Potty Training 3 Year Old Daughter

Updated on January 02, 2014
J.G. asks from Bellevue, NE
8 answers

I know so many people ask these questions but I really need advice...

I started potty training my 3 year old daughter (turned 3 in November) 4 days ago. She showed some signs of readiness but not really wanting to sit on the potty. Would just hide when she pooped or come and tell you after she pooed. Day 1 took a minute to get her to sit on the potty but then she was accident free all day. I set the timer every 30 mins or so even though occasionally she would go on her own but would never tell me I "have" to go. She didn't poo on this day. Day 2 she had 3 accidents one being poo and we set the timer about half the day. Again she never really said I "have" to go. Yesterday she had 3 pee accidents no poo. We are having her sleep in a pull up even though she fights us. She wants to wear underwear but she wakes up wet and doesn't get up to go potty in the night. This morning she refused to sit on the potty. I let her go and she ate her breakfast then started to watch tv. Her potty chair is currently in the living room because she won't use it in the bathroom and won't use a big toilet. I convinced her to go potty on a different princess potty in the bathroom that I just got out. And she went potty on her own one more time after that. We haven't left the house in 4 days and I'm going crazy as are the kids. I want to be able to leave the house and go places!

Do we just keep up with what we are doing and keep handling the accidents when we leave the house? It's frustrating every morning I can't get her to go. Is she going to regress when the baby arrives in less 9 1/2 weeks? I'm keeping my patience in check even though it's been very difficult. Please help me (pregnant mama is stressed)!

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answers from Toledo on

I'd go back to setting a timer, at least for a few days or even a week. It might be awhile before she really gets that feeling.

I've often heard the suggestion of letting them go bare bottom. When I trained my oldest, I spent the first day cheering every time he peed (no matter where or how much of a mess he made) because he needed to understand and learn to recognize that feeling of needing to pee.

Hang in there, but know that she really might regress no matter how well trained she is. New baby is going to be a huge change in her life!

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answers from New York on

What's the source of her reluctance to sit on the potty? It sounds like that's really the problem. I'd recommend tying potty-sitting to something special. Read her a special story when she's on the potty. If that doesn't work or isn't feasible, let her watch a certain show if and only if she's on the potty. And, bribery. My son trained at 3, and we gave him a skittle for every "success." I normally don't even keep candy in the house, but desperate times call for desperate measures ;).

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answers from Tampa on

My oldest potty trained at 2...probably a month before her sister was born...and there was no regression at all as far as potty training. Of course, we had been "prepping" her on being a big sister...and potty training was part of that "big sister" step. I think it took her about 4 days to get it down. We did the bare bottom method.

However, she didn't really 'know" that she had to "go" until she was a couple months into it. Especially when she has engrossed in something. I just made her go every so often. Usually, first thing when they wake up. And as they get the hang of it, you can increase the intervals in which you sit them on the potty.

Going out was always scary the first few months, but as others have said, just go before you leave, maybe do a potty stop when you're there (or have a short trip). Be prepared to leave your cart and take a trip to the store restroom. :)



answers from Denver on

I know YOU want her to be trained for the new sibling's arrival. Either she isn't ready OR she is doing this on purpose b/c she senses change and it's something she does control. Either way, I would explain that the potty is there for her to use (in the bathroom) when she has to go. In the meantime go back to pull ups or diapers and take the pressure off of her. She'll do it when she's ready, and I agree pushing doesn't help. I had one train at 22 mos (oldest - daughter) and one just after he was 3.5 - (boy, but he just wasn't ready. He only had two accidents when he decided it was time). Good luck and congrats on the new little one on the way soon!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Please realize you're the one pushing her.

Kids at her age that get new siblings regress so no matter what you accomplish right now she's going to be back in diapers in a few weeks.

Take it easy on yourself. This is too much of a battle, she's also going to win.

Tell her she does not get to choose at bedtime. You're her boss so just make her put them on. It's as simple as that. Tell her she is going to wear them and that's that.

Then just encourage her to go but don't follow her around with the potty. She's not going to do it because it's all the focus right now. When the baby comes she'll be wanting attention and it might work out where she'll start going after a month or two.

It will happen.

Just think of it this way. More laundry for you is more work and a LOT more cost than a box of pull ups. You will have the new baby to take care of and cleaning up pee and pooh all the time and adding at least 1-2 loads of laundry per day will push your laundry costs up, your utilities will go up, and your time will be used up standing in front of the dryer waiting for yet another load of clothes to get folded.


answers from Jacksonville on

Is she aware that in a short time there will be a new sibling? What is her temperament towards that situation? Is she excited? If she has some confused feelings about it, maybe right now isn't the time to be trying to potty train.

If she is otherwise ok with it, then I agree with the commenter who suggested you need to figure out the reason she is reluctant to sit on the potty. Neither of mine really cared for "potty chairs." One didn't care for the regular toilet either, but she was FINE if I put a seat attachment on it. And she trained at 2. Actually, she was basically finished training on her 2nd birthday and in "training pants" type underwear already. She never really had accidents, but I was expecting them, so I kept her in those thick waffle weave cotton underpants for a bit, when really, she didn't need them.

My son was trained not long after age 2, and was fully trained before age 3... and did not have ANY regression issues of any kind when his little sister was born 2 weeks before his 3rd birthday. So don't assume that she will regress because of the birth of a sibling. There is more to regression than JUST that. However, since she is new to potty training and the birth is so close, you might be more likely to have issues. My son was an old hand at it when his sister was born, and I suspect that was part of the reason he had no issues. But he didn't regress in other ways, either. Maybe some of that is personality?

We went the route of using candy. Stickers were more of a hassle for me than anything. So I bought lifesavers. Kids want to have some control. If the only thing they can control is using the toilet... well than that is what they will use to exert their control/power. My kids got a "say" in other things. And using the potty afforded them another way to get choices: they got to choose which candy they wanted. The package was mixed flavors, and all the pretty colors were a fun thing for them to choose from. As soon as the deed was done and hands washed... straight to the kitchen to pick a candy from a clear baggie. Quick. Simple. Their power/control/choice.

Eventually, they don't care about the candy... but they are in the habit of being clean/dry and pleasing you. :)

Good luck. And congrats on the one on the way..



answers from Detroit on

my kids got it on day 3.. but I had to tell them to go the potty on a schedule for months.. this is normal.

they do not know the feeling .. I have to go.. before they are already wet and it is too late.

sorry you are stuck at home.. but this is part of the training.. after a week or so.. you can venture out.. but have her pee before you leave.. pee when you get to the destination.. and don't stay long..

poo training is different.. may come eeasily.. may take a long time. staying dry at night.. is totally different.. you cannot train her at night.. her brain must mature to wake her up to go.. one of my kids was dry at 3.. one is wet at 8..



answers from New York on

Try for a lot of sweet/ salty treats to get her to drink and therefore need to void more. Sometimes an outing, with frequent potty stops can help cement the process.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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