Potty Advice Again

Updated on September 03, 2009
L.R. asks from Georgetown, MA
8 answers

Hi all:

Again, I'm wondering about suggestions for using the potty. My son is now 2 years and 8 months old. Some days he goes in the potty almost the entire day (both peeing and pooping). Other days, he actually refuses to use the potty. I have a rewards system for him that's more expensive than I think needs to be, but was working. He gets a Thomas the Train sticker every time he uses the potty and a train after ten potties.

If I leave him in underwear or in the house naked from the waist down he uses the potty a lot more often. As soon as I put a pull up on him to go out, he absolutely won't use the bathroom. Instead he's content just to poop and pee in the diaper. When he's had other babysitters such as day care or even a relative, he hardly ever goes for them.

We started the potty training early (not too seriously with videos and books) at 18 months. Then, at 22 months, I started to really attempt the training. He was actually less defiant then and went more often in the potty than now. It seems like he's certainly ready. He can go without using the bathroom for 3-4 hours with no accidents. I'd like to have him trained before number 2 arrives. Any suggestions...thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice in relation to the potty! I've actually ditched the pull-ups for the past few days and he's actually gone almost the entire day in the potty. I think we're on our way!

Featured Answers



answers from New London on

I know what worked for me was putting underwear on my girls. I never used pull-ups because they're too much like a diaper. I wish you luck. Potty training isn't fun!

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answers from Boston on

My advice is to get rid of the pullups. They make potty training very confusing for little ones. You said in your post that he does best when he doesn't have the pullups on, so explain that he's all done with diapers/pullups and on to big boy underwear. Keep up with whatever reward works for you, we used M&Ms (1 for trying and 2 for success). But be consistent and he will figure the potty thing out on his own. In two weeks, you'll be amazed at the transformation! Day and night trained, I swear.

To make the night transition easier on you, put a potty close to your little guy's room. Layer his bed with disposable waterproof pads and fitted sheets so if he has an accident you can strip off one layer and toss it in the tub and tuck him back in quickly. Skip after dinner drinks. He will adapt to night time training as easily as daytime training. Good luck!

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answers from Portland on

Have you tried transitioning to underwear rather than using pull-ups? They make underwear with additional padding in case of accidents which I think it sends a really clear message because they are so different and also, if they do have an accident, it's pretty uncomfortable and so there is added incentive to use the potty. It sounds like your son could be ready.

We used these with my son, who was at a similar stage as yours (and I was expecting our second too). We also had a great nursery teacher who was really consistent with him, so I think that helped a lot. Plus, he was in cloth diapers before using the underwear, so I think that helped too.

It seems like it might be worth using underwear for 1-2 weeks (hopefully choosing a time that isn't too busy or stressful) and just recognizing that he might have some accidents. If he does, the approach that worked for me was to simply acknowledge it very matter-of-fact "oh, you had an accident, do you want to sit on the potty now? no? okay, maybe next time you'll sit on the potty first" It sounds like you may have a bit of that "i'm almost three" defiance and you certainly don't want to encourage it in relation to potty training.

Good luck! I was nervous about attempting to get him using the potty before 3, but he seemed ready and once he did, he had almost no accidents and surprisingly even stayed dry at night.

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answers from Boston on

Take away the pullups. Get some training pants and rubber pants and see how that goes. You are sending cross signals with going back and forth with pullups. Pullups feel like a diaper, must be a diaper. You poop and pee in diapers. At night, you will need a waterproof mattress protector for his bed, and you'll have to get him up at least once to pee. Get rid of the pullups and muddle through the accidents, if any, for a few days.

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answers from Boston on

i've been potty training my daughter all summer (in preparation for preschool, shee turned 3 last week). i had to just bite the bullet and stop using pull ups about 1 month ago - because she knew they were "diapers" and just go in them.

i have the waterproof pad for her car seat, i have a potty in the back of my SUV (i have a laundry basket with the potty, extra underwear, plastic bags, wipes, extra pants/shorts etc.), i have her potty before we leave the house, and then if we're running errands, if we've been gone more than 1 hour,i have her try to pee in the car before errand.

and i'm about to order a travel potty seat to use on public toilets.

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answers from Hartford on

I have three kids. I found out the hard way to just let it go and let it happen naturally. If you push then it becomes a power struggle because it's something they can control.

Every morning i ask my 2.5 year old if she would rather wear a pull up or underpants. sometimes she says underpants.. and is potty trained all day and sometimes she will say pull-up and she will go in the pull up all day. More and more she is choosing the underpants all day long. But by making it her choice (fully knowing that she can control her movements) it takes away the power struggle and lets her have the control it will happen much faster and without a lot of grief.

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answers from Hartford on

I have to say that I agree about ditching the pullups. I used them with my first child, but not my second. It went much faster with my second. Pediatrician says they get too confused...do I have diaper on underwear? Get a "piddle pad" for the car, just in case and keep a little potty seat in the back of your car. We kept his backpack with a few changes of clothes/underwear there too. I did bribe him to go before we went out...jellybeans work wonders for my little guy. He seems ready, but it does have to be up to him.

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answers from Burlington on

Hi L.,

Good luck! Most boys I know weren't potty trained until age 4 or after.

: ) Maureen

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