Potty Training a Toddler

When a youngster is making the transition to using the toilet, it needs to be a positive experience. This is a guide about potty training a toddler.
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September 17, 2012 Flag

My daughter is 21 months old and I have started to potty train her. I started when she was 19 months, because she was always taking off her diaper or wanting to sit on the potty. Since I have started she has peed in her potty 4-5 times and has pooped in it many times. And sometimes she comes up to me saying mommy I have to go potty.

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Even though she does these things she doesn't tell me she has to go pee until she has already gone, and sometimes she cries that she doesn't want to get on her potty. I don't want to feel like I'm forcing her, but I also don't want to wait too long since she is showing signs that she is ready. What do I do?

By NyLah's_Mommy from Springfield, IL

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September 18, 20120 found this helpful
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Are you using the diaper panties or regular little girl panties? If you use the regular nylon panties like older children and adults wear, let her feel them how nice they are and let her see what you wear. If she goes in them she is not going to like how it feels do this will work good. This is how I trained my children as they didn't have the diaper panties then. It will work.

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September 18, 20120 found this helpful
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I know just what you mean-if she feels forced she may stop letting you know when she needs the potty.

When mine (girl now 35 and son 30, I'm amazed I remember this!) were going through it, if they started to show signs they needed the potty but protested against sitting down, I asked them to sit for just two minutes and put an hourglass egg timer they could watch in there. They were so enthralled with the hourglass sand running down that they willingly sat.

At the end of the two minutes they could get up. Most of the time they didn't need the whole two minutes:)

However, there were times the egg timer sand ran out without them using the potty and on top of that they didn't wet or soil their training pants. That's a huge signal something isn't right with a small child because whilst they can withhold elimination on the potty, they shouldn't be able to also withhold elimination in the training pants.

If your little one doesn't use the potty or her training pants on the same sort of schedule she has been, you need to figure out if she is getting enough fluids or is coming down with something, especially if she isn't urinating-that's an extremely serious signal that you need to have her checked by the doctor!

Just a reminder, if you use the hourglass egg timer, make sure it is a plastic one so that when they are curious and want to explore it they aren't in any danger from glass breaking.

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September 19, 20120 found this helpful
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My oldest daughter, now nearing 30, was a very prissy little lady. I potty broke her at a VERY young age. I did it by having a lady who sewed cute little girls panties make some for her. Bright colors, lots of lace. My daughter loved them and didn't want to dirty them. Plus when she sat on the potty we played games, like Patty cake, and when she did go in the pot we made a big deal out of it. :-) Now, as for getting my son to potty, LOL, that is a whole different story.

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May 29, 2012 Flag

I have a problem; my youngest child is 2 and will be starting preschool next year, but still uses her nappy. I have been told I have to potty train her before she can start. How do I do it? I have tried and she always goes everywhere else but in the toilet. Please help.

By mc4lifes from Sydney, NSW

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May 30, 20120 found this helpful
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What I do is ask them if they have to go potty, (unless they already went) if they say no they still probably do. So I bring them to the bathroom and close the door with myself inside and the 2 year old and tell her she can't go unless she goes potty. It might take a while but be patient. She might also cry a lot just ignore it.

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May 30, 20120 found this helpful
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Are you sure she's ready? Some children aren't ready for potty training till they're a bit older. Potty training is a big step for them physically and mentally. If she isn't starting pre-school till next year I wouldn't rush it. If she gets stressed it might make the job all that much harder.

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May 27, 2011 Flag

I am so desperate! My 2yr old does not want to potty train. She continues to go in her pull ups. I tell her to tell mommy when she has to pee or poo, but she will not tell me. She says any and everything else accept for "mommy I have to pee/poo". I need help. She's in daycare, but in July she will be enrolled to another school then in September she'll be 3 and starting pre-k. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions, because everyone else I speak to say's she'll go when she's ready to go, but I would love for her to go now. Help potty training momma. :(

By Shuquin S.

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May 31, 20110 found this helpful

Get rid of the pull ups they think they are diapers confusing I had 6 children we never used pullups when they were two they received panties for a birthday gift no problems.

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May 31, 20110 found this helpful

I read all the ideas and they sound great, but if they don't work, get the book, "Toilet Training your Child in Less Than a Day". Read the entire book before you start toilet training and do exactly as it says, then you will have a toilet trained toddler! Actually, my son took three days using this method. I hope this helps!

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June 1, 20110 found this helpful

In addition to what Paula and Disks said, I also used a time clipped to the child's clothing. Set for every 15 minutes to use the BR. A couple successful times, move it to 20, etc. I did daycare when my kids were little and this was fantastic for potty training in a day or two. My neighbor sent her daughter to my daycare to get potty trained. She did daycare too and just did not have the patience for doing it.

