Potty Training a Boy Who Is 2 and a Half

Updated on August 17, 2007
L.O. asks from Cottage Grove, MN
12 answers

Any tips on potty training? Are pull-ups a good idea? How does one get the child to tell us when he needs to go potty before doing in in the diaper?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

For 2 days we tried everything from pull-ups, which he thought was another form of a diaper, to underwear. He wanted to wear the underwear and liked them but he had no idea they were not diapers. He had about 5 accidents in a row and then he requested to wear the pull-ups instead. Then he requested to have diapers on a day later. He seems torn between wanting to be independent and being a "baby". Seeing his baby sister wearing diapers doesn't help. He is now able to put on his clothes better and he is able to take his diaper and pull-ups off and on mostly by himself. That much is accomplished. I also learned that a piece of candy is great incentive to get him to sit on the toilet. Sometimes he will tell us he needs to go to the bathroom and does the job when he wants a piece of candy. However, he just isn't wanting to all the time and isn't mentally fully ready yet. He is back in diapers. We have come a long way and have learned a lot but still have a ways to go. Thank you to all those for advice and support.

Featured Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

We made the switch overnite from diapers to underwear (still wears diapers when he sleeps). I thought it worked well. We had him watch a potty video for weeks ahead of time to prepare for the big day when he made the switch. When we did make the switch, all we did was stay home -close to the potty and learned to use it.

We had accidents at first and still do occassionaly but I think it's better than pull ups because they leak and get messy too!

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

If he shows the signs of being ready, go for it. Our son is daytime potty trained now at 2 yrs 7 months. Just finished the "poopy" phase in the last 3-4 weeks. He was peeing fine for months but not pooping. There are some potty readiness articles on sites like www.babycenter.com.
I don't think one set of tools works for every kid. We used all of the following:
1) leaving one kids potty on one floor and another on the lower level (always making potties easy access)
2) We had a portable bottle (old tall plastic salsa bottle decorated with stickers) for when we went to the park (if we wanted him to tell us, we needed to be ready to respond both at home and away)
3) we played potty videos
4) we read potty books (like "where's the poop")
5) we modeled potty behavior for him, both mom and dad
6) we let him sit on the potty if he wanted to watch a short kid video (just helped him get comfortable sitting, both in his diaper and naked)
7) when we knew we had long stretches of time to work with him, we let him run around naked or with no pants. There were a few accidents but we were there to watch and cleaned it up fast.
8) lots of praise (stickers, high-fives, potty dances & songs by mom and dad, calls to grandma and grandpa), no scolding.
9) When we just could not make the transition to pooping, we used a big paper bag with "poopy potty presents".
10) We let him use his potty, the travel potty bottle or any of our toilets if he wanted, regardless of what was easier or closer for us.
11) We do use underwear now during the day but remind him frequently if he needs to go potty, he should tell us.
12) We told him if he pooped before or during his nap, he should call out to us saying, "Mommy/Daddy I am poopy" and we will come change him. It helped him get used to being dry and clean most of the time and preferring that feeling to wet or dirty.
13) We used pull-ups for a bit and did not find them any benefit to potty training. The only positive for us was when we were out and about, sometimes it is easier to change a standing kid with a pull up than trying to find a clean table to lay a kid and change a diaper. It was a convenience thing for those occasions for us, not a potty training value. Underwear and lots of naked time really helped.
14) We talked positively about big potty habits of the neighborhood kids and other slightly older kids he knew and admired. We avoided saying things like, "just babies use diapers, big kids use a potty, etc." because it associated positive traits with someone else he looked up to and kept it non-personal.

Poopy Presents-
When we tried that earlier, and he got to see the surprises, he would not try and sit and poop but now wanted the surprises and he got upset. We waited and tried it again later. One day he asked, as always, "mommy I want a diaper so I can go hide and poop", I offered a poopy potty present. I told him there were trains in the bag. He wanted to see in the bag, so I finally showed him. He jumped off the floor, ran into the bathroom to his potty and pooped. He did that 4 times that stretch and got 4 Thomas train engine presents (that was not how I envisioned it happening but I ran with it, changed up the presents the following day when I realized he was smart and pooped a small piece, showed us, got a present, and repeated the cycle). The surprises became stickers, single Hershey kisses, and other small odd and end toy items. Today, 3-4 weeks later, he is peeing and pooping during the day on our toilets and even other toilets out and about, he wears underpants anytime we are not driving a long period of time (15-20 minute rides he does wear underwear), and he tells us he needs to go before he goes.

