Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Potty Training: Going No Where Fast

I've decided to put our structured learning activities on hold while we focus on potty training. I think I am going to have to really force the issue and start a regimented bathroom check schedule. I used these when I taught early childhood special ed and they do work but are labor intensive. For my own sanity, I think it's best to focus on one thing at a time. We'll still be playing, going on day trips, and doing art so we'll keep busy. This way I won't have the added stress of lesson planning.

It's unfortunate that I have to resort to it, but it's not coming along naturally at all. Last summer she had some initial success and was doing really well for a week. Then she decided going on the big girl potty was not for her. It's pretty much stayed that way ever since, with intermittent potty usage but never anything regular.

We've tried most of the things friends, the doctor, books, and the Internet have suggested but if you've got any ideas that you don't see below I'd love to hear them.

Tried or Trying:
  • using pull ups for about a year
  • reward system
  • asking her frequently and reminding her to go
  • sitting with her
  • using travel potty seat cover, her little tushie will fall right through otherwise
  • providing "entertainment" like books for while she's using the potty
  • reading potty books and watching potty DVDs with her
Planning on:
  • switching to big girl cloth panties, haven't decided if I should use plastic seat covers too...opinions?
  • bathroom check-off sheet
  • sticker reward chart, to make it concrete
  • continue reward system
  • systematic bathroom checks, thinking about starting every half hour. Thoughts, too much?
  • I've seen these pretty expensive potty training pants in the store. They're about eight dollars for three cloth panties with extra padding.
  • Has any one used them?
  • Do you use them and then still put plastic underwear covers over them?
  • Or can you use regular panties with the plastic covers?
  • Regular panties alone?
May have to resort go letting her run around on the deck in a long dress or my old t-shirts sans bottoms soon! Okay mommies with successfully trained kiddos, I know there's got to be someone who's little darling didn't train themselves all by themselves by twenty months. Send me some advice, please:) Thanks!

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20 Friends Said:

Grandma Norma said...

I got her 6 pairs of "Princess" panties yesterday. Something that worked for me back in the day was to use training pants instead of Pampers because the wet training pants were so uncomfortable. Don't know if those are even still being made. Hopefully your friends with more recent experience will have helpful suggestions.

Grandma Norma

MamaOfOne said...

E is 17 months and uses the potty almost exclusively now.We never used pull ups instead we just went right to big boy underwear.In the beginnning it meant leaving out about 20 pairs every day but now we can normally last all day in just one.We used a sticker chart to record his potty time.In the beginnning we sat him on the potty every hour.Now that he has gotten better at going on his own we ask him if he needs to go every 2hours.We cut out liquids 2 hours before nap and bedtime and that has reduced the night time accidents.We only allow books for potty entertainment otherwise he's just too distrated.Good luck

The girl who painted trees said...

Bear uses those thick panties that are kind of expensive. I love them because if she has an accident, she still feels the wetness, but the extra padding catches most or all of the accident and then I don't necessarily have to change her pants (or clean a puddle), just the panties. We don't use the plastic pants with them. We also use regular panties. Bear still needs to be "taken" to the potty. She often says she doesn't have to go when asked, but she really does have to. I kind of try to stay aware of how long ago it has been she she last went.

MaryAnne said...

I tried most potty training tactics with my daughter and was getting nowhere. Finally, I decided to drop the entire thing - apart from the sneaky introduction of the occasional potty training video/storybook, comments about how her friends used the potty, and talking about how big kids use the potty. I had big girl underpants that she helped pick out, and I kept them where she could easily reach them. The day before her third birthday (so you see she was much older than 20 months old!), she decided (literally out of the blue) she was a big kid and was going to use the potty. She work big kid underpants to her birthday party with no accidents, and while she did have a couple accidents after that, it was overall a very stress-free experience and, in retrospect, well worth feeling like my child was the last to potty train. Interestingly enough, she seems to do better in terms of not having accidents than many of her friends who trained earlier.

I've heard that running around sans bottoms works well. I also have three pair of the expensive cloth panties with extra padding. They work decently well, but are not waterproof. I use them on my 18mo, who occasionally decides he's going to be a big boy and use the potty. I don't put plastic pants over them, but I do keep track of how long he's been in them. They do a good job of containing poop (the ones I have are made by Imse Vimse).

The Harris Family said...

We did the sans bottom way...nothing else seemed to work. We just stayed in doors about 3 days. I kept her little potty chair in the living room (gross I know)and finally told her if she used to potty Cinderella would call (my mom). It worked really well and after the first time she went in the potty she didn't really have much trouble with accidents. It was an easy adjustment to the big potty. We still haven't tried nights.

Kim said...

I am so glad you posted this question. I am trying to train my 3 year old boy who has no interest. I need some advice as I just gave up and put him in diapers. I will continue to read your comments for help!!

teachingyoungchildren said...

