Potty Training - Need HELP! - Saint Peters,MO

Updated on August 11, 2010
L.C. asks from Saint Peters, MO
20 answers

I've posted this question before and received about 10 very unhelpful responses - all of which were "Hang in there" sort of responses. I don't mean to sound rude but if you are going to respond to this post with a "well, just look at it this way - she won't be potty training when she's 14" response, then please don't waste your time or energy. I need only helpful suggestions at this point.

My daughter turns 3 in a week. We introduced the potty when she turned 2. For 1 year, we've been pulling our hair out. The girl will just NOT go on the potty! We've tried rewards such as stickers, M&M's, Jelly Beans, Ice Cream, trips to the park, trips to the pool, etc.. We've tried making diapers the "enemy", we've tried reading her books about potty, we've tried getting her to pee on cheerios, anything and everything we can think of.

About a week ago, she held it for 7 hours (stubborn!!)!!! My mother-in-law went downstairs to call her husband and I got up to use the bathroom, leaving her alone for 2 minutes. When I came out, she had peed on the floor.
We know she can hold it. We know she can tell when she has to go - she tells her teacher at school!! I just told my husband, "I think we need to talk to a child psychologist". I do not understand why she continues to do this. They say not to scold because it shatters their confidence on the potty, but shouldn't she know that this is not the behavior we want out of her? We've tried to drill it in her head for a year that she doesn't pee in panties, she pees in the potty. It's like it goes in one ear and out the other!


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answers from St. Louis on

I think that is just disgusting that parents are making 2-3 year old clean up their own mess! Potty training is a huge learning process that us parents just need to be very patient about.
I got fairly lucky with my daughter but still working with my 2 yr old son. The things that worked with my daughter were m&m's, reading while sitting on the potty, having her potty chart on the wall next to her potty, The Princess and the Potty book, and Once Upon a Potty for her DVD. I also let her pick out her own underwear, potty chair, and a potty seat for the toilet. One big thing that really worked for her was telling her if she didn't learn to go on the potty she would not be able to go to school.
good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Johnstown on

My sister had to start making my niece clean up her own messes if she went while she was in her underwear. It wasn't too long after that she decided she would just use the potty instead. Is it possible that you tell her you aren't even going to ask her about the potty...if she needs to go, she goes to the potty; if she makes a mess, she cleans it up?

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answers from Denver on

You've been at this for nearly a year? Whoweee you're both really stubborn! Kudos to both of you, with that kind of stamina both of you can move mountains if you want to! Seriously!

Since you don't want the "wait a while she'll come around" advice, even though most of the moms have prescribed it because it works, I'll say try the big girl tactic.

If she wants to be a big girl, and able to eat solid food, dress herself, play with big girl toys, not just rattles she'll need to use the toilet. Toilet = big girl toys, dresses, foods, etc. Diapers = two naps a day, purees, rattles, etc.

I will say this at the risk of ticking you off, but it needs to be said. You've turned this into a monumental power struggle with her. You want her to do something. She's showing you SHE is control of her own body. You can't make kids eat, sleep or go to the bathroom. It's pointless to force them, it just makes for a lot of frustration and tears on both sides. (and withholding elimination can cause some pretty serious medical issues) My guess would be, if you put her in diapers for a week, maybe two, and said NOT A SINGLE WORD about potty training -NOTHING- She'd do it on her own. GL in your decision.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

My daughter did this. I finally made her clean up and scrub the floor with me. I told her if she was going to pee or poop on the floor like an animal, then, she has to clean it up like she's cleaning up after an animal. I also made her start helping me wash her panties out after she did that. I thought I would never get her potty trained! After a few days of that though, she started using the potty. I let her pick out her own special stool to step up on once she was consistently a "big girl". I did not reward each time, but, rather once she displayed that she would forever potty for me like she did at the daycare. Good luck mama!