When just starting out, play time was am, so diapers stayed on, after nap the panties went on. This was for the first couple weeks. Then all diapers off. I had both boys and girls and success in both. My own grandchildren were out of diapers by 20 months. My sons--by 18 months.

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May 29, 2010 Flag

I am trying to potty train my son who is 2 and is showing signs that he's ready for potty training. He doesn't like going in his diaper any more, he wears underwear now. I put him on the potty every half hour, but he will go into another room and take off his pants and go to the bathroom on the floor. I have tried so many things to get him to stop doing it. I don't know what else to do. Please help.

By Dee

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June 2, 20100 found this helpful

My brother's family had a tough time with their son. He finally turned the corner by peeing in an empty coffee can. Candy is really helpful too! Lots of praise and positive reinforcement.

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June 2, 20100 found this helpful

Hello,

I have 2 grandsons and my daughter has potty trained them both. Her method was to make it FUN and then give a treat or prize when they accomplish a pee pee or a bowel movement. She used cherrios or froot loops in the toilet and told them to aim and sink them, they she would reward them afterwards. It took awhile but it worked beautifully. She also bought them "Big Boy" underwear ie: batman, Superman, Cars...etc. If they went in the potty they got to wear them and show them off because they were big boys now. Good Luck

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June 2, 20100 found this helpful

I would put diapers on your son, duck tape them if you need to so that you control where he takes them off to go. You need to control the situation. I would not bribe him with food or toys but with wearing "big boys" pants. He needs to be rewarded with something he values like watching a video or playing on the swing etc. when he does use the toilet. Good luck.

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May 24, 2011 Flag

My daughter will be three on June 9th and she's not potty trained yet. She has peed a couple times and then that was it. Now she says she's scared of it; now what do I do?

By Kristi from Birdsboro, PA

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May 27, 20110 found this helpful

I always started the potty training when the weather warms up and they can wear only training pants. Dont be concerned about her age. I started my daughter in the summer before she turned 4. I have trained several little ones and i have found that the closer they are to 4 the easier it is. One of my children would absolutely not do #2 in the potty. I had to put on a diaper. She eventually got over her fear. It is really easier on everyone to try when the weather warms up.

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May 27, 20110 found this helpful

I wouldn't worry about it too much if she's only turning 3. Rather than put yourself (& her) through the stress, just let her be ready for it and it will happen before too long on its own.

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May 27, 20110 found this helpful

At not even quite 3, I don't think you need to worry. The right time will come along. It will be less stressful for you (& her) if you just back off a while. My daughter daytime trained at 4 and still needed a pull up at night till she was 9. My son is special needs so he trained very late and still needs protection at night and he just turned 11! It will happen and I'll ya, trying to train kids when they aren't ready physically or mentally can be way too challenging.

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June 17, 2008 Flag

I have a 2 year old boy who does not go in his pants all night or at nap time or most days. But there are days where he goes in his pants every time that he needs to go to the bathroom. What can I do to stop him from doing this?

stayathomemomof2 from Muscoda, WI

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June 19, 20080 found this helpful
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Like many people I used the sticker chart when I toilet trained my 3 kids. I let them choose the stickers and put the chart in their bedrooms. Don't punish if your child doesn't get it right every time. Simply say "oh dear", take them to the toilet - if they sit they sit, if not don't force and then get them to help clean up the mess. I found the best way to get my son who is 6 toilet trained was to let him see us adults using the toilet and then asking him to try. He was really taken with the children's toilets at our local shopping centre that had a big person and small person toilet next to each other.

My mum suggested putting them on the toilet and sitting their talking and or reading for about 5 minutes - if something happened well good. I also waited until the summer months and let them run around with no nappy on, but you need to have a week or two when you are going to be home. I do make my kids go to the toilet before we leave home to go out and again before we leave somewhere to come home.

I never used a potty - grandma bought a padded toilet seat and a small step stool. I know it's annoying and frustrating but training can take time and the more you stress - particularly if you have a stubborn child - the worse it will be. I have bought a bed wetting alarm for my son, as he is such a sound sleeper that he just didn't wake up.

After 6 weeks of use - he is dry - I have kept the alarm in case he has a relapse or a cold and we need to do some more training. I also explained to mine that what they eat go used by the body and what was left over came out the other end (the dog proved to be a good teaching tool). I explained that it was natural and everyone did it. The poor dog was observed at great length eating and then pooing. He was observed so much that he got used to having an audience when he pooed that when the fascination wore off and no one watch him - he would come and scratch at the door to get someone to come and watch him. - he's a mad kelpie.

I do remind my kids to go the loo, but when they were little and we did have the odd accident in the shopping centre - I used to carry a small back pack with a spare change of clothes, plastic bag and wipes for a quick clean up. I used to say "oh well" and tried to stay calm. Even now I keep a back pack in the car with a spare set of clothes for each kid.