We went with a relaxed approach - we waited until Anna finally peed on the toilet (we skipped the potty entirely), praised her lavishly and gave her chocolate. Then we started wearing big girl underwear gradually increasing the amount of time she went diaper-free. We are still "paying her" for going - 2 M&Ms is a going rate. Pooping was a little more difficult, the first potty present didn't impress her, so we had to up the ante. She was pleased with the second offering (a soap dispenser in a shape of a clown fish), so she was a lot more motivated to poop to see what else she is going to get. After 2 more poop presents, we switched to a potty sticker chart, and now she is satisfied with M&Ms. Good luck trying - I hope ER is trained soon.

Annette said...

No pullups unless your out. Only underwear or the training pants...but the underwear type. I don't have any opinion about the plastic pants, but I would just plan to not use them and know you might clean up a lot of messes.

Friends have gone with no bottoms with much success. I wouldn't go oversized shirt/dress...just regular shirt though...

If she still shows no interest after a few days with special undies, I'd just stop.

Mama King said...

This post is so timely! Em is showing signs of being ready for training.

What worked for Lulu:

Reward: 1 Mini Marshmallow for Pee, 1 Large Marshmallow for Poop. This was probably the key to success. Lu was very reluctant to go poop in the potty. That is why she got a big marshmallow.

Princess underpants!! Feeling the pee running down your leg doesn't feel good so... Although we did have a nightmare incident in a store dressing room! So pull ups when your out!

Asking at wake up, before snack time, before lunchtime, before nap time, after nap time, before dinner, and before bed. And anytime you are going to get in the car.

I kept a small potty on our main level as there is not a bathroom there. It also made it easier for her to go when playing.

We still have a folding potty to go (Fischer Price) in our car. It uses small bags. I can't tell you how many times that has come in handy. Esp. if your somewhere where the bathroom choices are sketchy at best.

Good Luck! It can be a long and frustrating process. Oh I forgot another big help. Lu had a cousin who was potty trained but younger than her. Well this did not sit well with her when her cousin went into the bathroom and shut the door to go potty. Lu wanted to see what she was doing and her cousin said she needed PRIVACY! Well don't you know the very next day Lu wanted to go in the big potty and have the door shut - for privacy! So if you have any friends with kids who are trained let ER see them using the potty. Sorry so long winded!

Michelle Sybert said...


I have been through this twice and my first piece of advice is to not sweat it too much. They will eventually go in the toilet! Do what works for you. Both my kids were 3 by the time they were potty trained and I used different methods for each.

My daughter was a reward chart kid and loved the idea of stickers. Going #2 was more of a challenged so I upped the reward from stickers, to candy, and eventually a small toy. We also did the big girl panties from the start and no matter how much I wanted to, I never went back. She was having a lot of accidents at one time, so I just kept her home for 3 straight days (and let her run around in a s little clothes as possible).

My son was a little more stubborn about the whole thing.We tried it all... What motivated him was a toy he could actually see and touch (but still in the package). We put it in the bathroom, so every time he went to the potty he could look at it and spend time with it and after two straight weeks of no accidents...he got to open it! worked like a charm. he needed pull ups at night for about a month or two after that, but eventually grew out of night accidents.

Miller Moments said...

I have no experience with girls, but have potty trained two boys and all I know is that it seems like they do it when they are ready. We tried EVERYTHING and then I gave up. I told my son he could just be in diapers for the rest of his life if that was his choice. And then about two months later he was full potty trained. He just came to me and said I need to go potty and that was it. Now 9 mths later I'd say he has maybe had one accident and that was at night! Potty training is one of the most frustrating experiences I think I have ever been in. With my next one, I'm going to handle it totally different....although I'm not sure exactly what that means yet!

Tonja said...

Hey Katie! How have you been?!?

Well we just recently potty trained my 3 year old son. I have to say it was pretty easy when it was HIS idea to go ahead and do it. I have heard that potty training was a good thing when they were ready. With Jake we waited for almost a year for him to be ready and even then no treat in the world would make him

Here are the questions you asked and me trying to answer them the best I can :)

I've seen these pretty expensive potty training pants in the store. They're about eight dollars for three cloth panties with extra padding.

Has any one used them?
-> yes we did and still do from time to time.

Do you use them and then still put plastic underwear covers over them?
-> yes we did and they were the best thing we ever did! Trust me you dont want those accidents getting all over the place.

Or can you use regular panties with the plastic covers?
-> I dont think it is the same b/c the thicker one is meant to feel more like a diaper.

Regular panties alone?
-> Let her pick out her own new big girl panties and make a huge deal out of it. Thats what we did and he thought he was great and wonderful and out first week we only had 1 accident.

Hope I helped some :)

Sharon said...

Katie - unless you're in a big hurry (need to potty train for daycare/preschool/etc.) I say just let it go for now! She'll let you know when she's ready. It'll be so much less stressful for you! :)

dougandcheryl said...

I need help on this one too. Abi was doing really well for a little over a week last summer and here and there she has a day of going potty but mostly she has no interest whatsoever and it does not bother her to sit in it. Gross. So, she's 3 1/2 and no end in sight yet.

Christa said...

I really want my twins potty trained before the new baby arrives, but it is stressing me out! My mom says if you get frustrated it's not time. So I don't know what to do! If you ask them, they always say yes, and then I'm in there for 20 minutes (each!) and they do nothing!

