Potty Training 2 1/2 Yr Old

Updated on July 22, 2010
A.C. asks from Milwaukee, WI
12 answers

We just put our 2 1/2 yr old daughter in underwear about 5 days ago. She was really excited about the underwear and loves picking them out every day. She's had accidents every day and has only actually gone on the potty a couple times. I find myself bribing her sometimes to sit on the potty because she doesn't always want to and I don't like that; we have her trying about every 30 minutes. I just want to know how to get her more motivated to want to sit on the potty and to actually go. Maybe she's not ready yet? I don't know. Also, she's still in diapers for her nap and at night, and she seems to be saving her poop for those times; is this normal? I don't want to put her in pullups or anything or really back in diapers because I think that will just confuse her. So I don't know; any advice would be helpful.

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answers from Sioux Falls on

We are going through the same thing right now. I have a daughter who was born in November 2005. She fought and fought with us on it. Now that she goes to daycare and sees other kids doing it things are getting better. Just hang in there. Eventually things will get better.

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answers from Des Moines on

Hi A.,

I usually try to have them going potty quite a bit before I start putting underwear on them...that way they actually know what they are trying to do before you expect them to be big girls or big boys. I'm pretty sure at 2 1/2 she is ready...she just isn't quite understanding it all yet. Pull-ups are okay, but just using diapers are fine. Yes, it is not unusual for her to still be pooping in her diaper...that is sometimes the hardest part of potty training...sometimes they do this at around the same time everyday, so if you can sit her on the potty about that time it might help.

I know you don't like to bribe her to go potty, but it works, and if it makes it easier for her and you, why not?! At my house, when they actually go potty they get a treat, like a smartie or an m&m, but only if they do their job. Think of it as a reward for a job well done. There is nothing wrong with positive responses to good things. I've noticed that sometimes we are right on top of getting after our children for doing something wrong, but when they do something good we forget to reward them for that, and we need to give them positive input as well. You have to be consistent with everything. Don't give in...make your rules and keep them. If you don't, children don't learn anything, and sometimes get confused, but usually they are so smart they know you will give in, so of course they keep trying to do it the easy way, and still get the reward.

Don't give up, she will surprise you one of these days and it will be like she has been doing it forever. Also, don't be surprised if after she seems to have it all figured out she has a set-back once in awhile. Just stick with your rules, and it won't last long.

Good Luck!




answers from La Crosse on

I thought my daughter was ready for the potty when she was that age but she actually didn't have the mind-body connection she needed for successful potty-training until she was closer to 3 1/2. From your description, I think maybe you could go back to diapers for a while but also let her continue to pick out underwear and get enthusiastic about being a person who uses the potty.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hmm, the advice I was given at ECFE and the modern day books seems to be "wait until your toddler is ready." The reality seems to be "your toddler will be potty-trained when the parent(s) are ready to have them potty-trained." You are best at knowing your child and their personality so do what you feel is best. By the way, don't think of it as "bribing". Instead, it's "goal-setting":)

My toddler is 3.5 yrs old. When he was 2.5 yrs old (last summer) he learned to go potty on his own. I didn't want to "train" him until he was 3 yrs old because I just didn't want the work (i.e. the battle of wills). I had already heard horror stories from friends who had boys and girls and said that the boys just were naturally "harder" to train. So, I just kept telling my little one last summer that he "wasn't old enough" to learn to go potty yet. He wanted to do it so he just began going potty on his own. (We had given him his own plastic potty when he was 2 so he was use to seeing it sitting there in the bathroom.In the beginning, he would put his toys in it and try sitting in it whenever I'd go potty just to keep mommy company.) Well, when Fall came around, he began going "potty" less and less and by the time winter came around, he just didn't want to do it anymore because it was too much work. My parents were horrified (they live 1500 miles away) as were my in-laws because they were use to the way things "use to be done" but I just explained that it was different these days. He wasn't motivated by any type of goal/bribe so I just dropped it. Then in the springtime, he suddenly began going potty everytime we'd have playgroup (weekly) because the girls in playgroup were already potty-trained. All of them would line up whenever one of hte girls had to go potty and then take turns going potty.

