Potty training - should I give up this time round ?

Biggie

Registered User
I have been following all the recent threads on potty training and thought I would give it a go with my 26 mth boy. After 6 days, I am about to give up and conclude he I not ready. This is the story:
I use all tricks, including positive enforcment like sticker charts, reward, praise, cool undies; and negative enforcement like thumbs down, making him clean up the mess. He has been on undies for the last 6 days except nap and night. He can speak full sentences an perfectly able to express himself.
He was able to pee and poo on the toilet in the morning when we make him sit on it for like 10-20min. I ask him all the time if he wanted to pee and he always said no. So I get him to air on the toilet every half hour when he hasn't go for a couple hours. Most of the times he has no "output" and I'd say let's try again next time.
Today, he wet his undies just 5min after we sat him on the toilet. He looked upset and ran to the toilet after he fact. And then, it happened again. So I started to think maybe he understand what he's supposed to do but simply isn't aware that he has to pee until after he peed? Or he was just too involved with what he wa doing to pay attention (he gets really focus when he is doing sth). Either way, do you think I should give up now and try again in a few weeks?
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If I were you, I would keep with the potty training by asking your child if he needs to go potty but I wouldn't be as intense and focused about it as you are now. Just keep giving him opportunities but don't take it so seriously and don't get upset if he doesn't potty train quickly. Some children do it in a few days but others take months and months to really potty train. If you feel pressure yourself to make him perform well and he senses that pressure it can REALLY backfire on you and actually make the process a lot longer and much, much more frustrating.

It takes a LONG time for some children to potty train--especially boys. So, it's important to not set any type of time schedule like "My child will be potty trained in ____ amount of days/months." I think we started potty training with my son in earnest before he was 2-years-old (because he was going to nursery school at 2-years-old and we wanted him to be at least a little able to use the toilette there) but I would say he was finally truly potty trained during the daytime (he still wears pull-ups at night in case he has an accident) when he was about 2.5 or almost 3-years-old. He's almost 3.5 now. His grandparents had already been putting him on the potty and somewhat having him use the potty at their house since he was 3 months-old so he had A LOT of exposure to using the potty for a very long time before he really was ready to do it on his own on a consistent basis.

So, I think you can just relax and keep asking him as a normal part of the day "Do you need to go potty?" and then don't focus at all on the mistakes. (At this point, as you are just beginning with him--or at least that's how it seems from your post--I think it is actually inappropriate to really use any type of negative reinforcement--that puts way too much pressure on a child to perform. I really think the only time it's really appropriate to start doing this is if the child has been potty training for a LONG time--like 6 months-1 year and has shown that they are completely willing and able to use the toilette but then they choose not to do so--that is when you really start using small punishments. Punishment can be a recipe for disaster when potty training in the beginning, though.) But make sure that if he in any way does something positive toward potty training that you reward him with praise, stickers, snacks or anything else that he will enjoy. (Even willingness to sit on the toilette should be rewarded, I think as I know children who will scream and run away in terror at having to even SIT on the toilette).

It's also important to make potty training fun--so you need to associated it with a good time--not something he MUST do or he has failed. Some of the suggestions I have are decorating his potty with his favorite cartoon character or having an afternoon where you put the potty in the middle of the living room, strip him bare from the waist down and spend the day coloring, watching cartoons, singing songs, having snacks and doing fun things in the house. Have him drink lots of fluids--maybe his favorite fruit juice, milk or water so that he will have the urge to use the toilette and then just really focus on how "cool" it is to use the potty.

Keep asking him regularly (every 15-20 minutes--but don't ask too much) if he needs to go and if he does successfully give lots of praise and rewards and get really excited about it--celebrate his accomplishment--the look of excitement on your face is probably worth more than a lot of stickers! Eventually he will have the urge to go pee and because there are no underwear to get wet if he accidentally goes on the floor he can see the effects of what happens when you don't get to the potty in time. Then you can give him a towel, and in a non-condemning or punishing tone just say, "That's okay, you didn't make it to the potty in time. Next time you will. Now, we need to clean your pee up so you can help mommy do that."

We did this sort of activity with my son a couple of times and it really helped him get excited about potty training and made him much more eager to go on the potty. It takes patience and time but I think it's a good investment.

Just one more note--when my son really got involved in his own potty training was when he went to school (nursery school and kindergarten) and started to see other children using the toilette. Also, his grandparents have a good influence on this--encouraging him to be a "big boy" and go potty. Then my son made friends with a boy about 2 years older than him and noticed the boy used the toilette by himself at our house and after that he would say, "Mama, I don't need your help. Close the door. I can use the potty." So, peer pressure was very positive in this sense. But, notice, I never said to him, "Look, why can't you be like THOSE kids who use the potty by themselves?" He just noticed it by himself which I thought was really cool.

Good luck. Don't give up but also don't stress about it.
 
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Definitely keep going. Just leave the potty out and about so he can see it. And a good tip is to take them to the toilet every 90 minutes instead of asking every 5 minutes. Accidents will happen and boys tend to take longer than girls. Keep going.
 
