elevating child care

Toilet Troubles

Hi Janet,
It looks like I may have prematurely introduced my 2 1/2 year old to toilet training. I made a little potty available (and started reading him the book “A Potty for Me!” by Karen Katz) at about 18 months. He showed interest and went before bath time every night for about a month and then lost interest, so I let it go.
Now he recently showed signs of noticing when he peed in his diaper, so I said we would go to the store and buy some “big boy” underwear and start using the toilet. This is where I seem to have made it my agenda instead of waiting for him to ask. I guess my biggest fear was that — since he’s still pretty non-verbal — he wouldn’t tell me without me asking.
His body seems ready as he’ll go on cue when I tell him it’s time and ask him which toilet he would like to use (no BM in the toilet yet though), and he loves wearing his underwear, but he’s definitely not asking to go on his own.
Now, in the last day or two, he has started resisting using the toilet. I also make it a requirement to wash hands after using the toilet (which he can do on his own), and he has recently been refusing that as well, so I wonder if that has been playing into the situation at all. It’s like using the toilet is fine or washing his hands is fine, but having to do both is just too much work, and he’d rather have his diaper changed…
So is the gist at this point to stop asking him if he wants to wear a diaper or underwear and put him in diapers until he asks for underwear or the potty? He does ask for the underwear (“I want raaaaar!”, as they are pirate underwear), but he doesn’t want to do the process of using the toilet in order to use the underwear…after reading all of these posts I am still needing some clarity from your perspective if you wouldn’t mind…
All my best,
Amanda

Hi Amanda,

Yes, you are absolutely right about your boy resisting your agenda, which is a very healthy thing to do when you are two and a half — and this is why toilet learning can be such a delicate process. It sounds like he’s ready in every area except emotionally, the area we influence most.

When we have an agenda, especially when it’s about something our toddler controls (like his bodily functions), he can’t help but want to push back. So, our best solution is to let go of our plan whenever possible and, instead, patiently follow our child’s lead (while also giving the comfort of boundaries, like not allowing our child to urinate all over the house).

What happens when he needs a BM and isn’t wearing diapers? This can be problematic, because some children will “hold” and begin a vicious cycle of constipation. The constipation creates painful BMs, which then leads to more holding and more serious constipation.

I would keep your boy in diapers for now, but definitely make it clear that it is not for punitive reasons. The diapers are to help him feel secure while he is in this transition, and that’s what I would tell him.

“I hear you wanting to wear the underwear. I think you might be ready soon. When you are ready to wear the underwear, use the potty and wash hands, please tell me and we’ll make the switch together. In the meantime, I want you to be as comfortable as possible, so we’re going to use the diapers.” Then drop it completely.

You might also consider finding an easier way to wash his hands…a wet wash cloth, something that you could do to assist him. Better yet, give him a choice: “Do you want to wash your hands under the water or with the wash cloth? Would you like my help?” These choices give him more autonomy and also allow him to choose a little bit of the nurturing he receives during diaper changes.

The problem with “big boys” is that they don’t get as much hands-on care as “little boys” or “babies” do. Being a big boy or big girl — growing up — isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (which I can certainly attest to after just celebrating a “very big girl” birthday). There are gains, but also losses. Not living up to being a “big boy” can be cause for shame, though I know you don’t mean it to be. I would avoid those terms altogether.

Since you are so aware and insightful, I’m sure this situation will resolve itself soon. Please give me an update…

Warmly,
Janet

 

I share more on toilet learning in 3 Reasons Kids Don’t Need Toilet Training (And What To Do Instead) and also recommend Toilet Learning Made Easy by Lisa Sunbury, Regarding Baby

 

 

 

(Photo by emerille on Flickr)

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40 Responses to “Toilet Troubles”

  1. avatar Meagan says:

    I’m not clear on whether you’re already doing so, but just in case, it might make sense to start the habit of full hand washing (for him) after each diaper change? Even though theoretically his hands aren’t doing anything. That way whenever you do start transitioning to the toilet, hand washing should be more automatic and less of an extra chore.