It sounds to me like you're doing the right thing. Personally, I found that when my child was 2.5 yrs old (last summer), he got more into the habit of going potty if I let him go without underwear and bottoms whenever we were home because he would then automatically want to go potty.



answers from Sheboygan on

I would back off for a little while, maybe 3-4 weeks. You don't want it to become a power struggle, which may be happening already? It doesn't sound like she wants to do it right now. Don't worry she will want to do it before she is in kindergarten! Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I am going through this with my 2 1/2 yr old boy too. He is actually further along than his sister was at her age. We put him in underware on the weekends and he has never had an accident. The problem is he will only go in "his" potty chair and no where else. He won't go on other toilets with a potty ring or even other potty chairs for that matter. I have tried and tried to bribe him to go either on the toilet at home or at daycare but to no avail. Just this week I decided to completely back off for a couple of weeks because I think it is stressing him out. We have always put him in either a pull up or diaper at nap time or overnight (and I think this is completely fine). He too tends to do the BMs at sleep time but I am not so worried about that because he has done BMs in the potty chair too.

My son is ready physically (can hold pee up to 4-5 hours) but not completely mentally (stresses about other pottys besides his own) so I will wait and try again later. If you do the same you shouldn't feel bad. They will be ready when they are ready. With my daughter we tried and tried like you but got nothing. We left it alone for a couple of months and then suddenly one weekend she was interested and by Monday she was trained.

Goodluck. Sometimes I think this is more stressful on the parents than the kids:)



answers from Davenport on


Hang in there! You are on the right track already. And I personally feel at 2 1/2 children are ready for using the big kid potty. I haven't met a child yet that will actually tell you "I want to be potty trained!" As far as treats go and "bribing", don't sweat it! Use it to your advantage! You seem to be doing right by taking her in about every 30min. Just be sure to tell her it's time to go, not ask her if she has to go, if you ask she can answer with a yes or no....and they always pick no then pee their pants! LOL! If it is a battle it may be that she really doesn't need to go in so often, try lengthening it.

I would offer her a treat(we use one m&m) for going in and sitting and another if she goes pee. A third if she poops, but pooping in the pants for a while is a common problem. I would concentrate on the pee first. Then write us again later for poop advice, LOL!

Her own success will be motivation enough once she sees how great it is to be a big girl and she gets to go potty like mommy and grandma or a favorite aunt. etc. Another motivator is to have her accidents become her responsibility, meaning SHE is the one who needs to be changing her clothes and wiping up any mess on the floor (of course you supervise this and help ONLY as needed, it needs to be her job). Some people think this is mean but they will learn much faster and have more pride in themselves if they are taking responsibility for their own body! I have always used this technique (about 16+ times) and haven't had a traumatzied kid yet!

Just be consistent and keep going, she will be potty trained before you know it!


answers from New London on

oops just noticed the DATE.. lol..



answers from Davenport on

A. why don't you start with something simple like stickers or a flavored cheerio. Every time your daughter goes to the "potty" and at least makes an attempt to go give her a few treats. If she actually goes potty then give her a little extra treat. My husband and I just potty trained our 3rd of 4 children each one was different. My sister and best friend gave each one of our children small gifts from the dollar rack at Target when they successfully potty trained and the kids loved it. hope this helps. And as my Dr. told me with #1 you never see a Kindergartner in a diaper. J. mom of 4



answers from Grand Forks on

Kudos to you for not putting her back in diapers or pull-ups! Is she comfortable with the potty chair you are using? Some children like potty chairs, others like the seats that go on the regular toilets, some just like the big toilets because it means someone needs to help them. when my granddaughter was potty training, we gave her Fruuit Snacks every time she went on the potty. She loved them, they are semi-healthy, and it took her about a day and a half to not wet in her pants anymore!!!She contuniued to enjoy fruit snacks for a few years after that-but never demanded them. I think it was a win-win situation!!



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter has just recently been potty trained. She turned 3 in May. I think she could have been potty trained sooner if we would have said, its time. We went back to pull-ups for a week and then did the program. What we did was a program called potty training in one day. The website is potty-training-in-one-day.com. It worked great. We had a special potty day. My husband and youngest went to grandmas for the day. My oldest and I spent the day playing games, reading books, and painting. She got to drink lots of juice and have special treats everytime she went potty. At the end of the day we had dad/sister come home and we had a big girl party. If you go to the website it has a lot of information on it. Many dont thinks this works but it did for her.If you have questions let me know.



answers from Milwaukee on

Befor I started potty training I was against giving candy for using the potty. That is what worked for my daughter. Every time she went pee in the potty she got one skittle and when she pooped she got two skittles. We put her in pull ups and just called them bed time underware for a little while but she was waking up dry so we did not use them anymore. After a while she forgot about the candy when she used the potty. Good Luck

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