I just want to add- when they are pottying at daycare, but not at home, they are OBVIOUSLY potty trained. For some reason, some kids try to "play" their parents longer. The key is finding a way to make it stop. I think it is disgusting when a kid pees on the carpet when they know how to go potty in a toilet and do so with everyone except when they are at home. If they are old enough to play a parent like that, they are old enough to HELP clean up their mess!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I don't know if this is helpful or not, but I'll give you our experience. First, I'll tell you that the average of potty training is 4 (at least that's what I read in one of the parenting magazines) and if we start when they're not ready we may have a tough time of it. That being said, we thought our daughter was ready around 2 so we started the process and quickly noticed she really wasn't ready for it so we went back to diapers...not to say we weren't a little disappointed. You are right not to scold, it's not her being bad or necessarily making bad decisions, she's just 3. When we finally decided to buckle down and do the potty training, we also made the decision not to "reward" going to the potty. That was a personal decision for our family and we decided rewarding a human bodily function with "things" wasn't productive. We did, however; reward with bear hugs, high fives, dances, songs, etc. We made a HUGE deal out of any time spent on the potty with her trying to go (whether productive or not). Like yours, our daughter would hold it and then have accidents so one day I asked her to help me clean it up. At first, I got met with a loud and boistrous, "NO", but I insisted that although it was an accident and mommy wasn't upset, when we make a mess we have to clean it up and she's now old enough to help clean it up. So, she took off her own clothes and helped me clean the mess on the floor. I actually felt bad doing it, but you know, it pretty much worked. We still had occasional accidents b/c she'd be busy and just sort of forget and we remained very casual about them, but for the most part, she would make it to the potty.
Like I said, may or may not help, but that's been our experience. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

L., I am not sure if this going to help you, but t is very IMPORTANT that you first CALM DOWN. Your little one is reacting because of your nervousness. I am pretty sure that the way you seem H. is the way she is perceiving you and she will end constipated or holding too much because your lack of patience.
There are kids who actually show "being ready" for potty training at 2 or 3 years old, others take more time either boys or girls. Some others show the readiness and do OK but they need MORE time.
One thing to remember, the sooner you start potty training the more chances of "accidents" or "regressions" you'll have.
In my opinion, your little girl is probably not ready yet and she needs more time to get used to the idea of going to the bathroom or she needs YOU to RELAX. Many times moms need to remember that this is a difficult thing to learn for kids.
She is having a NORMAL reaction towards you
First of all don't panic and let her relax a little bit, give her a week. You have tried so many things already that now is not use, so you will have to start over after a one week break.
My 4 year old boy, already potty trained, didn't have any interest in charts, stickers nor all the typical things we, moms, do to help children to be potty trained. So, I just started little by little, put some books in the bath and nice music (yes, that helped him to relax...) I took my little boy 3 times a day to the bathroom at the exact time every day, he would say: "mommy, there is no pee (or poop)". I would say: "I have magic eyes and I can see that there is some coming down...! (touching softly his belly) He waited, he would sing ABC's or Twinkle Twinkle....., and I turned the faucet on, and then he peed. Weee...!. Now, when was time for the solid thing we would wait a little more and read books together. That was for the first week. I didn't force him, I just encouraged him and said: "congratulations, you already know your body needs, you are a big boy!" We kept doing that, and the second week, he did go by himself to the bath (I never introduced him a potty, just the potty ring that goes on the toilet). When he is playing and I notice he has not gone to the bathroom, I just kindly remind him that he needs to go even if he does not feel the need yet. My little one's body got it, and now he really knows when he needs to go. He even awakes dry in the morning and goes to the toilet as soon as he gets up .
A suggestion: as soon as she shows you she is doing what is expected, do not buy things or candies, PRAISE HER and HUG HER and go to get new pretty underwear. (She will have accidents eventually but it will pass, she is very young)
Good luck and just take it easy. She will be fine and she will be ready sooner with a lot of patience and encouragement (this is not a cliche expression, just reality)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