    • avatar janet says:

      Great idea, Meagan. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Janet! We just “met” on Twitter. I’m glad I read this, our 15 mo old has shown great interest in the potty and has impressed everyone by peeing in it, but I have a suspicion this is just the very beginning of a long process and he’s probably going to go through those phases of losing interest etc. I had a question though, when he pees, the first thing he wants to do is touch it. How do you explain it’s not ok without suggesting that pee or poo are yucky? Is it also ok to give major kudos and encouragement when he does pee in the potty? Thx in advance for your insights!

    • avatar janet says:

      Hi Helene! I understand the excitement and desire to give major kudos…but, yes, this can get in the way, because it can turn a process that is intrinsically motivated into one about people pleasing. With toddlers that is especially “dangerous”, since the healthy development of will at this age means going against our wishes… and we can’t set a limit around going on the potty. This is in our child’s control. If we get too excited, toddlers usually want to go the opposite direction.

      But placing his hands in his “stream” is something that you can help with. “I can’t let you do that, because it makes the pee go everywhere, and it needs to go only in the potty. I understand wanting to touch it, though. If you’re having a hard time, I can hold your hand.”

  3. avatar AJ says:

    Thanks for the post Janet.
    My 3.5year old has been going to the toilet now since the beginning of the year but he seems to occasionally, maybe 1-2 times a week, do BM’s in his undies or whenever I put him in a nappy for sleeptime. I ask him if it’s scary, if he wants me to sit with him or if he wants to sit by himself. He says he does it in his undies because it’s funny. What can I do to change this habit.
    And as Meagan mentioned washing hands while still in nappies is a great idea we used to do that too and even now if he does BM’s in his nappy or undies he still washes his hands, it’s now a habit for him as we never have to remind him.

  4. avatar Mihaal says:

    Hi Janet
    Thanks for another insightful post.
    I am 100% in the school of thought of not pushing, as a general rule of thumb in motherhood. And I totally agree that manipulation, guilt, shame or rewards have no place in the learning of toileting.
    I am also convinced that with a healthy attitude towards poos and wees no child will reach their graduation wearing nappies… 😉
    But I do wonder if it is less about “the right time” and more about a healthy gradual exposure to toileting. Children living in more traditional societies won’t be found wearing nappies at the age of 2, and probably not even at the age of 1. Their parents don’t wait for special signals and specific times, they are just gradually exposed to the concept of toileting, and are held over appropriate spots for pooing and weeing since before they can crawl… It’s not that I think anything done in traditional societies is necessarily good, but I think it points to the possibility that children are ready for toileting from much earlier on than is widely accepted in our society, and that perhaps the most important is the how, not when..
    I also wonder if it’s not comparable to learning how to self sooth and fall asleep on your own. If I had waited for my son to tell me when he is ready I would likely still be waiting (though not forever I am sure). Instead there was gradual nudging in the direction from birth, and after the skill was mastered, there were still regression periods where I needed to firmly set the rules for sleeping again. My 20 month old son has developed a great relationship to sleep. He smiles when he’s off to bed and says hi to me in the morning. But if it were completely up to him to decide when, he would probably still prefer I rocked him to sleep…
    I do feel slightly caught between the two ways of thought, and have yet to come to a conclusion..
    Any thoughts?

    • Mihaal, I agree. We did “elimination communication” (the traditional early exposure to toileting based on his cues, such as squirming, grunting, or our just knowing that he was likely to have a bowel movement after he nursed) with our first, and he chose to be in undies at 16 months. An international trip at 20 months meant he wasn’t in control of when he could go and got resistant to telling us, so we went back to diapers for a couple of weeks until he again felt more in control by asking to go to the potty. Since then he has been completely potty proficient (he’s 3.5 now and still asks for help with pulling on undies and wiping).

      I think the two big factors in potty learning are exposure (are they “diaper trained,” or have they always been encouraged to keep their innate awareness of bodily functions?) and control (do they feel more in control by just going whenever they want in a diaper, or do they feel empowered by being able to request potty trips, wear cool undies, and never sit in a wet or poopy diaper?)

    • avatar Valorie says:

      I have a friend from Russia and she began potty training her daughter at 6 months and was wearing underwear by age 1. She explained what she did, which consisted of putting her daughter on the potty (with diaper) an hour after she would drink. She then did the same without diaper.

      It made sense, but unlike my friend, I did not have a grandmother that could help me with this process. I also did not want to be “tied to the potty”.

