terms by having him tell you how he can earn the reward.

Good luck!

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J.C.

answers from Richmond on

Sounds like he is clearly holding it and this is nothing but a power struggle for him. He is simply not going to do it because that is what you want him to do. My suggestion would be to give him an incentive to pee in the potty. A reward! Potty training, in my opinion, is the one time that rewards are the best way to go. Both of my girls (and I know tons of other moms that did this too) responded to candy. If they pee pee in the potty they could have a (ONE) Hersey Kiss. Poo Poo in the potty will get two kisses. or something similar to that. If his "currency" is not candy or "treats" - then figure out what it is. Example: matchbox cars: new cars if you use the potty for certain amount of days.. or something to that effect. He is way old enough to totally get this!! If its video games he likes. He can earn video time.. or a new game.

As a general rule I don't believe in "punishing" kids re: potty training. But if you truly believe that he is purposely disrespecting your wishes, I wouldn't be against a consequence for only pooping with the pull up. Fair warning has to be given. As you give him the pull up at night, warn him that he will lose a toy or privilege or whatever.. if he doesn't put his poop in the potty where it belongs.

Remember.. privacy is huge for some kids, make sure you are letting him alone for this time. And at this age, I am not against making them clean up their own mess if they have an "accident" They are old enough to know when they have to pee and stop playing to go do it.

Good luck

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L.D.

answers from Norfolk on

We've got wonderful moms out there giving great advise, and resources! My condensed reply to you...
1. Relax for a week or so... no pressure... only diapers/pull ups. Note what times he has B.M.
2. Find something he really wants and is not currently getting.
3. Talk about the positive points of using the toilet... be excited about when he'll be a big boy. (does he know school depends on this?? Does he like school?)
4. Talk about how messy/sticky it is to mess in pants.
5. Find/rent/borrow potty videos and books... make it fun.
6. Bribery works. (Do whatever works!) We tackled the doo-doo FIRST w/bribes of shopping for his favorite toy... he was so motivated it was amazing. (even his favorite candy didn't get that much response). And we now use the star stickers and chart that came with the potty... praising and promising another play thing he wants when the chart is all filled up.
7. Pick a long weekend when DADDY can drink and pee w/him... sink cheerios standing in front of toilet.
8. Warm weather makes for less clothing. Play and pee outside. Also, you can try for success while still in pull ups... or wear panties inside pull ups. Graduate to his favorite undies when he's starting to get the hang of it.
9. Prior to the big weekend w/Daddy, help him get small successes w/ just going pee one time a day in the toilet/potty... first thing in the morning or just before bath.
10. Remember, every child is different... try any suggestions you're comfortable with... be patient with yourself and him; it'll be better in the long run.

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J.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Do not i repeat do not let him put a pull up back on...it is giving him the ability to know that he has a back up plan...my son was the same way until he realized that he wasn't getting anymore pullups...all you are doing is setting him back... Also, get him in to the mode of when he uses the bathroom he has to (help)with the clean-up. My daughter did not like the feel of having to help get the #2 off of her bottom...it also taught her cleanliness.

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R.L.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi C., my son would not #2 in the toliet and he would not urinate in the toliet unless we reminded him. He wouldn't have an accident, he was to busy to take the time to go to the bathroom. I first started by laying down a bathroom routine that he had to go into the bathroom and pull his pants down and try. If he didn't fine, if he did fine but every day I made him go into the bathroom in the morning, before lunch, before quiet time and before dinner. Turns out he is great at holding it, but active boys are just to busy to even think about it.

We had a much harder time with #2, he could and he would if he was naked, but if he had underwear or a pull up on he would poop in it. NOTHING worked, bribery, reward charts, praise, making him change himself, it didn't phase him at all. I think it was several things, #1 he as a "stand up pooper" rather than a squater so I think it was harder for him to get used to sitting down, #2 he loves banana's, apples, cheese, and all snacks that seem to constipate - I took all of them out of his diet so things would move easier, and #3 I started explaining poop to him. Gross yes, I didn't love the conversation but he loved learning about how the entire system works and identifying what was coming out of his body.

Good luck and be patient!

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S.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Get rid of the pull-ups. It sounds like he has plenty of control. Make it all or nothing. If he ends up having lots of night wetting, then you can always go back to the pull-up. But right now it sounds like he is fully in control and just doesn't want to. Have a big boy party and spend the whole weekend in underwear.

I am the first to say not to push your kids and wait until he is ready - but it sounds like it is worth a try. Once he knows that you REALLY expect him to use the potty (no more diapers), then he may do it. Just don't make it a battelground. I know external deadlines are hard to deal with, but you have to do what is right for him.

My daughter fully trained right before her third birthday. We had a naked underwear-only weekend taking her to the potty every hour or so. Lots of build-up with discussions and books and buying underwear. On day two, she was going to the potty on her own. We did do pull-ups at night, but I noticed that she was usually dry in the am. We told her she could have one M&M each morning that she worke dry for 10 days, and then pick out new underwear and pajamas. She was night-trained in about 1 week. BTW, I am normally not a fan of food rewards - I think they send a bad message. But since she almost never had candy (at that point, probably just during the last Halloween), it made a big impression. What would motivate him?

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