Category Archives: potty training

Baby Steps: a Potty Training Update

I wrote a post early last week, that I actually posted yesterday about Potty Training Becoming a Discipline Issue.

I’m happy to say that we have made some huge successes this week. Jude is initiating going to the potty on his own, letting us know when he has to go and hasn’t pooped in his pants in almost a week. We are very proud of his steps toward potty training and let him know every step of the way how well he is doing.

Basket of Underwear for Potty Training

I think there are several contributing factors at play.

Giving him control of his body but letting him know that mommy and daddy are still in charge.
In the beginning we tried to control potty training too heavily with timers and rules. He would get upset because we would make him try to go potty even though he didn’t have to go. So then we swung to the opposite end and let him take control, which lead into discipline issues where he tried to control everything else too. Finally, we realized that neither of these techniques worked. So we decided to give him the opportunity to trust his instincts go potty when he needed but also set up discipline system for him if he became disrespectful or bossy. I think this technique gave him enough freedom to make the right choices but also realize that he couldn’t get away with anything he wanted.

When we encountered a discipline issue surrounding potty training we made sure that he knew why he was in trouble. Usually he’d throw a tantrum so we put him in timeout for a few minutes to calm down and then we talked about why he got in trouble. I always start by asking him why he was in time out and he usually knows exactly why he got in trouble. (Usually for talking back or not listening) Then after talking about the issue (and giving hugs) we go back to the situation and try to do it properly, in this case it means trying to use the potty or making him clean up a mess he made. I always make him do the work and encourage him that he is doing a good job.

Secondly, We only use Pull-Ups for nighttime.
After our potty training reset we took some time off and reverted to using Pull-Ups. This was a good way to take the pressure off him but it also made it harder for him to understand when he was wet. Essentially, he understood that he was basically wearing a diaper and took full advantage of it. So we had a talk and explained that Pull-Ups are only for nighttime now and that he had to wear big boy underwear during the day and use the potty.

The first few days were a little rough and occasionally he would end up basically naked but it certainly helped. Now he prefers to get dressed on his own and that includes picking out his underwear. We keep a pile of clean underwear downstairs so if he has an accident it’s easy to get a new pair. (He often pees a little in his underwear before he realizes he needs to go potty.)

Finally, We give him plenty of Praise for doing a good job.
In the same way we are consistent with disciplining bad behavior we make sure to praise good behavior. Just like everyone, Jude loves knowing he’s done a good job. But we have to be careful to not make too big of a deal because he will get embarrassed. In the past we tried giving him rewards for potty training (candy, stickers, toys) but none of these were incentive enough for him. What works best is simple words of praise. A good job and a high five mean much more to him than a piece of candy.

We are still training but I’m very happy to see him making such great progress over the past few days. Hopefully, it will stick this time around.

When Potty Training Becomes a Discipline Issue

Timeout chair We’ve been “potty training” for over a year and yet it feels like we are at day 1. We’ve tried all the methods, tricks and rewards and we’ve even had complete success only to have the reset button hit when we moved. We are far beyond learning and discovery, we have hit a discipline issue.

Jude knows HOW to use the potty, all by himself too!

He knows when he has to go potty. He understands the signals his body gives him.

He knows that if he does a good job he will be rewarded.

But none of that matters because we have hit a defiant wall. He chooses to continue to pee and poop in his pants and then lie to us about it. So we’ve started to punish him for these actions. Every time he hides away to pee or poop in his pants he gets a timeout.

I know the “experts” say you should make potty training a positive experience but at what point does it move from a potty training issue to a discipline issue?

I know I’ve expressed my frustration with our potty training journey MANY times and you’re probably wondering if this kid will ever learn to use the toilet. Trust me, I want it to happen more than anyone. I really don’t want to have 3 kids in diapers!

My Almost 4 Year Old Refuses to Use the Potty

Remember all those months we spent potty training.

And then we finally found success potty training. Hooray!
And then we moved and had a potty training regression. Boo.

Well, after weeks of tantrums we decided to take a potty training break.
It’s been over a month now since we started our “break” and there have been little to no signs of potty training every re-entering our lives again.