      I think it all depends on your circumstances.

    • avatar janet says:

      Here’s how I see this, Mihaal… Rocking a baby to sleep and holding her over a toilet are actually similar in that they are both adult-directed approaches that don’t allow for autonomy… They don’t honor readiness. The parent has an agenda and the child follows it.

      • avatar Anneka says:

        No the child needs to go and the parent notices it and follows them!!

      • avatar Denise says:

        I agree with annaka! I don’t really see how holding them over a toilet is so different from putting a diaper on them. They can’t put a diaper on themselves either. With both situations we are helping care for them until they themselves are ready. Just my two cents.

        • avatar Hope says:

          Totally on board with EC as being baby led. This is what we do and my 7 month old clearly tells us when she needs the potty and we respond. Putting a nappy on is a parents agenda too… we all have ( and need to have) agendas sometimes. I like this site and a lot of the advice on it but it can be a bit too narrow minded in some areas.

  5. Your posts are so incredibly timely. I love it! Do you (or readers) have any recommendations on potty chairs? My son is 17 mo, do you recommend that I have one out for him already? He likes watching us and helping flush…is there a too early??

    xo

    • avatar janet says:

      Thank you! I don’t think it’s too early as long as there is no agenda around the child using the potty. 🙂

  6. avatar Amelia says:

    Our son is 15 mo and has been peeing and pooping in the potty for about 2 weeks. A few times a day around his usual pooping time, we will ask him if he wants to use the potty and either he shakes his head no or runs to the bathroom and points at the toilet. Once he’s on there, sometimes he just wants to play with the tp, but more frequently he goes #1 and sometimes #2. Whether or not he actually produces anything, as soon as he wants off, he does the hand sign for ‘all done’ and whether or not I feel like he’s really done, that is when I let him off the potty. Although he never asks to use the toilet entirely on his own, and is spurred by our question, I feel like this has been an empowering experience for him. We do gently nudge him but he is leading in the decision making. I have a feeling this could continue for a very long time until he is totally out of diapers but for now, its an interesting learning experience for us. He likes to give a high five after a poop. I haven’t thought of that as harmful in the past. Is that considered motivation for people pleasing?

    • avatar janet says:

      Amelia, the way you are approaching your son’s toilet learning sounds fine to me. I agree that “this could continue for a very long time until he is totally out of diapers”, but then again, maybe not. Only your son knows for sure. Keep in mind that he is just entering an age when resistance to his parent’s wishes is healthy. Willfulness, resistance and rebellion are part of becoming a more independent two year old. So, I would be careful about congratulating him for going on the toilet, because that could backfire by making it something he has to NOT do in order to assert his independence. Does that make sense?

  7. avatar Kameron says:

    We have a 3yr who has easily been going potty (#1) since April. One day he was ready and hasn’t looked back. But #2 has been more of a struggle. He doesn’t have accidents (except once he had a potty accident where he was very surprised and upset but we were calm and relaxed). But he often holds it in until it hurts (and plugs the toilet). We’re not sure how it started, but he’s clearly afraid it will hurt coming out so he holds it in which makes it hurt more and justifies his fears. We are currently trapped in the cycle you mentioned here:

    “…because some children will “hold” and begin a vicious cycle of constipation. The constipation creates painful BMs, which then leads to more holding and more serious constipation.”

    It’s getting worse and we don’t know how to help relax his fears or to acknowledge the pain he needs to go through when his BM get backed up. How can we help him move beyond this within the context of healthy emotional development?

    • avatar janet says:

      Kameron, I’m sorry you are going through this — it has apparently become a common issue. Did you happen to read the article I linked to by Steven Hodges, M.D., a pediatric urologist? It’s a eye-opener: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-hodges-md/potty-training_b_1424826.html Google him and you’ll find more articles and he’s also recently written a book, which I’m sure would be helpful.

      Beyond that, I would consult your pediatrician and consider contacting Hodges (I believe he has a blog) or seeing a local specialist. Behaviorally, I would let go of any agenda surrounding toilet learning, which sounds like what you are already doing. Wish I could be of more help.

