Potty-Training Advice?

I’m really at a loss and have no idea what to try next. (Warning, lots of pee-pee and poo-poo talk ahead.)

Daughter is 3 years, 4 months. She knows how, why, and when to go potty, she just doesn’t want to. I’ve tried really, really hard not to make it a power struggle, operating on the assumption that at some point she’ll decide she wants to do it, and that will be it.

I’m getting impatient. :slight_smile:

I know that if I just took the Pull-Ups away, she would be fine as far as going pee-pee in the potty goes. Angry about it, but fine. She goes to pre-school two days a week and always wears panties there, and has never had an accident. The problem is going poo-poo in the potty. She absolutely refuses to even try. I’ve tried to force her to sit on the potty, but she just kicks and screams, so that’s counter-productive. I’ve tried rewards. I’ve tried bribes. I’ve tried books and videos. I’ve tried songs. She just. won’t. do. it.

We don’t really know why she won’t even try. All she’ll say is “I don’t want to.” She has both a potty-chair and a potty-seat, so I don’t think that’s the issue. I honestly don’t know.

I’ve also tried making her wear panties except when she needed to poo, but she caught on quick, and just told me she needed to poo when she really didn’t so I’d give her a pull-up. If she knows there are pull-ups in the house, she’ll never give up on her quest to get them. To add another dimension of complication to this, she really does need to still wear them at night, so it would be next to impossible to get rid of them completely, unless some of you have an idea about that.

Just to clarify–I don’t have a problem telling her “no” on the pull-ups, I can withstand the tantrums, if that’s what I decide to do. I’m just not sure yet that’s the route I want to go. Do you guys think I should just take them away, even when she says she needs to go poo? I don’t want to traumatize her, and I’ve heard that kids can get themselves badly constipated by just trying not to go. Do you think if she had no option rather than pooing her pants she’d at least try the potty? Should I push it that far?

Ah, poo - the final fronteir in potty training.

My son had the same problem, too. What I did was sit him down and tell him, “I’m not going to ask you anymore if you have to go. But when you’re ready and you poo and pee in the potty all the time, you’ll get to ride the bus, go on field trips, etc. If you don’t - and that’s ok - you can’t do all those fun things. Just tell me when you’re ready.”

He was potty trained 4 days later.

Anyway, how you do it is up to you and your daughter. All I can say is good luck!

We had issues with our daughter and took her to our pediatrician.

The pediatrician had a nice talk with her about the differences between being a big girl and a baby. And then said “big girls wear panties, babies wear diapers - not pull ups, not trainers - diapers.”

Then she told me to go out and find the babiest diapers I could find. When my daughter had a “mistake” she was to be put in the diapers. When she had a success, panties.

Three days, about five diapers - each diaper accompanied by a HUGE “I’m a big girl!!!” tantrum…I threw out the rest of the pack two weeks later.

Does she have any little girlfriends who poop in the toilet that she can observe and emulate? Maybe at daycare? My daughter wasn’t ready until she was 3 3/4, but she never had an accident once she switched over.

Dangerosa, what drove you to the pediatrician? Was there a medical issue or just frustration like what I’m having? I hadn’t considered the pediatrician route…it’s a possibility.

needscoffee, I’m not sure about kids her age–they do all go potty together at school, but I’m not sure about pooping. I know my own girl holds it until she gets home. She has seen me and her Dad do it, as well as her six-year-old cousin who she adores.

Along those lines, I’m sure part of the issue is that she has a 14 month-old little brother who, obviously, is still in diapers. She oftens copies things he does that we think are cute…obvious attempts to still be our baby, too. I’m sure it plays into it. Maybe both of our kids will potty train at the same time!

It was time to go to the pediatrician anyway for something (with little kids, we were always there)…and everyone said “make sure it isn’t a medical issue.” So we made sure it wasn’t a medical issue and she got the speech from our doctor. Who I love and have been telling my kids since they were little “if you have any questions about your body, or sex, or drugs - and you don’t want to talk to me or Dad, tell me to make an appointment with Dr. Laura and we’ll bring you in.”

But the potty training speech from someone who was “not mom” but a person in authority did help. I wasn’t the “bad guy” - I was doing what the doctor said.

Take the pull-ups away. She may have an accident or two, and they are MESSY, but she’ll get it.

It will suck as a parent for a few days.

Don’t know if it’ll work for you, but what we did was to make #2 just part of the daily routine. Every morning at the same time we’d sit down the kid for his #2 in a kiddie pottie chair (maybe that was the secret). Eventually it went down (:D) like clockwork! We had a harder time with #1. That was a real battle!

How do you know this? At age 3 and 4 months, your daughter should be physically able to go all night without wetting the bed. When we were potty training our oldest daughter around 2 1/2, we would put the pull up on her at night, and every morning it would be soaking. We soon figured out that she was peeing in the pull up after she woke up and was laying in her bed. So we took it away at night and didn’t have an accident at all.


Sure you may have an accident or two, but that’s how they learn.

I am subscribing because our oldest is giving me hell about potty training, too. He’s the same age. He won’t even pee reliably- I mean, he can, but if out of diapers he pees between two and ten times an hour. I wish I were kidding.

Okay, I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but here goes–we still let her have a bottle at night. It’s just water, but still…I know. Completely lazy parenting on our part, but it’s how she soothes herself and it’s the way we all get sleep. Since we’ve been concentrating on potty training, I haven’t wanted to make two big changes at once.