This method worked really well for my daughter and for every other mom I've talked to who has used it. I pretty much took a week where we did nothing but hang out in the kitchen with our potty chair (that is the only place in our house with tiled floors), put her in panties full time, and had her drink constantly to get her used to recognizing the "need to go potty" signals her body gave her. The first 2-3 days were awful, accidents constantly, but by day 4 she had just 1 or 2 accidents and by day 5 really none. Now, I did this when she was about 20 months and it took her a little more time to get to the point where she had no accidents, maybe like 4 months or so, but your daughter, being older, might not have that lag. We just pretty much committed to "OK, no diapers ever again," and went for it. The first few days were so not fun, but it was worth it and I plan on doing it with my next kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Either she just is not ready for this or you have made such a big deal about potty training that she is using this as a control. If she feels too controlled she may use this as her one thing she can control.
Never be mean or upset when she has an accident. Perhaps go back to pullups for a while. Start fresh when you have lots of time to take her back and forth to the bathroom. Always be encouraging and tell her things like, "Good try" "great you did it". I am not a huge reward fan but sometimes in the very beginning of potty training a reward can get them motivated and then you back off. Every child is different and they all doit at different times. Also, have her go shopping with you to buy cute new little underwear--girls love that. Once you switch to new underwear do not go back to the diapers except at night. Also, check with her doctor and make sure she does not have any bladder problems. Good luck--don't be frustrated it will all work out,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Dr. Christopherson, at Children's Mercy specializes in these kinds of issues.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Been there, done that. My son was completely stubborn about using the potty. He didn't care about characters on the underwear, didn't care if he sat in a poopy diaper. M&Ms, sticker charts, offering bribes...didn't care. We tried several things and he was bound and determined to keep his diapers.

Shortly after he turned 4...yes, 4...it was getting ridiculous. We knew he could control it because he could wear the underwear and keep it dry all day. One night, I was fed up. He had held it 12 hours. I knew he really had to go because he was asking for a diaper. I took him to the bathroom, he did his typical thing of sitting for a minute and saying "all done" when nothing came out. I said, no I don't see anything, sit back down. (This went on a LONG time...I think we were in there for an hour and a half. He tried everything he could to get to leave. "I'll try again later." crying. Saying he was hungry. Asking for a drink...everything. I was a broken record..."Go potty. I don't hear any pee pees." It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty. But it was a battle of wills that I had to win.) He finally went in the potty. I gave him super amounts of praise. We came out and daddy and sister cheered. He got to pick his drink and snack he'd been begging for. Many good things.

Ever since then, he goes when he has to. We've had maybe 3 accidents, mostly at Nana's house where there were new things to play with that he forgot to go on time. I don't know why it took so long. I don't particularly like that we had to have a showdown. But it worked. It was like a switch got flipped and he hasn't had diapers since. No accidents at night, either.

Maybe this will help. They sound very similar. They know the motions, they seem quite capable, they just don't want to do it. Just remember, if you pick the battle this way, you MUST win. If you give in to the crying and begging, it will take twice as long next time. Good luck.




answers from Springfield on

Don't get me wrong but you may have to warm the seat of the pants with the hand. Went through it with both of my children. You really have to let them know who is boss. Mine used to hide behind a chair then poop right after sitting on the potty for at least 30 minutes or it seemed like it. Finally I ended up threatening to warm the seat of their pants it worked. You don't have to hit them very hard at all, just enough to let them really know who is boss. I only had to do it 1 time for both of my kids but I also starting telling them before the turned 3 that this is what was going to happen. Keep reassuring them if the keep going in their pants that you will do this.



answers from Kansas City on

My oldest was the same way. She was potty trained at daycare but wouldn't go at home. When I asked her pediatrician about it he told me I was pushing her to much at home and it had become a stuggle for power with her. When I quit pushing so much she started going in the toilet. I didn't get mad when she peed in her pants I just made her help clean it up. The doctor also told me it is not uncommon for daycare kids to take longer to potty train at home than nondaycare kids. My oldest was 4 before she was finally potty trained and we started when she was 2.



answers from Dallas on

We are having the same issue. Our daughter turned three about a month ago. She would stay dry all day at her in-home daycare, and then when she was home she would have accidents like crazy. Is there a lot of change going on right now for her? We think that's why our kiddo decided not to go for us at home. There's been a ton of change around our house, and she figured it was the one thing she could control, so she did. I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall.