      • avatar Elanne Kresseer says:

        We had an experience with our daughter that was sort of like this. It had nothing to do with potty learning, but we were in Hawaii when she was around 19 months old and she was, by her choice, spending large parts of the day without any clothes on. A couple of days went by and I realized that she hadn’t pooped. I decided it must have been because she didn’t have a diaper and so was holding it. So I tried to put a diaper on her for the part of the day when I thought she would go, but by then I think she was already constipated. Then it became hard for her to poop and when she finally went it was painful. That one experience started a viscious cycle of her holding it because she was afraid it would hurt and then it getting to the point where it did hurt. Honestly I finally put her in the bathtub to see if the warm water would relax her enough to let it out. And it did, which may sound yucky, since she pooped in her bath water. But I didn’t care because it was so important that she get it out with minimal pain. So we cleaned out the tub and gave her another bath.

        The important thing is this. The fear of painful poop lasted for months after that. My husband and I both realized that this could turn into a very serious problem and so we did a few things. We gave her a good quality probiotic. Not a lot but a small dose to make the bm a little more soft so that it was easy to pass and with the idea that we needed to undo any connection between it being hard and painful. She was and is still in diapers so this was fine. Then when she would start doing a “poop dance” going up on her toes trying to hold it in out of fear we would very matter-of-factly and gently say, just let it out, poop needs to come out. Then no more. We didn’t make it a big deal. Sometimes she would be scared and want me to hold her. Other times she’d really cry and I’d empathize but stay very low key because I didn’t want to add to any drama around it. I’d ask her if she wanted me to fold her legs up to make it come out easier and then do it if she wanted to. Sometimes she was too scared for that. But with the probiotic even if she missed a day because she was able to hold it in, by the next day she would likely poop despite trying to hold it and it would come out easily. Then we’d again make no big deal, just change her diaper as we always had.

        We also read the book “Everybody Poops” by Taro Gomi. It seemed to bring some levity to the situation. She is almost two and it has only been in the past month that she is back to pooping without any concern. So those few days had an emotional impact of a few months.

        I also think it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor. I thought too that it might be helpful to hear another parents experience with it.

        • avatar janet says:

          I love the way you handled this situation, Elanne!

    • avatar Jenny says:

      Thank you for asking this question! We are experiencing the same thing with our almost 4 year old..

  8. avatar Tanya says:

    Hi Janet,
    A family I work for potty trained their two-year old daughter early this summer. A month or less later they went away for about a week without her and she has never gone back to completely using the potty on her own and holds in her pee for a long time and almost never uses the potty for a BM. Diapers are used at nap time and bedtime. Add to this the fact that our schedule has changed, her friend is in school three days a week now..she only sees her once a week now and she has to share time with her friend’s new baby brother when I watch her AND she moved into a new house this past weekend. She has been peeing on the floor. Any suggestions?

  9. avatar Finley says:

    Hi Janet,
    We have followed this approach (asking if he’s ready to use the potty) but he says he wants to wear diapers like a baby. Let me back up: when he was 2.5, he was being potty trained in school. We followed along and he enjoyed the novelty. He was pretty good at keeping his pull-ups dry during the day and going potty in the toilet when we asked him.

    Then, 3 months later, I had a baby and he started a different school. Since then, he’s had no interest. We tried the 3-day method on weekend, per the advice of several friends, and he was only interested in the prize on the first day. He seemed pretty happy with his one new toy and didn’t need the rest of them as motivation to not wet himself and use the toilet. We decided he wasn’t ready and not to push it. We’re bringing it up again because he is nearing his third birthday and I’ve read that boys can be more set in their ways past 3 yrs old. (He also can’t go to his school without being potty trained in the 3 yr old class.)

    So I’ve been asking him if he’s interested in wearing big boy undies, but his answer is “No, just diapers. I’m not a big boy, I’m a baby.” I just casually say, “ok, well let me know when you’re ready.” I don’t know if this is because there’s a new baby (he hasn’t reverted back to a pacifier or bottles or anything else), if its because NOT pottying in the toilet is his way of asserting independence as ou mentioned above, or what.

    What do you suggest? (And no, we don’t have the luxury of choosing a different school that will accept non-potty trained 3 yr olds.)