Miss Muffin said...

Well, this might sound really weird but my first thought and really best advice - RELAX! I am not sure if I understood correctly - is ER really only 20 months old? Well, if yes - relax even more! Seriously!
(I am actually wondering why your doctor did not tell you that?)
People here in Germany have very different opinions about the whole potty trainig thing and I am by no means an expert! But I read alot about it ... (Because there are many people here that actually start potty training before the kids are one year old.)
Basically kids have their own rhythm. Most people (doctors and scientists) around here state that kids need to be physically able to control their bladder to be able to successfully use a potty - which usually STARTS at around the age of 2 (of course big variations here possible)! So to me it sounds perfectly normal if she is not potty trained. Of course there are kids that do not need diapers earlier than 2 years - but there are also kids that walk earlier, that speak earlier ... than others. I would really not push it!
I never "trained" my child. I simply let her run around without diapers in the summertime in our garden. We had a potty, but I never put her on it. I just let her play with it and use it when she wanted to. Of course at the beginning she would sit on it - and never pee in it. But I did not mind. Also we never used training pants or anything. I just gave her normal underwear. Of course that works only if you are at home. When we went out we put on diapers. I am pretty sure if a child develops normally at some point they want to be like the "big ones" and they will start using a potty or toilet when they are ready - and the time when they are ready simply varies a big deal, which is normal.
(Of course we also did some of the other things you are doing like reading stories about the whole thing or letting her come with us to the toilet. But I never considered it "training" and also did not do it in a structured way. In my experience it helps alot when kids see other kids use a potty... but I am pretty sure it is no necessary requirement for potty training to be successful.)
Also in my experience (not with potty training, but MANY MANY other things regarding child care) the harder you try to get the child to do something the more it won't work. Those little ones are SO damned clever! All you will do is put ALOT stress on yourself AND probably alot on your daughter. It might even turn out that all what you do will push her further away from using a potty - because she feels the pressure and does not experience it as enjoyable anymore.
I'm not saying that it is not possible to succeed (I met people that actually potty trained their child with about 1 year) - but in my opinion it all comes with a price. And I personally would not want to put that stress on my child.
I can understand your worries though!!! I really do! As I say - I used the relax approach but it was not easy to do so. :-) I was sometimes worrying maybe I don't do enough or maybe I miss something. And of course it is hard to be patient. But for me this approach really paid off! I don't really know what age it was that my daughter did not need a diaper anymore during the day. I am quite sure that it was not before the age of two. Maybe some people say it was late - but well, it came kinda naturally and in the end it happened within a few days. Without pressure and without many "accidents". To me that was totally worth it and assured me that it was the right way.
Hope you'll find a good way for yourself and your daughter!

Little Nut Tree said...

Hi Katie. Miss Muffin has basically covered what I was going to suggest. Here in Switzerland it's very unusual for a child to be fully trained before they're three. Froglet started nursery at 2.5 and he was the only one his age to not be wearing a diaper. I let him run around naked at home starting at about 20 months (tiled floors are the norm here so accidents are no big deal) and diapered him to go out, even for a little while after he seemed to be fully trained at home (at roughly 2.5 years I guess). Now he's 3.5, completely dry days and nights and we had no fuss with night-training, we basically tried it every couple of months and if it didn't work, went back to diapers and waited for the end of the next bag before trying again.
Hope you find something that works!

(Oh I tried doing nature prints last autumn too and found, like you, that there wasn't much variety)

Little Nut Tree said...

I had another thought too. I was potty trained really young, like 18 months, but when my baby sister was born I regressed - and again with the following sister. But Froglet, who was only trained much later than me, only had two accidents after Nutmeg was born earlier this year, which to me doesn't count as regression so much as absent-mindedness. So I think (on that very small sample!) maybe later training can be better?

Deb said...

For my older girl, getting frustrated and just putting her in regular underwear when she was two worked a treat. She knew that as long as there were Pull ups on or plastic pants, it didn't matter. Underwear, however, gets you very wet and messy which she didn't like so toilet-trained overnight. Mind you, it took us about a year of toilet training to get to this stage (first time parents, what can I say?) My younger one (22 months) is currently stubbornly refusing to toilet train (and has been for the last year). When I use the cloth training pants, she tells me just as she's going so there's still a mess to clean up. If I put plastic pants over the training pants, she doesn't tell me till she's REALLY wet. Lots of perserverance and prayer required! All the best.

k-e-household said...

Its time for waffle panties. You can actually get them hand me down too if you are on a budget. We have about 20 pairs now! Some with baseballs and hockey sticks on them too ;)
Pull ups are very wasteful, so wear the waffle underware, or new princess panties around the house. I dont put plastic over top. I find the waffle panties hold the pee in fine. She will stand and watch it come out and probably come and tell you after the fact. Then you just wash them with your laundry--it ends up being cheaper in the end!!
Thats the only advice I have, as we are just into pull ups at daycare, but wear the panties at home. I have hardwoods, and I dont care about the teeny bit of toddler pee. Its summer.


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