Thanks for the suggestions. Keep trying as in keep putting him in undies (and expect to clean up a few times a day) or leave him in pull ups but keep asking him to go?
He has been put in potty every morning since like 8 mth and we have been "soft core" training as in telling him he should poo in toilet for over a year.
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I agree with most of what Thanka had to say. I think that potty training time should (like most everything else in life) include LOTS of mistakes before they finally really get the hang of it. With my daughter, we mostly just let her run around the house at first for 2 hours every morning with just undies on. Of course she peed all over the house, but hey - that's what we were expecting. It did allow her to really learn the sensation of when she needed to pee and all that. I don't think that any kid really LIKES wetting themselves... It was about a week before she got her FIRST pee in the potty - and we were all so proud of her. It wasn't long before most of the time in those two hours, she went in the potty 95% of the time. We then stretched the "no nappy time" a bit longer and a bit longer - then we started trying to take her to her nursery school with no undies (they do potty time there so she was already having "practice" there anyway, even though she was wearing a nappy) - then when she had gotten really good at that, we began taking her to other places without a nappy on. Now we take her almost everywhere with no nappy and she only wears the nappy for sleeping. It was all about her reaching each particular "milestone" in her own time. For her, it wasn't too long and it was probably even easier than I expected. But I would do exactly the same method even if I had to do it over a year instead of over a month. Step by step... :) (Like Sazzy said, I didn't ask every 5 minutes, I figure if I was asking that frequently, it would lose its "meaning"... I asked about every hour or so I think. Now I never ask, except if we're out and we happen to pass a toilet and I don't know when/where the next toilet will be)
 
Thanks for the suggestions. Keep trying as in keep putting him in undies (and expect to clean up a few times a day) or leave him in pull ups but keep asking him to go?
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I would DEFINITELY put him in undies, at least at home for a couple of hours a day - because if he's anything like my daughter, he might not even care/notice that he's going in his pull ups!! I tried to potty train my girl without doing it the "messy way" but I eventually realised that she HAD to pee all over the house in order to learn ;)
 
I totally agree with all other mommies.

When I trained my son at 2 years old, I basically didn't even bother to put him in undies. So, he just went around the house 1/2 naked. It was totally gross and alot of cleaning was required. But, he didn't like the feeling of getting wet etc with pee running down his legs, so he sort of made the effort of telling me he needed to go. Most of the time, he was a little late in telling me.

I did this for a week and it worked. But, by weekend, I decided to put him in pull-ups (since I was going out for a while). He must have realized the difference and decided to pee in his pull-ups. Since that weekend, I was back in square 1 for another week. I think it took my son at least 3-6 months to get it. Now he's 3 and we haven't had an accident for a couple of weeks (fingers crossed!).

Basically, I would NOT recommend pull-ups - at least during the day!
 
When you all started potty training your kid, were they actually willing to sit on the potty? My son always says a big NO whenever I ask him and refuses to sit on it. Aside from that, he's displaying all the other signs of potty training readiness. Am I doomed with this big NO?
 
My daughter said "no" as well but I figured that she HAD to learn sooner or later. I didn't want to put too much negative pressure on her so like I said, I let her run around the house in undies and then when she did pee on the floor, I said "Oh no, let's clean it up. Next time let's try to do your wee wee in the potty instead!" She slowly started sitting on the potty a little, and the first time she actually went, I danced a happy dance and gave her a handful of the "baby" M&Ms - and told her whenever she went, she could get some. The positive reinforcement really worked for her. I was a little worried that she was showing NO signs of interest, didn't care about being in a wet nappy all day, refused to sit on the potty etc... but I figured that at 2.5 (and quite intelligent and verbal, if I may say so myself), she had the ability to learn. I also thought that if I waited for her to be "interested", I might be waiting forever ;) So I just started teaching her even though she wasn't that interested in it herself...
 
My little one says no to the potty all the time too! He just turned 2. He knows the potty is for wee wee and poo poo but he refuses to sit on it!

Nicolejoy - where did you buy the baby m&ms?
 
Oh they're just the mini ones - not ones specifically for babies. My 2.5 year old just calls them "baby m&ms" because they are small. They still are extremely high in sugar and food colouring ;) but I figure they are so small, and she's happy with me just giving her a couple of them - so to me it's no big deal ;)
 
When you all started potty training your kid, were they actually willing to sit on the potty? My son always says a big NO whenever I ask him and refuses to sit on it. Aside from that, he's displaying all the other signs of potty training readiness. Am I doomed with this big NO?

My son was willing but that's just because the grandparents had been putting him on a potty or toilette in one way or another since he was 3 months old (I have this silly photo of my mother-in-law helping him go on the potty when he was that old) so the toilette was no big deal to him.

However, one of my friend's youngest daughter HATED the toilette and would run away screaming if you tried to get her to sit on it. It took her mom probably at least a year to potty train her--she finally was potty trained around 3-years-old but her older brother and sister were potty trained maybe around 2-years-old and it only took a couple of weeks to get it done. Does he say "no" to both sitting on the toilette with a children's seat and the potty?
 