    • avatar Laurence P says:

      Hey Finley,

      I had a similar problem with French school, where children go at three and must be potty trained.
      We were speeking about potty training and trying it on weekends, without much success (or with no success). We began in the beginning of july to be really more insistant, there were no improvement for a month and a half. Then 15 days before september, he started peeing on his potty.
      He had accidents at school almost every day, then every day during the nap. But people at my school were cool and it improved all year long. Accidents at school have now been really unusual for a long time. But I know he only pees there(no pooh).

      At home I stopped to rush him. I think that the school agenda unfortunatly transformed potty in a problem when he just wasn’t ready. I told him that at home I could take care of it, but that at school two people had 25 children to take care of and that wasn’t possible. Today peeing is ok, but not pooh, and not sleeping times.

      I don’t think boys are set after 3, in France people say it takes longer for them… He improved all year long and can pooh when he is outside home. At home, he prefers diapers for naps and night and I think that unfortunatly he is waiting for them to pooh. I’m trying to do what they acheived at school : clean nap. For the rest we’ll see.

      I know the picture is far from ideal. But I think that because I had to rush things, it will take more time in the end.
      Maybe you can inquire to know what exactly they mean about “potty trained”. Three can be really young age to acheive this, so they must have accidents (my son was three two weeks after septembre when some other children were already three and an half…). My school was cool and he was given time. In some schools they accepted this type of children only on mornings… But I’m sure that people are kinder and more supportive in the States.

      All this story to say that you aren’t in an ideal situation. If your son isn’t ready it might be tough and stressful for you. But he will make it at the end even if it might take longer at home. The good think is that he did it ounce, so he must be able to do it angain if he feels it’s needed. Maybe some books about school would be helpful. In almost all French books they say something about school and the potty… Then you can be honest : tell him you’re cool about diapers, but that he must have some times with underpants to be ready for school.
      Then you’ll see…
      I tried many things except bribing (I don’t beleive in it and felt wrong to me, of course non punishment as well). I also stopped to be “over-happy” when IT happened. I hate being happier for a pooh than for a nice drawing, and I feel that a clever child easily sees the manipulation…

      Best wishes about your training and school for yout boy !

  10. avatar Katie says:

    Hi Janet, great post & very timely as I am having difficulties with my just turned 3 year old. About 6-ish months ago he would go pee on command, odd occasion he would poo. However he would not take himself, not once. So if I didn’t take him he would just wet himself where ever he was. I tried reminding him etc but nothing.

    Eventually I put him back in nappies as he started resisting all together. He tells me when he is doing a wee in his nappy sometimes, but lately has been absolutely flat out refusing to let me change him. Especially when he has done a poo. He will even tell me he hasn’t done a poo at all. Sometimes he will say ‘not yet’ so I ask him ‘ok in 2 or 5 minutes?’ but no matter what he answers with it doesn’t happen. He just screams at me. A few times I have left him but it hurt his bum so now I try & remind him that it could hurt his bottom etc but nothing has been helping at all.

    I’m concerned he won’t want to become toilet aware any time soon & it’s becoming tiresome fighting with him everyime he poos.

    I realise it will happen in it’s own time, I don’t even know what I’m after with this post – reassurance? suggestions? anything? lol

    thank you!

  11. avatar Gabrielle says:

    Hi Janet, Wow. Timely post. My 3.5 yr old is a 2nd child, has always wanted to do what her older sister does, & pretty much potty trained herself ~age 3. (The first took so long to train I had no expectations or goals for the 2nd.) She would go frequently, which seemed to be more for attention than a real physical need, and that got annoying. I don’t know when exactly that changed, but now she almost always has wet underwear, sometimes her pants are wet, and often she won’t say anything. (Only one time recently was it a big gush onto the floor. So I think she definitely has some control over it.)

    I don’t know if she doesn’t feel the urge until she becomes aware of wetness, or she doesn’t want to tear herself away from her activity, or if it’s some sort of reaction to how we would respond when she went to the potty so often before. (Now when I offer her the potty more frequently, or tell her we have to go before leaving the house, she refuses.) I don’t know if it’s a regression because the summer has been tough on all of us… and unfortunately yelling has become all too common in our house (really working on that!). Sometimes she’s totall dry in public, & sometimes she’s soaked. I just don’t know what to make of it, and I’m really worried it’s going to happen in school this year & they’re going to kick her out. Thankfully, we do have some time…

    Once trained, she sometimes would stay dry overnight, but I was nervous & kept a diaper on her. She would whip it off in the morning first thing. Now she keeps it on & wants to leave it on until I dress her (which, during the summer, has been after breakfast but that’s an easy thing to change).