But this did give me an idea. We used up the last of our current pack of pull ups last night, and she’s been wearing panties all morning without much protest. I mentioned to her that we were going to the store after baby brother had his nap, and she said “to get pull ups!” I told her no, we’re not going to be using pull ups any more. Big tantrum ensued. So I told her she could decide for herself: either give up the pull ups, or give up the nighttime bottle. She chose to give up pull ups.

We use special night time pull ups for bedtime, so I’ll just have to be strict about making sure we only use them at night until we can give up that bottle.

So far, so good, but we’ll see what happens when she decides she needs to poop.

Lissla Lissar, nice to know I’m not alone! We’re all in this together. I keep telling myself: she’s not going to be wearing pull ups to college.

I’ve potty-trained three kids now and used a variety of different attempted techniques, and here’s the one that wound up working with all of them. (Although I’ll point out that I don’t think this will work until they’re mature enough for it, but age 3 should be old enough.) It’s pretty simple:

Switch to underpants, and get rid of the diapers and pull-ups completely. Gone. Out of the house. Let the child either just wear underpants around the house, or even just go naked for a few days while you do this. (Saves on mess.) Take the child to the potty and encourage them to “try” every so often but don’t force it or make a big thing out of it. But, if you see the child start to have an accident (this method does require some vigilance), whisk him off to the toilet immediately. Any bit of pee or poo that happens to get into the toilet, even accidentally, should warrant big praise. You can really go way over the top with praise for this.

If the kid has an accident, clean it up matter of factly without shaming them or getting overly angry. Just stay calm, like, “Oh, you had an accident. Next time you should use the potty instead. Let’s clean it up together.”

This method worked within a few days for all of my kids. Whatsit Jr. and Whatsit the Youngest (both boys) were just past their third birthdays and MiniWhatsit (girl) was 2.5.

I think it’s good you gave her a choice. It puts some of the power back in her hands.

A quick update and a little bump: LittlePiksi has now gone two days wearing panties only, and has had no poops. I’m a little worried about it…I figured she would have gone the minute I put on her nighttime pull-up last night or tonight, but no such luck.

How long should I push this? I’ve been trying to make her sit on the potty while I read to her and stuff, but nothing’s worked yet. I don’t want to make her sick…

Take her to the pediatrician. Potty training kids with issues pooping can hold it for long enough to cause damage.

FWIW there are gentle stool softeners that are perfectly safe for a few days use for a little one.

Our older DD had poop issues long before we tried potty training (she would have constipation, then be afraid of constipation so would hold poop, causing constipation, etc). She potty trained for pee several months before she trained for poop. I did leave it up to her, because of the issues she’d had. What ultimately worked for us, is me explaining that as soon as I didn’t have to buy diapers anymore, I could use that money to buy something for her, and what did she want?

She chose gold train track to match her gold train. A can of spray paint with her wooden train track and we were set!

Here’s what worked for my four year old. We told him that it was impossible that a four year old not be toilet trained and so we could not have a fourth birthday party for him. Six days later, he was trained (and had that party). Now he has a son who is nearly 3 1/2 and is going through the same thing.

When my other son was about 2 1/2, he was incapable of even peeing unless he was wearing a diaper. The pediatrician told us to let him run round the house with nothing on his lower half. Of course it worked.

Well, since you’re tried pretty much everything else, have you considered just letting her have the pull-ups? You could institute some kind of penalty for when you give her a pull-up and she doesn’t go poo.

I know it’s really hard, but probably the best thing you can do is back off as much as possible. From your posts it seems like she needs to feel that she’s in control of the situation, so give her as much control as possible.

(As for having a pull-up at night, it really depends on if her body has matured enough to stay dry all night or be able to wake up to go pee at night. Some kids are ready at age 2. Some not until age 8 or later.)

I have 2 kids, ages 7 and 4, and potty training has been the hardest parenting issue so far, so I feel your pain!

(Disclaimer: not a parent) I was going to say this. Sometimes people need a little shock to grow up. Certainly, a few days of unpleasantness is probably healthy for most people who need to adjust.

I’m wary of the suggestion to put her in the babiest diapers available - it might work, but could backfire and cause age regression and erase her gains so far.

I’ll second a suggestion to ask a pediatrician. They probably have a lot of experience with this and know what tends to work and what tends not to work. It also might help to make sure that there is no underlying medical condition/issue that is causing this.

It doesn’t always work - unless by “a few days of unpleasantness” you mean “cleaning shit off a couch for two weeks before giving up.” One of my hippie friends spend the whole summer with her son being nude. And at the end of the summer, he’d only learned it was ok to do his business where ever he was standing.

I don’t know everything. But one thing I know for absolute certain. There is no guaranteed way to potty train. Kids react differently to different things. Mine, who was DEEP in the big girl/baby struggle (and didn’t have fear issues over poop, just issues with growing up) did great with the baby diapers. But a kid whose issues are different is NOT going to react to that as well.

A pediatrician will provide an outside opinion. Is it medical? Is it a control thing? Is it fear over the toilet? Is it a desire not to grow up (toddlers are old enough to realize babies have a sweet deal)? Is it “I haven’t had to care?”

I know one other thing - unless there is an underlying medical reason or developmental issue, kids eventually potty train. Few go to college in diapers, and it isn’t usually because “I’m still having control issues with my mom.”