Here's the bottom line, since that's what you're really after. =) We decided to put her back in pull ups during the day, diapers at night. With the pull ups, she can go on her own if she decides to, and we have completely backed off. She seems to be more open about going since we've backed off of her, so I think we'll get there eventually. She will eventually decide she wants to go on the potty, and then it will go very quickly. She is a very strong willed child, and I refuse to struggle with her on it.

Good luck, and I feel your pain! Oh, and I think Erica's suggestion might work too. I may have to start trying that. =)



answers from New York on

A friend of mine had a son that was ADHD and he would get so involved in a project or game that he didn't want to stop what he was doing to go to the bathroom. Even at six years old he was having accidents. The best advice that I can give is to stay calm because kids pick up on stress very quickly and maybe for awhile sit her on the toilet every twenty min. until she starts doing it on her own. There are a lot of different techniques on the internet that you can look at and try also. That is where I look for a lot of advise. You have to stay consistant even though you are probably tired of repeating yourself it will pay off if you stick to it.



answers from St. Louis on

Instead of scolding--don't even react to her mistakes. Just clean her up and don't say a word. Ask her every 20 to 30 minutes if she needs to use the potty. Make her try to use the potty before naps and bedtime. Do not let her wear diapers/pull ups. Stick to underwear. On the weekends, have her wear underwear and a shirt and no pants. As soon as you see an accident starting, scoop her up and run her to the potty! Make a HUGE deal about her going potty like a big girl. Tell her she's such a big girl and how proud of her you are and do a potty dance. Lots of hugs and kisses. Just heap on the praise and rewards for going and quit punishing the mistakes. It's probably making her regress when she's around you because you could be making her feel ashamed. Just a thought. Good luck!



answers from Birmingham on

I think there is a lot of great advice on here. Like you, I also have a strong willed child. He was a little over 3 before we got him potty trained. We tried a little of everything before it finally worked. Our method was a combination of everything that has been mentioned.
I honestly think you need to start completely fresh. Put her back in diapers for at least 2 weeks and don't even mention the potty. Put all of the potty related things in the closet out of sight. Start over after the 2 weeks. See if you can take off work for a few days in a row and establish your own routine. Going between you and daycare is too much of a change in routine to keep up the momentum. Start at the beginning of one morning with a brand new package of panties. Tell her she is a big girl now and it is time to put away the diapers until nap/bedtime. Put her in panties and let the fun begin! Take her to the bathroom every 30-45 minutes. I used the Fisher Price smiley potty that sings every time they actually pee or poo. When she goes, make a big deal about it. Don't give candy since it didn't work in the past. I used a smiley face chart. We walked to the chart and I drew a smiley face in the square. We took a trip to the zoo when he filled up the chart. I also agree with having her clean up the messes. It is actually suggested in the book Potty Training in Less Than a Day. It is not meant to be "disgusting" or punishment. I had my son help me clean up his pee and wash out his underwear when he pooped. It didn't take long for him to pay more attention to what his body was telling him.
I hope some of this advice helps you. I understand your frustration! She will have MANY accidents, but will eventually get the hang of it. Good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

I'm going to try not to make this sound useless, but you're in a power struggle with a child and she will win because this is the one thing she can actually control and she sees that it effects you, so she's winning (LOTS of children do this). Honestly at this point, put her back in those heavy underwear (f/ target or walmart) with a rubber covering and ignore it. When she pees in them she'll feel wet, she'll probably ask to be changed (I would do it, so she doesn't have problems, but don't rush, with my son, I was like I need to finish this one moment please, a minute is a long time in their world), same thing if he pooped. I didn't scold or say anything, just changed him like it was nothing and went on. The ONLY time we said or respond is if he went on the potty and we said that's great, we're really proud of you, nothing more. After about 2 days of feeling wet and/or poopy, if only for a minute and not getting any response from us at all, it was over, not had a problem since (and the holding it stopped since the control factor was gone). He once or twice when he got mad, peed on the floor, we didn't say anything, just cleaned it up and ignored him. I'm telling you if they think they won't get a response and they're not in control, the game gets old quick. But really, if it takes her 3 or 4 days to test you (you say she's stubborn) let it, it will not take longer than that. Good luck.