    Anyway, do you have any insights? (I’ve gleaned some of my own just in writing this. Yikes – bring on the mommy guilt.) But any feedback and advice is appreciated. Thank you!

  12. avatar Rick Ackerly says:

    The most important concept in this post is the evils of making boys feel that they are not growing up fast enough. The shame that comes from that lasts a lifetime–it’s like lead in your emotional system–it doesn’t go away.
    The most useful thing that anyone said to me as I was raising my first child (decades ago) was: “Oh, Rick, look. You don’t have to make it happen. Do you know any 10-year-olds still in diapers? The question is how the process affects the quality of your relationship with your child. If done right, it has no impact at all, cause toilet training has nothing to do with relationship.”
    Thanks again for being so spot on.

    • avatar janet says:

      Excellent point, Rick. Thank you!

    • avatar Rose says:

      I’m guilty of using this phrase over the past month, he had been saying he was a big boy so when he did certain things I would say wow your such a big boy! Is there anything I can do to reverse the damage or should dropping it now completely be sufficient? He’s 2 and 3/4

  13. had to go back to this post for some encouragement, janet! we recently had to go from underwear back to pull-ups because sisi was regressing and starting to hold her bms, and i could tell she was feeling a lot of shame and fear during her accidents. she would look at me and say, “mommy is so frustrated.” she could just tell. and i just couldn’t lie and say, “no, i’m not frustrated” because i was so so so frustrated :/ we are going back to pull-ups for both of our sakes! and i need to reassure her that it’s not out of punishment. hoping to undo some of the damage i may have done. this article is the best post on potty training i’ve come across. thank you!

  14. avatar XW says:

    My daughter has been using the toilet for several months (she just turned 3), but only to pee. She flat out refuses to use the toilet to poo, and prefers doing it in her diaper. As such, I have not switched her to underwear, even though she has stated that she wants to. I told her that she would have to both pee and poo in the toilet before I would give her underwear, and to let me know when she is ready. However, there seems to be no signs that she is going to be ready anytime soon, and she is already 3.

    In addition, although she does pee in the toilet, she doesn’t like too, and prefers to just do it in her diaper and have me change her, because she doesn’t like it wet.

    I kind of prefer letting her set her own pace and previously have not really been concerned about her toilet skills, but as she is getting older, and nothing seems to have changed in the last several months, I’m wondering if there is something I can do to help encourage her.

  15. avatar Linda says:

    I know exactly where you are coming from Amanda! My 2.5 year old is exactly the same. I almost feel like I “missed” the opportunity a year ago. She was interested in the toilet, and even went on a few times by her choosing… but I didn’t press the issue and she stopped bothering with the toilet until a month ago.

    Fast forward to today – She flat out refuses to wear diapers since we introduced underwear. Its been a messy three weeks, and she is embarrassed when she has accidents (which are only occasional, maybe 1 every other day) but then will refuse (like I said) to wear underwear. I mean REFUSE, she gets so upset if I even bring up the idea. We are making the potty sort of… not a big deal. If she goes, great. If she messes.. we clean up and she helps us.

    My fingers are crossed that this resolves itself for you quickly!

  16. avatar Cecilia says:

    Hi Janet!

    First of all, thank you again for your blog! You have no idea how much it has helped me be a better mom for my daughter 🙂

    I have a question about toilet learning. For about 2 months now my 3 year old has been using undies mostly every day without accidents. However, she only has BM while wearing a diaper (either before or after nap when I put her diaper on again for sleeping), if she’s wearing underwear she’ll ask for a diaper to have a BM. I don’t make a big deal and just put her diaper on, she’ll go, and after I change her she’ll ask for underwear again. So my question is, if I should keep doing this (putting her diaper for BM when she’s wearing underwear) or tell her that if she’s wearing underwear that means that she wanted to use the toilet. I don’t want her to “hold it” since she can become constipated so I rather let her use a diaper, but I’m wondering if by doing this I’m delaying her use of the toilet for bowel movements (sometimes I feel she’ll never use the toilet for that! LOL)

