Serious Advice Needed for Potty Training

Updated on February 20, 2008
R.R. asks from Celeste, TX
9 answers

I have a son that is 3 years and 4 months old, who absolutely refuses to tell me when he has to go to the bathroom. His dad and I tried to make him go in the mornings and throughout the day and it seemed to work for a short time until it got to the point we were becoming angry and frustrated because he wouldn't go on his own. We finally decided to back off a little and give him the opportunity to tell us. This hasn't worked at all. He will use the bathroom in his diaper and it will never bother him. I don't know what else to do and need some serious advice. I don't want my child to be starting school in pullups.

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answers from Dallas on

Try a "Tinkle Toonz" potty chair. They are the greatest! They are about 15$ online but come with a money back guarantee to potty train. I have a friend who used one on her 2 I used one on my 3 and my missionary friends in Italy have used one on their 4. Hope this helps.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter just learned in the last 2 wks. She is 3 yrs and 3 months old. She goes to day care and the lady there said we should try taking her off the pull-ups.We did the first time and it was a big mess, so we put her back on. But in the last 3 wks, we took her off again and except for the first week, she's been really great. The only accidents we worry about now are at night occassionally when she wets the bed. But I'm sooo happy that she's finally potty-trained, I don't have to buy anymore expensive pull-ups, and I don't have to change any nastiness. :)



answers from Dallas on

I could only chuckle when I read this... my now 11 1/2 yr old son was the EXACT same way! Rest assured... he will not go to kindergarten in pull ups!!! But, I used to think the same thing! I do home daycare, and every child is different. When it's time for potty training, different incentives work for different children. I make charts for each child... one likes to get a sticker, another time to play with a special toy. My daughter got tired of the stickers cuz it didn't lead up to anything. So now, for every 15 stickers she gets a treat that she wouldn't normally get. I set a timer and we go every 15 minutes. Not that she goes every time, but she's given the opportunity. If she pee pees, she gets 1 sticker and if she poops she gets 2. She'll be 3 in April. Just be patient and give lots of encouragement. It is frustrating, but if the child sees your frustration and even anger, it will be discouraging to him, and could set him back further. I know for boys now, they have the "targets" to put in the potty... I guess to make it fun. Good luck... hope this helps!



answers from Dallas on

He might not have the concept of the "feeling" relating to the result, quite yet. I would suggest reading:

Read "Toilet Training in Less than a Day" by Azrin (the Amazon link is below)

It worked beautifully for my daughter when she was 2 and for boys, 3 is a great age. You need to make sure that you have the entire day available and that you plan on not leaving the house for the following week.

It worked beautifully for the pee (the poop we had other physical issues that got straightened out later) but the concept of feeling-run-go was instilled very deeply and lovingly. It is so important to celebrate and have an absolutely gigantic pee party after the first time it happens and then each time lesson the party and go to rewards that mean something to him. Stamps are neat for a while, then you might try stickers, then go to another system. Reward charts are all over the internet. Read the book though, if you don't use the entire method, at least it will give you the best concepts and wonderful ideas and get you on the right track!



answers from Wichita Falls on

What seemed to work for my son was I finally decided to do away with the pullups and diapers and just put him in regular underwear. Granted I had several messes to clean up for about a week or two but that seemed to work best for him.



answers from Dallas on

You say you backed off "a litte". I would suggest to totally drop the topic for a while. He sounds like a very determined child and doesn't want to be controlled at all. You don't mention if you were trying to get him to go on the big potty or his own little potty. Either way, I would suggest you wait a month (3 years and 4 months is actually not THAT old for not being potty trained for a boy) and then give him his own special potty and let him know that he can use it when he decides he's ready. Also, buy him some new big boy undies - let him pick them out. BUT, if you notice any resistence at all, then let it go again. You may also need to be flexible where you have his big boy potty. It may be that he just gets too involved in activities that he doesn't want to bother taking time out. Also, you might consider waiting till the summer and letting him go bottomless in the backyard and have the potty out there. Again, it may just be too time consuming in his view to stop his activities and this would allow him to develop the habit of going on the potty. One way to determine whether this is the issue (i.e., not wanting to take the time) is whether it has been a battle in the past to get him to go for a diaper change. If so, then this likely is the problem - some boys are just very busy in general and do not want that interruption. My youngest son was that way (it was of no use at all for us to prompt him - he only used the potty when he personally felt he was ready). We just had to wait until he was ready. At 12, he is still a very determined and independent child. This is actually a very good thing, so it is to your advantage to work with these sort of personalities rather than try to thwart it.