It makes me furious really, because we worked so hard and finally found success only to be shut down so quickly. We’ve gradually tried to re-introduce the potty just like before, making it fun and that big boys go pee pee in the potty. But Jude has absolutely no interest AT ALL. We’ve tried pull-ups, big boy underwear and no pants and he will pee anywhere and doesn’t care. However, he won’t poop without a pull-up on, so there is that consolation. (If he’s wearing underwear he will go to the potty for number 2) But otherwise he could care less. I know people say he won’t be the kid in kindergarten wearing diapers but I’m not so sure. 

I’m envious of the people that say, “Oh we just sent him to daycare and within a few days he was potty trained.” 
I wish I could pass off potty training to someone else but we don’t have that luxury, we have to do it old school and teach him ourselves.  
I’ve considered seeking some professional assistance on the matter because it’s not that he can’t or doesn’t know how to use the potty. It’s just a full out, I don’t wanna!

I don’t usually compare my childrens’ accomplishments to others but I feel like I’ve somehow failed this part of parenting. Like we’ve done some irreparable damage and are now forever screwed.


Potty Training Update

Ok, so after much helpful yet varying input on yesterday’s post we’ve decided to take a little break from potty training.

I hoping this will reduce the stress level for both Jude and I. While I feel like it’s a big step back and like I’m a failure at potty training my kid I also understand that with our recent move he is completely overwhelmed. I’m trying to not take it personally but it’s hard. I know that this is only a brief season and once he starts to regain his confidence I know he’ll be back to using the potty in no time.

So I’m going to the store to buy some more pull-ups and reminding myself that I’m a good mom.

I need your Pottying Training Advice

Potty Training is my enemy.
Jude refuses to wear a pull-up except at night because he’s a big boy and “uses the potty”
However, he has a least 4-6 pee accidents a day.

At this point it’s a battle of wills and I have no idea how to win this battle.

Daily Senario
Knowing it’s about time for him to go potty…
Me: Jude let’s go use the potty. 
Jude: I can’t
Me: Yes, you can. You are a big boy. I will go with you.
Jude: No (starts to cry)
Me: Jude, it’s time to go potty. (takes his hand and gently leads him to the bathroom)
Jude: NOOOOO (screaming and going limp)
Me: Jude, STOP. (letting go of his hand) Stand Up. Now. One. Two.
Jude: (begrudgingly stands up still crying)
Finally in the bathroom
Jude: (loudly crying)
Me: Ok let’s go potty. You are a big boy and you know how to use the potty. Do you need my help?
Jude: NO (more crying while standing completely still)
I stand there waiting for him to calm down a little so we can continue except at this point he’s already peed in his pants because he made himself so upset he peed himself. I kneel down to help him remove his wet pants and he starts to push me away and fight back. I get his pants of and place him on the potty. He’s still wailing and completely unresponsive physically. I walk away. He continues to cry. Then stops crying and then begins to play in the bathroom. I return only a few seconds later.
Me: JUDE! We are using the potty right now not playing. Sit on the potty. (in my stern voice)
Jude: (more crying) finally goes potty a little.
Me: Good job buddy. See I knew you could use the potty. You are a big boy. I’m proud of you for using the potty. You need to listen to mommy and obey. Let’s wash our hands.

End scene

Ok so that is a typical scenario in our house. What am I doing wrong. He completely knows how to use the potty by himself. I’ve seen him do it several times… all alone. But his big problem is me telling him to go potty but if I don’t tell him to go potty he will pee his pants. He doesn’t care if his pants are wet. He would walk around the house all day with wet pants on, get a bad rash and not care.

I’m at my wits end here. But here’s the kicker, he will almost always make it to the potty in time to poop.. without any assistance or asking.

Potty Training Set Backs

We had a few good weeks of a potty trained 3 year old. Then we moved and all of our months of work went out the window. Full on tantrums. Refusal to go potty. Battle of wills. Loads of wet pants. 

Uggg. I’m exhausted.

I know he has had a really hard time transitioning with the move but we worked so hard to potty train and I thought for sure we had it. Then we throw in a major change like moving and my kid has a complete meltdown. 

I mean I get that he might have accidents because he’s uncomfortable with the move but it’s so much more than just potty training. He’s exerting his will power and whenever we ask him to do anything he refuses or says he can’t. I am really trying to be patient with him and understand that this transition is extremely difficult for such a little guy but it’s wearing on me.

Should we put him back in pull-ups? Let him continue to wet himself? He doesn’t seem at all phased by peeing in his pants. He’s not embarrassed or all that uncomfortable. I’m trying to not get upset at him but it’s the blatant disobedience that gets me riled up. 