answers from Las Vegas on

I have been told that rewarding them makes em think of it as a game so they play it that way. My daughter's almost 2 so I've asked alot of people for advice to get ready for it when she's close to 2 1/2. I've been told make sure when they use the potty only reward them by making them feel good about learning something new or being a big girl. I was given advice that the pull ups can prolong potty training because it soaks up that uncomfortable wet feeling so forgoing them will help them learn quick to not have wet clothes (though I don't know that will help cuz you said she peed on the floor, which also means she's prbly not wearing diapers). Does she use her own little potty? Maybe having her go to the store with you and picking out her special potty that she really likes will help her want to use it. I have definitely heard not to make a big deal out of accidents but have your child help clean up her accidents and get clean dry clothes. Doctors suggest giving small little chores around the house, new skills, that will help them feel confident and they will embrace learning new skills.
Alot of kids aren't ready or are resistant to use the potty and if they are consistently resistant then try to let it go for a while or ask why she doesn't want to use the potty, if shes scared or whatnot. I know kids who were potty trained at 4 1/2, 5, 2 1/2... all depends on the child. Sorry about the novel.. hope it's of some use :)



answers from Kansas City on

I would not scold. I'd just talk to her about it a lot, but never angrily. I don't think you can discipline her into potty training. She sounds stubborn and uninterested. I'd lay off for a while.



answers from Kansas City on

see if her daycare has a potty schedule and see how well that works if you take her potty about the same time that they take her potty at daycare. Start logging the time she has accidents and take her potty at that time. If you have her on a regular eating schedule you may be able to pick up on what time she goes potty everyday and get her to the potty before she has an accident. Sometimes it's just timing. Get rid of the pull ups and diapers, they just prolong the process as they feel the difference and know it's ok to pee in diaper like items where regular panties will be uncomfortable when wet.

Potty training is one of those hard to figure out issues. Every child is different and seem to accomplish the task differently.

My first child we started right before he was 2, he did really well for a while then went backwards and was a few weeks before he was 3 when he was totally potty trained and didn't have bed accidents either. We didn't use pullups at night time, I usually got him up to go potty right before I went to bed and usually made it through the night dry. He did have a few wet beds the first week but think him having to stand there very sleepy while I cleaned up the bed mess was probably what helped because he would be so sleepy and want to crawl back in bed but he had to wait until I stripped the bedding and put it in the washer, cleaned the mattress cover with lysol kitchen antibacterial cleaner, and changed the sheets. I don't know if that long process helped or not but he was totally potty trained and not just daytime trained.

2nd child was 2 1/2 when we started potty training her. She was potty trained within a month and wasn't a bed wetter either.

3rd child was a little over 3 but we had a lot going on at the time with moving, dad retiring from the military, living with family members for a few months, and a lot of changes so it took longer with him but once we set our mind to it and made up our minds that was the week for potty training and we stuck with it consistantly and he was fully trained that week.

We only used pullups when we were out shopping or at church but didn't really use them at all until they were getting the concept pretty well. We used underwear once we came to that time of getting serious and deciding "this is the week to be done with diapers." The thick underwear with the plastic liners built in work great. We had 6 pair of them and every day when they would have an accident I would just put the underwear in the washer and at the end of the day would start the washer and wash the clothes that got wet throughout the day. Most of the time the outfit didn't get wet just the underwear. You can get the plastic lined underwear at Walmart, Target, or other clothing stores. They come in 2 or 3 pair per pack and think they were Gerber brand. once they got the hang of staying dry then we would go to the regular thick underwear without the plastic, but I always used the plastic lined ones for bedtime just in case.

Be patient and consistant. Going back and forth from panties to pull ups just confuses them and prolongs the process.

Hope something works for you soon and she is potty trained soon.

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