answers from Dallas on

I have always read not to go backwards, I think you should take his diapers off and put him in big boy underwear during the day and pull ups at night for a while then put him in underwear at night too. Maybe with underwear he will be more into using the big potty instead of wetting wet on himself. I think this makes them more aware and don't like to stay wet. I did this with my daughter when i started to potty train her and it worked. We never went back to diapers or pull ups. Good luck



answers from Amarillo on

Have you tried the little "targets" you can put in the potty for them to aim at? Or even fruit loops would work. I wish I would have had the fruit loop idea when my boy trained--about 9 yrs ago--Now my little ones are girls! This might make it a little more fun for him. Just a thought!


answers from Dallas on

Here's my advice:

1: Back off on potty training right now. Give it a month or so to give him a good break. In the meantime, go to the bookstore and buy a few different books on potty training - kid books. Ones that you can sit with him and read or that he can sit and read and see other kids learning to potty train. We did this with our daughter for a little while before we started officially potty training her. I think it made it more interesting to her because she saw other kids doing it.

2: Once you do start potty training again, NEVER get upset at him (though I know sometimes it can be maddening!!). If you get too upset about it, just stop potty-training again. It won't hurt for him to be older.

3: When you start potty training - toss the pull-ups. Do NOT use them. I know some others will disagree with this, but when we officially started potty training, we tossed any form of diaper and went to a thicker pair of underwear (meant to be able to catch a little bit of urine).

Using underwear when he wets himself, he'll feel wet, and he'll get wet, and he won't like it. If he's in pull-ups, there won't be accidents and there won't be urine running down his legs - basically, what is the motivation for him in potty training while he's wearing pull-ups? Sure, it's messier, but it makes for faster learning. So, toss the pull-ups and diapers and use underwear, the thicker kind. Or even just plain ol' underwear. If you're worried about accidents, have him sit on towels. But, you're going to have to have a few accidents (or more) in order for him to understand why it's important to sit on the toilet. Try to give yourself a week at home with him (if it's at all possible) so that you aren't running to the store with a boy in the middle of potty training.

4: Take him potty every 30 minutes. It doesn't matter if he needs to go or not. Have him sit on the potty. He can even read the potty books that you bought him. The point in this is to get him in the habit of sitting on the potty to go (his brain needs to start thinking more about the toilet, and this will help get it to do so) and doing this every 30 minutes will also help to prevent accidents. I would personally try to make sure he pees every time you sit him on the toilet - even if it takes 10 minutes for him to. But do it anger. Just let him know once he's done, he can get up.

5: Have some sort of reward system, though, I do highly suggest NOT having it be a form of candy. My sister did this and her daughters potty-trained great...until the treats went away...then so did their potty-training. She also used pull-ups and had a lot more problems than we did. Try something like a sticker chart. Each time he pees, he gets to put a sticker on the chart. Or don't do a reward system at all - just use lots of praise (or both) each time he pees, make it a HUGE deal. If he poops, make it an even bigger deal. Let him know once he is completely potty trained for a week (you can use the sticker chart to help with this to count the days down of accident-free days) then he'll get to buy a special toy of his choosing.

If he pees or poops in his pants, don't get upset, but do talk about how gross it is. Say something like, "Oooo, yucky! You are all wet and stinky. It's not fun is it? When you need to go potty, sit on the potty and go, it'll help keep you clean and you'll get a sticker! Won't that be fun?"

I wouldn't try night potty training until he is successfully day potty trained. When you're ready for night potty training, buy some bed covers (things to protect the sheets and if they get wet, all you have to do is pull the dirty one off and put a clean one on - makes for an easy clean up). Don't use pull-ups. Wake him up 2-3 hours after he goes to bed and have him pee...whether he's awake or not! It'll help teach his body to wake up at this time to pee. But that's a story for another day!

Good luck.

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