@Biggie

What types of rewards do you use? My son loves gummy snacks so we found some made with juice and that's how we trained him to go pee in the toilette consistently. He got 5 gummy snacks every time he went. Now, he doesn't even ask for them anymore.

Training him to go poo in the toilette was so frustrating and finally one day my husband said to me, "I am so tired of him not pooing in the toilette that every time he goes, I am going to start giving him ice cream." So, that's what we did. And he started going poo in the toilette consistently almost immediately. He hasn't had a poo or pee accident in so many months now I can't remember which is so NICE!

So, you said you give rewards but it might be that you need to search for a bigger or better reward that really appeals to your son. With my son, it was ice cream because we rarely let him eat it so it was a BIG deal that every time he went he got ice cream (and we kinda "lie" a bit and call things like frozen juice snacks that have an ice-cream quality "ice cream"). Now, he doesn't even ask for ice cream but in the beginning he would be sitting on the toilette really concentrating on pooing and saying at the same time, "I'm gonna get ice cream!" Very cute.

Another note: While a lot of people recommend using stickers as rewards--stickers had no motivational value whatsoever for my son. He couldn't care less about stickers. So, I think it's really important to pick the right reward--especially if you've been training for a long time and it seems to be going nowhere (such was the case with my son and pooing in the toilette).
 
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Rewards...we have sticker chart which he likes. He always love picking out a "big car sticker". He also gets a candy (leftover from CNY....). He doesn't really care about food that much and he hates ice-cream (doesn't like cold food, nor hot food for that matter). He like cars but I figure I can't really give him a toy every time he pee or poo as there are already a lot of toy cars in the house.

btw, my boy says NO too when put on the toilet a lot of the times. We let him bring a toy to the toilet, or read a book on the toilet, which helps keep him there for a bit. I also try to count with him, sing song with him (when we count to 10, or when we turn the page, I'd ask him to push -- like birth coaching -- someone should make a career out of poo coaching).
 
Rewards...we have sticker chart which he likes. He always love picking out a "big car sticker". He also gets a candy (leftover from CNY....). He doesn't really care about food that much and he hates ice-cream (doesn't like cold food, nor hot food for that matter). He like cars but I figure I can't really give him a toy every time he pee or poo as there are already a lot of toy cars in the house.

btw, my boy says NO too when put on the toilet a lot of the times. We let him bring a toy to the toilet, or read a book on the toilet, which helps keep him there for a bit. I also try to count with him, sing song with him (when we count to 10, or when we turn the page, I'd ask him to push -- like birth coaching -- someone should make a career out of poo coaching).

To me, it seems you're just a bit over-focused on keeping him on the toilette. In one of your earlier posts you said you made him sit there for 20 minutes. That is a LONG time for a little kid to sit. It's sort of like a time-out punishment to sit on the toilette--even if he's given toys to play with. I wouldn't be very happy to sit on the toilette if I had to sit there for so long as a little kid and I would probably say "No" too. Toilette seats, even the padded ones, aren't all that comfortable after awhile.

We had the problem of my son getting up off the toilette too quickly too (like within 2 minutes if he hadn't gone he didn't want to sit there anymore) and then immediately peeing or pooing himself afterward but as I said, with the right motivation this cleared up immediately.

Why can't you give him a car every time he goes? Go to the store, buy a bunch of cool but small matchbox cars that he would like and give him one EVERY TIME he goes. This might just be the key. It's like one of those "collect them all" competitions that cereal brands and other kids' foods use to get kids to buy their product which obviously has proven very successful. You'll never know until you try it and believe me, the investment will be worth it if it works and you can buy a small bucket to store all the toys in. Sometimes you really have to up the ante to get the results you want.

And my experience is that after awhile as the child gets used to going on the potty they don't even ask for a reward anymore. My son hasn't asked for a reward in at least 4-5 months but he not only tells us when he has to go to the potty--he goes in there and does it by himself with little assistance needed from us. This is a matter of maturity as he's getting older and more able--but in order to get him to that point we had to start with a reward that really inspired him--not just something he liked but something he would DO ANYTHING to get--even go poo on the toilette.
 
Glad to report some progress. My boy wet his pants a bit, then run to the toilet, and finishes off there!
 
Thanka2, I like the matchbox tcar idea. My boy loves them, and it would also satisfy my toy-buying interest:)
Nicole, I also like your idea. Am thinking of trying it too, now that I know your daughter also said no. The slight problem is that we are leaving here in less than 3 months, might be a bad time to start. But might take it little by little.
 
It took me two week even with the no nappy wet floor approach...keep going. Make sure you tell him "not on the floor must wee wee in the potty / toilet" very time he has an accident. Keep going you're probably more than half way there...
 
Jenn - I would just go for it. Three months is a long time for them when they are so little. He may be completely trained in that amount of time!! And if not, you can continue when you move, might be a bit of a bump in the road but shouldn't be TOO bad...
 
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