Have you ever experienced discipline issue in a child during a big transition? How did you handle it?

Potty Trained

So it would appear that Jude is, for the most part, potty trained. He still has the occasional accident and he hasn’t mastered overnight potty training but otherwise I think we did it. I didn’t think it was going to happen but sure enough one day it just clicked. 

I think the biggest factor in successful potty training for Jude was letting him take control. He needed to be able to do each step of using the potty process by himself. He rarely announces or asks to use the potty he just stops what he’s doing and runs to the bathroom. 

I’m very proud of him and also proud of myself for sticking to it even when things got messy.

Potty Training a Strong-Willed Child

It’s been almost 1 year since we started potty training with Jude and things are finally starting to click.
Maybe we started before he was ready.
Maybe we started before I was ready.
Maybe our technique wasn’t right.
Maybe, maybe, maybe….
Everyone said, “Don’t worry, he’ll get it when he gets it.”
I doubted them. I was certain I’d be the mom with a 18 yr old still wearing a pull-up. But alas they were right and my 3.5 yr old doesn’t wear diapers anymore. (He does wear the occasional pull-up at night and when we are gone from the house for a long time.)
So how did we get here? Why did it take so long? What did we do that finally clicked?
Here’s what we tried:
3-day potty training boot camp
candy rewards
potty charts
no underwear
peer pressure
little potty chairs
potty seats for the big toilet
What did NOT Work:
3-day potty training boot camp
candy rewards
potty charts
no underwear
peer pressure
little potty chairs
potty seats for the big toilet
What DID Work:
I know that’s not much of a consolation but it’s true.
However, here are few tricks that can help if you have a strong-willed and spirited child that you are trying to potty train.
1. Practice Makes Perfect – Jude had to be comfortable doing every step of using the potty by himself without assistance. So the first few months of potty training was him learning about the potty, learning about underwear, learning about feeling wet… He had to be able to take off his pants, use the potty, wipe, flush, put on his pants, and wash his hands ALL by himself before he was ready. Bonus for me because I don’t have to help him now.
2. Positive Reinforcement – Potty training is a whole new experience and Jude needs to be constantly encouraged that he is doing the right thing. Joe and I gossip to each other, within earshot of Jude, about how great of a job Jude is doing using the potty. I tell Jude how great he’s doing when he uses the potty. When he seems apprehensive about going to the bathroom I encourage him and let him know that he CAN do it. Words are a mighty powerful tool.
3. Don’t Ask, Tell – No is a popular word among toddlers and preschoolers. Jude just went through a phase where everything was NO until it was his idea. 
“Jude, do you want a snack?”
“No, I don’t want a snack. I want a snack mama.”
“Jude, do you have to use the potty?”
“No, I don’t have to use the potty.”
(pees on the floor)
So instead of asking if he has to use the potty, I tell him to go use the potty. It’s not a a question, it’s a directive.
4. Seize the Opportunity – Regular reward systems didn’t work for Jude. Giving him an M&M each time he used the potty was hit or miss. He would rather keep playing than stop to use the potty for 1 M&M. Sticker charts also didn’t work for the same reason. He’s a child with ever changing needs so what was influential yesterday may be old news today. So I learned to use his “wants” as opportunity to use the potty. 
“Mama can I have a snack?”
“Sure, go use the potty first.”
“Mama can I play outside?
“Sure, go use the potty first.”
“Mama can I watch TV?”
“Sure, go use the potty first.”
You get the point. Every time he asked to do something he had to earn the right by using the potty (or at least trying).
5. Giving Space While Being There – Toddler/Preschool age kids are in a hard spot. They long for independence (I can do it by myself!) yet also long for our help and approval. I let Jude know I’m there to help and encourage him but try to give him the space he needs to feel independent. This usually means I tell him, “Let’s go use the potty.” grab his hand and encourage him as we walk to the bathroom. When we get into the bathroom I sit on the side of the tub while he does all the work and wait for him to ask for help if needed. He knows I’m there to help but I’m not forcing myself into the situation. On the occasion he goes to the potty by himself I usually take a pass by the bathroom just to ensure everything is going smoothly.
I’m no expert on potty training and each child is different but these are the things that have helped us and I thought they might be helpful to others. Potty training can be very challenging not only for the child but the parents as well.
We are still on this journey but I can’t tell you how elated I am over the recent progress.
What techniques worked for your child when you were potty training?