Make sure he is ready and showing all the signs of readiness first otherwise it can be a battle. I know some kids are ready earlier and our son showed some signs early but still was not ready for more until recently.

Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

I've been told many many times that teaching boys is harder and takes longer than girls. I only have two boys so I can't argue. However, my 4y5m boy has only in the last month graduated to big boy underwear. He is autistic, which made it a special challenge, but be sure that your son is ready to train before you start. I worked for a pediatrician who told all the parents who asked about when to train, "you can start your child at 2 and he/she should be consistently trained by 3. Or you can start training at 3 and he/she will be trained soon after."

Potty training... or shouldn't we call it teaching?...training sounds like having a puppy.... anyway, it can be very stressful no matter what you call it. Especially if your child isn't ready. If you decide to go with pullups, I recommend the ones that get cool when they go potty. It helps them connect the feeling of having to pee with the resulting wet diaper.

Good luck. Just keep reminding yourself, how many older kids do you see in diapers? You're son and daughter will figure it out sooner or later.



answers from Minneapolis on

Don't use pull ups except for nightime or when you have to go somewhere that you can't deal with the mess of an accident, they just teach kids they can still go in there pants because it doesn't make a mess. Start by putting a potty chair in the living room or somewhere he is a lot as a reminder, every 2 hours just put him on it whether he goes or not, this will help him understand more. After he gets the concept start with wearing underwear and yes there will be accidents you will have to clean up but they hate feeling all wet and it wont take long for him to figure out not to go in his pants.



answers from Minneapolis on

Don't even bother starting unless he is showing interest without prompting, it will only frustrate you and him. If you have a little potty then set it out or have him come pick one out at a store with you. If he shows interest in using it then follow his lead. You can suggest set intervals in which he goes and tries sitting on it, but if he resists then stop. It will only backfire if you push or force potty time. When he is ready, he will learn quickly but some boys do need incentives.

My son was on again off again when it came to potty usage. He showed interest at 22 months and loved using the potty then quit and refused to even try. I had to back off for 3 months. Then he started trying again, quit, etc. This pattern went on until he finally learned at 3 years/10 months. We tried sticker incentives, praise, schedules...it was all wasted on him. Finally this spring he seemed like he was getting it but had one last hold up. He HATED to interrupt playing in order to use the bathroom. So I introduced potty treats (candy at first and then some healthy treats he chose at the co-op). Between the treats and having races to the potty it became fun enough for him to be willing to part with his toys briefly for a trip to the potty. The treats naturally trailed off once he was successful on a daily basis.

Be very wary of anyone who tells you that just because your son is 2.5 that is very ready to be potty trained. Like any other childhood milestone, kids are ready at very different ages.



answers from Minneapolis on

i have a 2yr 4m girl....we started with pullups for a few months and then started with underware when we noticed she was dry a lot. putting her on the potty about every couple of hours...she has transitioned pretty good with only a few accidents. she is now, within the last week telling us she needs to go and it getting on the potty by herself. she wants a diaper to go poop, but we will cross that bridge soon.

my point is...try pullups for a while so he gets used to the mechanics of taking off underware and then switch to underware soon. the characters are a bonus and they usually are pretty excited about them! be ready for accidents, and make a big deal when then pee on the toliet....they are pretty proud of themselves...oh and a start chart of some kind helps too!



answers from Minneapolis on

My son who is 3 (turned 3 in june) had no interest in using the toilet at all..until I bribed him with underwear. I told him he could wear underwear like Papa or he could get even cooler underwear with Lightning McQueen on them or Thomas the Train. Then I talked about this for about a week before I went and did anything. Then he told me he was ready to buy his underwear and ready to use the toilet to go potty. So we went to target and he picked out his own. When he put the underwear on, I told him if he had an accident we would put the diaper back on.

We tried pull-ups before but really found them to be a waste of money and not actually helpful.