    • avatar Carolyn says:

      Cecilia, I hear you. I’m in a similar situation with my 2.5 year old. She’s 100% wearing panties (even for nap) at daycare. But she holds her bm all day until she gets home and asks for a diaper. She also is not interested in panties at home and wears a diaper or pull up all weekend. I’ve been following her lead and hoping at some point she’ll decide to bm in the toilet and stop wearing a diaper at home but I’m worried about her holding bm during the day as it sometimes causes constipation then starts a cycle of holding due to anticipation of uncomfortable bm.

  17. avatar Nikki Rudolph says:

    At 15m we started potty training. No more diapers during awake periods. If she started to go , I’d whisk her to the toilet or potty. At three weeks we ditched diapers at rest periods. Sometimes she wakes up dry sometimes not. We are at the end of 6 weeks with this…half the time she signs and we go/she goes and uses her own potty. Half the time she has accidents. This is all at home. If we go outside or do errands, she stays dry, or uses public toilet or lets me know to take her.

    I’m so confused.

  18. avatar Kelly Reya says:

    Hello and thank you for your post…
    I have a question for you. My daughter is going to be 4 soon. She was using the toilet for pees and poos and then had an illness which lead to a pretty traumatic and severe poo accident and hasn’t gone back to using the toilet since. After that, her brother was born (a huge adjustment). I am basically having a hard time trusting it will happen as she is almost 4!!! We have had open conversations about going on toilet and she says she is scared. We have said that mom and dad can help teach her and it doesn’t have to be scary. And she seemed open to that. I don’t want to push her but I also don’t know anyone as old as her still in diapers! Any suggestions? And thanks 🙂

    • avatar Julie says:

      “… I don’t want to push her but I also don’t know anyone as old as her still in diapers!”…

      There are plenty of children that age that are still in diapers. My son is 4 and 1/2 and still wears them 🙂

      Just want to say hang in there.

  19. avatar Harmony says:

    Hi,
    I’m wondering if you can give us any advice or reassurance – I think we have really messed up our son’s potty training but I don’t know what to do now. He’s just over 3.5years old. Back when he was 2 he didn’t mind sitting on the potty and even had one wee in there. Then suddenly for a reason we never understood he was adamantly against the potty. Since then we have periodically tried getting him to sit on the potty/use the potty/toilet seat and he absolutely refuses. We’ve tried the usual stuff of charts and rewards, we’ve also tried laying off and telling him we trust that he’ll tell us when he’s ready. But he never seems to be ready. When we mention it, he basically says he wants to be in nappies all the time and he isn’t ready. I go between being ok with that to being frustrated, and my husband is getting really fed up. We’ve now told him they don’t make nappies as big as he is and that he’ll have to give them up soon (fastening them tighter so he feels that they’re a bit uncomfortable). This just seems to stress him out, and he still is highly resistant to anything to do with the potty/toilet. I just don’t know what to do now. If you have any suggestions or encouragement it would be very welcome!

  20. avatar JenM. says:

    Hi Janet, I find your advice & podcast extremely helpful, encouraging and relevant as a SAHM to two girls (ages 2 & 4). Would you give the same advice about putting the child into diapers in your original answer to the potty training question to a child who will be 4.5 years old next month? The explanation you gave about switching to diapers is just what I want to say to her to help her with toilet learning. She has pee accidents daily and doesn’t seem emotionally ready to get to the bathroom on time. I am curious if the reaction to her wearing diapers from friends & at school would be harmful to her if she were to show up in diapers as she was diaper free last year around these peers. I would appreciate your insight and am happy to provide more info if needed.

  21. avatar Kiley says:

    We have done it all wrong I’m afraid! I started doing a potty training boot camp when my daughter was about 2 and a half. We stayed home, going ok the potty every hour or so, sometimes wearing panties, sometimes without them. She seemed to catch on and even started pooping on the potty. A few months later and now she resists going occasionally and has yet to tell me when she has to pee. So I take her every hour or hour and a half. She always will pee when I sit her down. I don’t want to go back to diapers and she doesn’t either, but I’m burnt out because of her resistance. What do I do?

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