Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Potty Training--Help us!!

Well, Sophie turned 3 in December, and I was sure hoping that she'd be completely day-time potty trained by then.  If you have had any experience training stubborn toddlers, please read on and give me your input.  At this point we are out of solutions except to just wait and hope.

We started talking about the potty and practicing sitting on the potty a long time ago, probably last Feb. or March, right after she turned 2.  At first she was TERRIFIED of the potty, and cried if we tried to make her sit on it.  Then we got a potty chair and, voila, problem solved. 

She started going pee in the potty at random times, always prompted by us to go.  She never asked to go on her own and always said no if we asked if she needed to go.

The only times she went #2 in the potty is if she was constipated (a frequent problem back then) and I could tell she needed to go.  I would sit her on there, and she would cry because it hurt and also because she wanted to go in her diaper.  This may be the cause of her not wanting to go #2 in the potty now.

We eliminated the constipation problem long ago.  She now goes about every day, but never at predictable times.  It is always a different time of day.  She always comes to tell us about going and asks for a clean diaper.  We always say, "Sophie, no poo poo in the diaper.  You have to go in the potty."  And then she often repeats it back to us.  But she still always poops in her diaper/panties.  We have been using some of our cloth diapers as substitutes for pull ups.  It is too hard to clean up a #2 mess in panties.  Ugh!  Try getting them off of a toddler without getting it everywhere!

As for #1, I take her to the potty when she gets up, before lunch, after nap, and a couple more times in the evening before bed.  She usually goes every time, and so she stays dry all day.  She, however, ALWAYS resists going to the bathroom to go.  "Sophie, it is time to go to the potty.  Do you need to go peepee?"  "No!  I don't want to go to the potty!"  Sometimes it takes a lot of coaxing and sometimes only a little, but eventually she goes with us.

If left to her own choices, she will just pee in her panties.  She won't go in the potty unless we tell her it is time to go there.  She knows she isn't supposed to.  She just doesn't care.  After she goes on herself, she doesn't like it, and wants to get cleaned up, but she'll just do it again the next time.  So, she is staying dry all day in panties/diapers, but she is not technically potty-trained since she won't go by herself!

We have tried fruit snacks, other candy, sticker chart, rewards of all kinds.  Nothing motivates her.  I am hesitant to discipline her over it because I want to keep the experience positive.  I want her to WANT to do it.

What should we do?

The only strategy I have now is to potty train Sally and hope that seeing sister do it motivates Sophie.  Sally wants to go to the potty but has never actually had success.  She tells me, "I want to go pee pee in the potty." But this is only after she has just gone in her diaper.  We just keep letting her sit on it and hope one day she has some success!

If you can relate to either Sophie or Sally's potty training predicaments, let me know what you tried!


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  2. Oh dear. I have a few thoughts, but you've probably already considered them...
    1. You said, "After she goes on herself, she doesn't like it, and wants to get cleaned up, but she'll just do it again the next time. So, she is staying dry all day in panties/diapers,..." So, it sounds like you are cleaning her up and giving her new clothes, maybe even re-dressing her? What if you started just giving her one set of clothing each day, and letting her know when that is wet, she won't get a new set of panties/clothes until bedtime that night. Natural consequences. The first few days she might have to go around wet, or naked on bottom, for part of the day, but maybe it would motivate her to "take care" of her clothes by not peeing/pooping in them?
    2. Peer pressure is powerful. If you can get Sally trained, I think Sophie will train on her own. That worked for you! :-) Also, you might try having a little playmate her age who is potty trained over for a play day. (or a group of them?) Their example might inspire Sophie to imitate her friends.
    3. Always a possibility that there is a physical or psychophysical problem. Have you asked your pediatrician if that might be the case for Sophie?
    4. Stubborn children (bless them) always resist what they know their parents want. You might consider just being totally nonchalant about it with Sophie. Maybe even up the attention at bit on Sally with it, but make it a non-issue with Sophie for a while. When you back off, and Sophie gets a chance to make it HER thing, you might have better luck?

    1. I don't think the clothes idea would work, because she would just remove any wet/dirty clothes and be content to walk around naked. I am still working on Sally, and she has been doing a great job, so maybe that idea will work. I think the last idea might be the best one though. Because the issue is just her personal motivation. We need to get that to kick in somehow.

  3. Came over to read your exciting news and then ended up staying and read this post. I have talked to so many friends who were uber-stressed about their 3 year old's inability to really commit to the potty! It seems to me from listening to others that the key is to just give up on it. Tell her you're done asking her if she wants to use the potty. You're done with stickers, prizes, etc. If she wants a diaper she can have it. Just completely let her revert back to diapers if she wants. Tell her that she will someday learn to use the potty and she can let you know when she's ready. Keep reading books about pottying, etc. Keep letting her see you use the potty. But otherwise, just totally back off. With 3 year olds everything is a power struggle, it seems. But if they feel like it's in their control it becomes more appealing. She really WILL learn to do it someday. No five year old went to kindergarten in diapers, you know? Chances are, if you can let go of your stress for a little while, she will just feel less pressure, and it will click.

    1. This sounds like it might be the ticket. I talked to Ryan about it, and I think he agrees. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

  4. I had the opposite problem with one of my girls--she got the #2 quickly (between 2 and 3 years old) when I offered candy for each poop in the potty. In fact, she loved candy so much, she somehow managed to shift herself from a one-time-a-day pooper to a 4-times-a-day pooper! But the #1 was a problem. I had her in cloth diapers, and she was dry all night and whenever I would take her out to the store, so I knew she could control her bladder, but she would go at least a once a day on a carpeted floor. And she was four!!! I asked her about it years later, and she said it made her feel really grown-up when I would make her clean it up! I had been trying to do natural consequences, but she was craving the attention she got when I would supervise her blotting and cleaning. Sometimes our best laid plans are just off the mark. I would encourage you to do what you can and don't worry about the rest. Training the younger child might be your ticket. My mother and aunts used to always say, "They do grow up." My daughter did grow up, and we are celebrating with her as she got an acceptance into vet school a couple of days ago.
    Congratulations on your twin news! That was such a cute video!

    1. That is so interesting! I can't believe she could remember why she continued to go on the carpet. I know she'll learn sooner or later. I just wish it was sooner so I don't have to deal with it when the twins arrive!

  5. By four and a half (age when she quit wetting the carpet), kids have a pretty good memory. Even if you do get your little ones out of diapers before your twins come, they may want to be back in diapers for a season when new siblings enter the home. Having a new baby(or two)has to work itself into a new normal.