Thursday, April 15, 2010

Potty Training Woes

It's been a week since I started potty training Abigail and we're still at square one. I tried potty training her last summer when she was about18 months old. At that point she just wasn't ready. So we stopped and started again last week. I thought this time around would be easier. She's older now and I figured she'd get the hang of it pretty quickly. Day one was rough, to say the least. I tried the no pull-ups or training panties approach first. I had to clean up poop off of my floor three times before I put training panties on her! After that, the rest of the day went pretty well. Days two and three weren't too bad either. Just a few accidents each day. Since then, it seems like we're going in the opposite direction instead of making progress. When I ask her why she goes to the bathroom in her panties instead of on the potty, she says she doesn't want to go in the potty. What do you do when your child deliberately pees or poops in her pants because she has no desire to go to the potty? Is she scared of the potty? I don't think so. We bought her a really cute frog potty and she used it a few times but would rather use the regular potty instead. So I don't think that it's because she scared. Is she lazy? I really don't know what else to do or try. I know she's only two and yes, I know, I need to be patient and that it will take time. I've tried bribery by treats, Smarties and M&M's. I've tried putting her on the potty every 20-30 minutes. I've tried no underwear. I've tried letting her stay in her wet underwear, hoping that she wouldn't like the feeling. I've tried making her clean up her own mess. I really don't know what else to do other than just keep on going and hopes she gets it soon. If anyone out there has the secret to potty training, feel free to share!


  1. I would say, choose the method that is the easiest for you to be consistent with, whether it be setting the time for every 20 minutes and going potty whether or not she feels like she "has to go"; or the no underwear approach (sounds messy though lol), or whichever. It took me 18 months to potty-train Bethany because I got pregnant halfway through and had to table it, so she forgot a few of the things she'd learned and we sort of had to start over in some ways. Nevertheless, she's been fully potty-trained since she was 3 1/2 and we're doing fine. There's no law that says your kid has to be potty-trained by a certain age, and just keep in mind that there are no 12-year-olds still in diapers. ;) She will get it eventually! So anyway, first order of business for you, is to pick one method and stick with it. I think setting a timer is a good one. We used it with Bethany and it really worked. Not at first, but eventually. It helps them train themselves to pay attention to their body's cues that they need to go potty and not wait till it's too late and have an accident. Be a slave to that timer and every 20 minutes, take her potty, hell or high water. If she has peed or pooped her pants, begin with a gentle verbal reprimand, as you're cleaning her up: "Abigail, we do not pee/poop in our pants. Pee/poop goes in the potty." Say that each time she does it; you'll feel like a broken record, but she will eventually understand. When you are absolutely sure that she understands, and is sometimes doing it purposefully, there is nothing wrong with giving one swat on the leg or bum, along with your verbal reprimand. This is, after all, potty TRAINING. She needs to be taught that peeing/pooping the pants is not acceptable, just as slapping Mommy or saying "no" is unacceptable. You are not spanking her; you are training her. She may cry, but that's ok. Afterward reassure her with hugs (but don't apologize for the swatting; you're the Mom!) and say "you can do better next time!".

    Secondly, be patient. You say you've only been at it for a week. Settle in, because even the most consistent potty-training process takes at LEAST a few weeks, if not a couple months. It also depends on the child. Bethany couldn't stand to be wet or stinky, so that helped speed the process a bit. Abigail might not mind it. Some kids are like that. Follow her lead and don't try to rush her; it'll only frustrate her, and you too.

    Thirdly, I'd say keep the positive reinforcement going, because that's really good. If you think she would understand it, make a cute, colorful little chart and hang it on the wall in the bathroom at her eye level and use stickers for whenever she goes pee or poop in the potty, to reward her. We also did Smarties, one for pee, two for poop. Oh, and if Bethany had wet or soiled her pants when I took her potty, she got no candy, and would ask for one, and I had to tell her "well I'm sorry sweetie, but you peed your pants, so you can't have a Smartie this time; you only get one when your pants are dry."
    And also, we gave plenty of big hugs and enthusiastic verbal much that B got to where she would congratulate herself, "Goo' gulll, PODDY!" LOL

    The other thing I would say is to not use Pull-Ups in the daytime (because they absorb pee so she won't be able to feel it); use training underwear that's thick enough to stop most leaks but she can still feel the wet. You can also use the little plastic pants to go over the underwear to keep seats and floors dry, should she wet herself. They have them at Walmart.

    I hope all this helps. Hang in there; you're doing fine! :)

  2. excellent advice, its pretty much what I did, it takes time like any to learn. She will get it. I still have to make Karah sit sometimes!

  3. Christie WilliamsApril 15, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    Hey girl! I know you hate to spend the money on a new potty that she may not even use, but ours sings and cheers when Caitlyn pee pees or poo poos. She'll sing WITH the potty now! haha! Also, I ordered a FREE video from about potty training. Caitlyn's not a tv watcher, but I had it playing in the background while we played with blocks one day. I think something really "clicked" with her. I also started by praising her for just SITTING on the potty. Of course, when she started going, we did the "potty dance". When she would see me go potty, I'd say something like "big girls go potty" and I would give myself an M&M - yummy!!! haha! ...just some's a work in progress at our house, too :)