He is a potty training dream. He has been wearing underwear for a month and he has only had one accident (at day care the first underwear day). He still wears a diaper at night and during his nap. But he now wakes up from his naps dry and will even wait to go to the bathroom if we are driving and cannot pull over. Then we just find an appropriate place to him to go.



answers from Minneapolis on

Sounds like a similar situation...my son is now 3.5 and my daughter is 19 months. My daughter spent a lot of time with us in the bathroom :) A couple of things I learned...pull-ups were not good for us. They taught my son that he could go "just a little bit" in the pull up before going on the potty. To this day we still struggle with that. Another tip...rewards! We did M&Ms (1 for pee, 3 for poop) and stickers and a potty party complete with a new toy, balloons, and a pancake breakfast the day he gave all his diapers to his sister.
Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Is he showing signs of being ready? We tried with my guy when he was 2.5 and he would scream if we tried to put him on it. We waited until he made the move. He was naked after bath and told us he had to go potty. With that we did an incentive program, if he went a week he would get a special toy. Did the same with pooh. He had issues with pooping in the potty chair and would wait until bedtime when we put a nappy on him.

Don't push him. It will go so much easier when he is ready.



answers from Minneapolis on

They are ready to be potty trained when they have interest, mimmic mom or dad, can verbally tell you they need to go and are waking up from nap time or other times dry. Age is not a factor when they are ready body control and communication is a bigger factor.

When he wakes up in the morning dry or from nap dry have him use the potty, that's a great way to get started then after he's mastered that start working using the potty at other times and through out the day.

Then when he's got that down good try underpants, and if he makes a mistake in those don't rush to change him quick let him get uncomfortable and not like being wet or poopy, have him be responsible for his actions and messes and help you clean this up. After realizing that sitting in wet undies is really uncomfortable and then having to clean it up he won't want to do that anymore. It's not a fun game.

Pull-Ups are a waste of money and make it so incredably comfortable that kids don't mind urinating in them. They also cost more than diapers and a are a pain to change because you have to remove their pants and shoes.

Talk alot with your little guy, while changing his diaper say "Oh I see you went poop" Stuff like that and maybe tell him when you need to use the bathroom as sorta a role model. When he looks like he's using his diaper ask him "Are you going potty in your diaper"

From my experiance people rush potty training to much and if you try to train a kid that's not ready it's 10x harder and 10x more frustrating. Wait til they give you signs they're ready. Once you know they are fully capable then it's ok to be a bit pushy. You just can't rush things. If they need a pullup to leave the house, or to take a nap they are not potty trained they are in the process. So don't let that fool you when people brag that they potty trained they're kids early they're kids weren't really trained the parents were.

If your really itching to try pullups Huggies has or did have a size5 diaper/pullup combo you could use it either way, it slid off nicely or you could use the elastic tape and put it on like a diaper that's the only product I would recommend. It wasn't really a diaper or a pullup but a mix.


answers from Minneapolis on

By 2 1/2 he is for sure ready, go for it! Pull-ups are a waste of money, don't bother with them. If you want to potty train, let him pick out a few packages of underwear and go for it. He won't tell you right away he neesd to pee, just take him every hour or so at first, then gradually stretch the time out between potty breaks. At his age it shouldn't take too long to get it down and begin telling you, but remember he will still need help in the bathroom with wiping, and getting pants back on right. Make it a fun thing, go potty, wash hands, get a treat, put a sticker on the chart, yay for potty!!! :)

Both my boys were trained before 2, we practice elimination communication and it wasn't stressful or hard, they were both verbal enough by 18 months to tell me they had to go. My youngest has been consistent with potty adn in undies since 15 months old.

So I say go for it, he'll do great. There will be accidents, but if you stick with it, be positive and consistent, in no time at all he'll be going potty. :)



answers from Minneapolis on

We started actively potty training my son in October when he was 2years 4 months. We knew he was ready when he would go hide to pee or poop. We started off by having him watch daddy use the bathroom and also consistently had him go to the toilet as soon as he woke up at night and from nap and before bed. After he was starting to consistently pee at those times I started taking him to the bathroom to pee every hour. I would also ask him if he needed to pee. I gave him lots of praise when he peed in the toilet. He was wearing pull-ups while we were training too. Once he was peeing in the toilet and telling us we moved to pooping. He would run in his room and hide when he needed to poop so I just caught him before he did it in the pull up and put him on the toilet instead. Now it is to the point where we don't have to ask him if he needs to go he either goes on his own or announces he needs to go and asks for help. He's still wearing pull ups at night though so we're working on that. Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches