Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Potty Training: Input Requested

I know - I may be sorry for opening up this topic. But, I need some input. I realize there are as many opinions and options as there are children and I will wade through your comments with the goals and temperaments of our family in mind. And, I will continue praying about all of this.

We have a nearly three year old that is more than capable of going on the potty. But, she never wants to.

Here's an example: if you can get her into the bathroom and to sit on the potty - she will go nearly every time. She will tell me when she went in her pants and she can identify if she is just wet or is also dirty.

She has received nothing but praise when she goes and gets an M&M for her success (one for remaining dry, one for going, etc...) She never seems to mind going, but if you ask her if she needs or wants to, you will NEVER get a "yes" response.

The thing is that she is a very good listener and good at following directions. I know that she if fully capable of accomplishing this. And, I think she is being lazy about it. My husband and I both feel that she could continue on like this for an indefinite amount of time.

With all that said, I have heard nothing but encouragement not to push children into potty training and that they will train easily when they are ready and interested.

So, here is my question - should we just take away the diapers and require her to stop being lazy about this and learn to go potty? Or, should we continue to wait it out? I am weary of this inbetween stage and feel like we are making no progress. It would be a huge blessing to have her potty trained before the new baby comes, so that is why we're thinking about this now.

I almost just went cold turkey today - but realized I needed to be better prepared and have a better sense of what is right for our family and for Emily.

Ok, here's your chance - let me hear your thoughts.


Leanne said...

We are in the middle of this also...with a boy, no less. Christopher does much better without, obviously, we keep a lot of resolve carpet cleaner in the house. I never ask him to go... we just tell him to go. I think he is a little younger than your cutie pie, so I rarely give him choices like that. I think its a good choice to put her in big girl pants and go cold turkey from the diapers. Just stock up on lots of underwear! I will be reading your other comments for ideas for myself! Good luck...I'll be praying and laughing with you...

Anonymous said...

i did the same as the above poster, i eliminated diapers/pullups etc..and went to undies., LOTS of undies....didnt punish, but didnt rush to clean him either....i'd send him wet/dirty to the bathroom to wait for me, while i finished my task...i cleaned him up , gave him new clothes and went about my tasks, i didnt give him MORE attention for an accident, but a success oh wow, we had candles to blow out...cheering by all members of the family and smarties (like m&ms)

so it forces them to make a're not pushing them...and you do LOTS of laundry...stock up

celina in canada

Mary Ann said...

I have no children but as a toddler/preschool teacher, I have assisted in potty-training many children. There is no "one size fits all" solution to this! Each child and family is different. I would tend to agree with Leanne-at certain times require her to use the bathroom(when getting up in the morning and at naps, before going to bed, before leaving the house, even at regular intervals throughout the day). Basically get her into the habit. If you definitely think it is laziness, then it probably wouldn't hurt for you to go cold turkey with her and put her in underwear for during the day. It does take a bit for them to realize the feeling of needing to go so that could be a part of why she never asks to go.But the fact that she tells you when she has went means she doesn't care for the feeling of the wetness/dirtiness in her diaper! Whatever you decide to do- consistency is key! I'll be praying for you about this! And remember- this too shall pass! :-)

Melissa said...

When I potty trained my son I put him in underwear one morning and then set a timer for 15 minutes. Every 15 minutes I sat him on the potty chair. I did M&M's as a reward for going potty. I gradually set the timer farther apart as he started figuring out when he had to go. I used Gerber training pants rather than pull-ups. Most kids I know just used pull-ups like a diaper. I still used a diaper for naps and bedtime until my son consistantly woke up dry. Just make it a fun and positive experience. Don't let her notice if you get frustrated with the process. Good luck!

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I can give you my experience as a former preschool teacher.

I would not reccomend using pull ups. Children in training tend to us them as diapers.

When we first started training a child we would leave her in the diaper. Take her to the potty every 15-30 minutes. Huge praise everytime she went on the potty. Think silly adults doing the potty dance!

Once we had a day when she consistantly went on the potty we would go to big girl pants. Depending on the child sometimes this was no problem, others it was accident after accident.

The key is to be consistant. Once you move to big girl pants you can't go back and forth. That is very confusing.

That is my "professional" advice. Once I train my own child I might give different advice!

Good luck!

wyndesnow said...

I did the same as a few of your posters, I took away diapers and pull-ups. My first son, finally decided to go when he was going to have to quit going to his preschool class because he kept having accidents. That broke him immediately. My second son, he refused to go. My husband stayed home with him one morning (a saturday) and had him sit on the potty with a can of coke until he finally just had to go, they sat their for 2 hours. He went all day, but when we put the pullup on him for bed, the next day he refused to go again and we started all over. We took the pullups away, layered his bed with towels and he was broke. Now I have the pleasure of starting with my third son, I'm not sure how his training will go, but I also know now that it is going to take time. I will probably go cold turkey with him when he's ready (he is showing signs now at 20 months, and we are slowly working with him). Good luck and I'll say a prayer for you.

Anonymous said...

Here's my experience..

I skipped the pull ups stage and after a month or two of marginal success with trying out the potty and getting comfortable with it, we went to undies and didn't turn back. We stuck close to home for about 2-3 days and I put the potty in the livingroom or some place really obvious so that we didn't need to make a big trip to the bathroom. If there were wet pants, it was no problem, very matter of fact, my kids were responsible to go put their wet undies and pants in the laundry basket and go and get dry ones from their drawer. If they were successful, it was a M&Ms celebration - 1 for #1, and 3 for #2. And the comments were very positive. It worked for us. You could also try just going at the same times every day, wake up, after breakfast, mid-morning, before lunch, after lunch, etc. and that will eliminate constantly asking, "Do you need to go to the potty?" which I feel like I asked at least 300x/day! It will all come together! Good luck. :)

Paige said...

I like the timer idea, working it into her "schedule" of things to do during the day. I'd also suggest you have a little cup where the m&M's go, and she has that as her bed snack. If she's got 5 one day and 2 the next she will know it "where are my M&M's?" and this is your chance to review the good potties she did, and the ones where she didn't make it. It should dawn on her then. I think if you can plan to spend a few days at home, say thursday-saturday, keeping her bottoms off and keeping the bathroom door and lite on she'll do good. Then next week repeat with the introduction of undies. We've got the bottomless training down, but it's the undies that he's not getting. That soft cotton is so like his cloth diapers!

Karen said...

Hi Monica,
I've not commented much before, but I have been down this road 3 times, and thought maybe I could suggest some things. I made sure, as you have, that the child was really ready, and understood what was expected. We then headed to the store to let *her* pick out the prettiest, frilliest, panties she could find, and would want to wear. In our experience, this made all the difference. Before we allowed her to put them on, we explained that these were not like diapers, and were only for big girls that would use the potty. It worked for us with only a couple of accidents with each daughter. Good luck!

carrie said...


Found this via WFMW:

2boysmama said...

Monica you are wise in how you are approaching this thoughtfully.

My oldest is 4 1/2 and my younger is 2 (not pt) When my oldest was potty training he was 2 1/2 -3. I knew he was ready b/c he showed the signs. I went cold turkey and put him in undies during the day and pullups for nap and night time. Because, like you said, if I ever asked him if he had to go, he would adamantly say no. He would always go when we took him, however.

We did a little ceremony where we walked his remaining diapers into the baby's room and put them in his closet. I made a big big deal about how diapers were for babyies, etc etc. He ate that up.

We had a few accidents to clean up, but it worked great with him.

Now he's 4 1/2 and if we ask him if he has to go (when obviously he does, by his dancing) he'll say NO. For him its b/c he doesn't want to stop what he's doing, not because of a control issue. So we can force him and its not a big fight. So my advice is figure out why Emily says no when you ask her. For my son we would reassure him that his puzzle/game/toy would still be here. We would protect it from brother, etc and that works with him.

Good luck, its a trying time! And if it makes you feel better, my 2 year old is already wanting to go potty so he can be like brother. I think the 2nd child potty trains much faster!

Anonymous said...

I saw this advice on another site, I can't remember where. This mom put regular undies on the child and then a pull up. The child got to feel the "yucky" undies but the mom did not have to clean up many messes. The mom said it worked. I have not tried it. My son just turned three and is mostly potty train we just used the lots of undies way. Good luck to you.


Anonymous said...

Well, I have potty trained 5, each one has been different. My Emily only needed some cute underware as insentive. We went and picked out some really cute panties. Then I had the ulgy under wear. If she kept them clean for a week she got to wear one pair of the cute panties. Oh she wanted those panties so by the end of 2 weeks she was trained and I gave her the rest of the panties.

Daughter #2 Annika.....She hated the bathroom. So I bought a potty chair put it on a towel in our dinning room, moved our small TV in there. And spent one whole day having her sit there watching her favorite video, and pouring liquids down her. Then the next day I kept giving her lots to drink set the timer every 5 min and moved the potty to my laundry room ( which was close to our powder room/ 1/2 bath) Next day I set the timer a little longer. Until after about 4 day's she was going on her own. I planned for a week to really focus on training her. I rewarded her at the end with A Barbie that she had wanted. We once again picked out ahead and it set in a place where she could see but could not have. At the time I was expecting baby #5 and like you did not want 3 in diapers.

Daughter #3 Rebecca Was easy since she was only 21 months apart from Annika. I just started sending her with Annika to the bathroom. Annika sort of train Rebecca. Maybe she could be showing her sister how it is done.

Child #5 has taken the longest. But I finally found something that has worked. Tokens!! For every Saturday we count up the tokens and as long as there are more than 20 he gets a dollar to spend at the dollar store. Now I have up it to more than 30 and include good behavior as part of that. It has worked out really nice. Although boy's tend to hold it when playing so we on occasion have an accident, I take a token!

Dr. Phil suggest having your child train this a doll to go. You might check out his web site. Now that you have been have been given so many suggestions. I say don't forget to pray. God will guide you as to how best Emily as he wants her to master this body function as much as you do. He will guide you.

Anonymous said...

My daughter was 3, and more than capable of being potty trained - she just didn't really want to. I finally said (in a very bright voice), "You are a big girl now, and Mommy won't be buying any more diapers after we finish these." We finished the diapers that we had and she was potty trained. :) I guess she believed me! LOL!


Anonymous said...

Livia showed interest in the potty at 20 months, so we made attempts at potty-training off and on for the next year. But you know what? She was ready for it at 3! She *understood* our expectations, and her own responsibility, so much better--it was like a light clicked on. We're still in the process of training, but overall she's doing very well and will run to the bathroom on her own about 90% of the time. We use pullups for church and preschool (two mornings a week) and diapers at naptime/bedtime.

Definitely pray about this with your daughter. God does amazing things when we rely on Him.

Blessings to you,
Rebecca T.

Meredith said...

Bless your heart! Potty training is STRESSFUL, especially when you suspect it is a behavioral issue, not a physical one.

I agree with the other moms--you will never potty train easily until you take the diapers and pull ups away. It's worth the cleanup!

Megan said...

New baby? HOW IN THE WORLD did I miss out on that announcement? When??? And I'm sorry I failed to know that before now! WOW!

jen said...

Pull-ups are just expensive diapers, I think! :) I just finished training my just-turned-three year old. What worked best for him, was allowing him to feel the urgency, the process of urinating, and then the discomfort of feeling wet (jeans are GREAT for that!). I think the brain has to be engaged here. Something will trigger in her little brain..."OH, here it comes!" She'll only learn that if she's able to experience the whole process from start to finish. Her brain will put it all together in about 4 or 5 days. It will be messy for you, but it has worked so far for me with 2 children. God will give you the grace to get through this!

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

OK, I'm going to go against the grain here.

Just because a child is bright, and can identify the feeling of being wet does not necessarily mean that they can understand the sensation that is telling them their bladder is full. That can be biological rather than a cognitive thing.

Think about that for a minute. If you can't tell when you need to go, you could still pee when PUT on the potty, you could know when you are wet or dirty, you just might not know when your body is telling you it is time to go.

That is not necessarily what is going on with your daughter, but if it is, then you could be setting both yourself and her up for a tough situation if you misinterpret it as laziness.

Neither one of my kids was potty trained until after 3 1/2, my daughter not until almost 4. We used training pants (cloth type). We did charts and a candy reward. I did lots and lots of really nasty laundry. I cried a lot too.

It still took forever.

Then suddenly, in the course of a week, they got it.

I did do the regularly scheduled potty trips-Our rule was you went when you got up, you went after every meal, and you went before bed. This seemed to help them empty their bladder (because sometimes they would go) but didn't always catch them.

Just wanted to provide an alternate view.

Ruth said...

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Milehimama said...

All of my children have potty trained differently. And this advice DOES NOT hold for bedwetting.

Take away the diapers. We actually usually wean away from them... diapers for nap and bedtime only, then diapers for bedtime only, then no diapers.

Have her help you clean up any messes (cheerfully - this means you be cheerful!). If, after a week or so, there are still frequent accidents, then schedule a potty time. Do not argue or negotiate it, just put her on the potty once an hour or so. She doesn't have to actually go, she does actually have to sit.

I've found that making them help the cleanup makes them learn very quickly at this age (3 yo)!

Carmen said...

I agree with all things said here. We have 6 blessings and 5 are potty trained so far. I don't know how we got through it! We have tried everything suggested here and it's all worked (diferently for different children). I have to stress...pull-ups are a hinderance. I only use them for my 3 year old at night who can't seem to get up to go in the middle of the night or wait until morning (she's a very heavy sleeper). Also...I will suggest something new...try it cold turkey for a week. If it doesn't click then wait a month or so and try it again. We had to do that with a few of them and by the second or third round they seemed like pros. I will pray for you!


Susan said...

Jenn's (frugal upstate)pov makes sense to me.

Once when I was feeling very discouraged with my 3 yo son about potty training I talked to the doctor about it.

"Your son won't go to kindergarten in diapers. Follow his lead."

We'd try it for a few days and when that didn't work well, we backed off for a month. At 3.5 yo it clicked and he was day-trained in a week, night-trained in about 3 weeks.

Same expereince with my daughter and at about the same time-frame.

As has been pointed out, there is no one course of action for every child. Good luck in discerning the correct action for you and your family.

Also congrats on the new one. I also didn't realize you are pregnant. :-)

That's what happens when one is out of the country, laid up with an injured back and/or out-of-commission because of a bad graphics card and no money to replace it.

I look forward to hearing how you are led in this matter.


thehomespunheart said...

Thanks for all of the ideas and input.

I have tried a couple of things you mention - letting her pick out her own undies, she was very excited. But, doesn't mind if they get wet.

Also, we've tried putting a pair of undies on under a pull-up - made no difference.

I'm pondering all you've said and still waiting and praying on what the right thing is.

Anonymous said...

Okay, a) didn't know you were pregnant....SO, congratulations.
and b) we just went through this with our son. He turned 3 in March and had all the characteristics you talk about, except NO desire. So, I waited it out. Occasionally asking him casually, "do you want to be done with diapers? how about no more diapers tomorrow?" He would say no. Until, mysteriously one day in June, he said ok. and we began training him. He was trained poop/pee/night/day in about 7 days!!! It was nothing short of miraculous!!! Turned out, it had to be his decision on this one.

Good luck making your decision.

Debbie J. said...

I would just go ahead and tell her that she has to go potty from now on and spend about a week intensively spending time just on taking her to the potty and stressing to her that she has to do this. Don't plan on going anywhere much during this intensive training period. I would be gentle, but firm.I would use the thick cloth training pants. You can put plastic pants over them at night if necessary. Cute big girl panties could be her reward if she succeeds. Show her the big girl panties and tell her she can wear them instead of the training pants after she is able to stay dry consistently. Its been 17 years since I potty trained a child, but that's what I'd do. This is what my doctor said: "Don't worry, he won't go to kindergarden in diapers" Good Luck!:o)

Anonymous said...

Wait until your daughter is ready. If you don't, you will only be training yourself to anticipate when she has to go; you will not be training her. My son was ready at 2 1/2 and it took less than a week. We put the potty out in the living room and once an hour he HAD to sit on it, whether he had to go or not. We made a big deal out of the timer. It was "special" and he got to hold it while he sat on the potty for five minutes. He could sit and go potty at any time but he had to sit there once an hour. Start on a weekend when your husband is home to help. I also agree with the fact that some children cannot sense that urge to go. My son is 8 and wears Goodnites to sleep in. He sleeps so deeply he cannot wake up. He only wets them once or twice a week. I never knew this was a problem with boys but he has 3 friends his age with the same problem. Other moms and I feel like the Goodnites are good for confidence.

Heather said...

Hi Monica,

I like to use plastic-lined training pants. They make enough of a mess to motivate you to take her to the bathroom, but not so much that it's detrimental to your carpet when there is an accident.

I have found it way too convenient to let them use their Pull-ups as a potty when I don't feel like taking them to the bathroom.

I hope this helps!

mama k said...

My dear friend used to run a preschool. Here is her no-fail quick potty learning method. I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but she sweared she PT dozens of kids this way. And according to her, if the parents continued the method at home they had success in as short as a week.

*First off, she said pull-ups are evil. They don't let the kid get the sensation of wet and it prevents them from learning.

*Go cold turkey. Have lots of clean pants and undies on hand.

*Communicate with the child, but not in a punitive way. When they have an accident say "It doesn't feel good to have wet pants so we go potty on the toilet. We are going to put some clean clothes on now, doesn't that feel better?"

*Put them on the potty at predictable times... that first morning BM or 10 minutes after a meal or drink... at times when you know they usually go.

*Lots of praise and excitement and communicate you are proud of them when they have success. But there is no need for the stickers and candy according to her. You are teaching them how to do something, not paying them for a job well done.

Anyway, let us know what works for you! I'm sure I'll need some more pointers in a few months myself.

Anonymous said...

I've not potty trained a girl, but I've heard that the sensation of something running down a leg is rather uncomfortable--meaning dresses might be a really good option when you do it.

Did you know that 100 years ago a child was potty-trained, on average, around 18 months? In countries such as China, where children aren't diapered but wear "split pants", this is still quite frequently the case.

Missy said...

I am another mom who used underwear and the timer, starting in 15 minute increments and getting farther apart. For my boys, there seemed to be something better about the timer-- like it was an impartial third party, instead of Mommy "nagging" them.

Pull ups were fine for us for long car rides, nap and bedtimes, but I agree with the posters who said they tend to delay the process rather than encourage it.

Best wishes-- just keep listening to your little one and to your mommy instinct.

Gini (Hallquist) Young said...

Mercy is the same way actually. Though she is just 26 months, she is perfectly capable, just lazy. When we are home we do panties (or training pants). She is far less likely to go in these. At Parent's day out or nursery we do pull-ups for their benefit only. She's still learning the #2 thing anyway. Training pants make less of a mess for the floor if they don't make it to the potty. This too shall pass.