Do check with your doctor if you think there is something wrong, but don't punish, don't leave kids sitting in wet clothes or knickers. Sitting in wet clothes in not good for their health and can make matters worse as they can panic. Also kids can't hold it - give them plenty of chances to go to the loo - when my 4 year wet her pants at local shop after asking to go to the loo, I was standing in line to pay for something - I ticked her off and got very angry with her. When we meet grandma for lunch - I was in a mad mood and I had a grumpy 4 year old.

Grandma gave my daughter a huge hug and said these things happen. She then asked me what a happened. My mum has bowel and bladder problems herself , so she knows that when she has to go, she has to go. She reminded me of this and that kids only have small bladders. I know that this is not always possible but I do get my kids to go to the loo if I know that we are going to be away for awhile, especially my 6 year old who sometimes gets so focussed on what he is doing, he isn't aware until he really needs to go.

Also give kids reminders. My son knows that after lunch he needs to go to the toilet, as he can't get through the afternoon at school. He has had several accidents - when the teacher has told him to put his hand down. He carries a spare set of clothes in his bag and some wipes, he knows to go to a cubicle in the boys toilets, change, put the wet clothes in the plastic bag and put them in his bag. Since getting him to go at lunchtime - we have had no more problems.

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June 18, 20080 found this helpful

I can see there is already MUCH advice on this and since I didn't read it all I may repeat something...oh well! When my little brother was in the process of being potty trained mother bought him some really honest to goodness BIG BOY underwear! No training pants, diapers, etc. There were no pull ups in those days. She told him BIG BOYS didn't potty in their pants and if he wanted to do that he had to go back to wearing BABY PANTS!!Worked for her!

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August 31, 2010 Flag

I need help potty training my daughter who is 3. She is my only baby and I have not a clue! Thank you for your help.

By Mary from Dallas, TX

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August 31, 20100 found this helpful

http://www.keep … _resistance.html

http://parents. … e/potty/2-3.html

Also read the Archives at the bottom of this page.

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September 2, 20100 found this helpful

The way I did it with mine (28, 25), may not be the current method, but here's what I did. Begin by taking them to the bathroom frequently, but doing nothing. Explain what to do. Show them what you do (keep your clothes on if you want). Talk about the potty, the changes which will happen, etc. Emphasize that this is "big girl" stuff she needs to start to do. Do that a couple of days. Then start taking her regularly and begin the undressing, potty-sitting training. Get a child's potty chair by the way, it's a lot easier. (Let her help you pick it out, that's a good way to get this started, also.)

The hard part of this is: you must take them a half to a dozen times a day, every day, 7 days a week until they begin to get it and you must not get frustrated or angry or scold the child ever. Eventually they will get it. They frequently will go to the rest room, and then wet after they leave it, which is just a part of the process. They are not trying to get back at you or drive you crazy...let them run around partly in "big girl underwear" (get the thicker trainer kind, in my opinion, more absorbent for small accidents), but do not make it hard on yourself by taking them out in public in them, go ahead with the trainer pants or diaper until they are completely trained. Otherwise, you will just give yourself unnecessary headaches.

Expect that there will be slip-ups even after they are trained (kids can do this even up to age 6 or 7). They may have accidents when they have waited too long to go, are tired, anxious, are not feeling well, etc. They may wet the bed even after they are day trained, so prepare for that by not infusing them with a lot of drinks or water late in the day and do not scold them for this. If they wet the bed, then just keep a plastic cover on the mattress and change the sheets, and factor that into away from home situations. Also (of course if this goes on a very long time you might want to talk with your doctor about it). Praise them excessively for all good efforts and results, but don't scold them EVER. Girls are easier to train than boys, in my experience. They seem to latch on it quicker. (I am from Dallas too, fellow Dallasite :).

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September 2, 20100 found this helpful

Put her potty next to yours, demonstrate, and be as casual as you can about it. If you push her, she will probably just rebel. Just show her, encourage her, and then act as if nothing has happened if she does not. But when she does go on her own, that is such a big deal! Party time! My daughter was so stubborn and she was my first, I was afraid she would never learn. Finally she would pee in it, but no poopies, ugh. I finally just left her alone, pretended to forget all about it, forget my worries that she would be in kindergarten in diapers! I just let it go, and sure enough, a couple days later she did it on her own. Had to come show everyone in the house and we had company! yikes! But we got through it and she never even wet the bed after that. Same with my boy, I just let him be , and he found his own time and way, pressure free. He also never wet the bed. I always kept them as comfy as possible, the breathable cloth like pull ups, and then getting real big kids undies was a huge trip to the store to celebrate!

Good luck, she will learn this, she will be fine. Just show her and let her go!

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February 20, 2011 Flag

Why would my potty trained 2 year old start peeing in bed?

By Carol from Chicago

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February 22, 20110 found this helpful

When something like this happens, it is often due to some emotional stress or changes. Because of her age, they cannot process these emotions and therefore regress in a physical way. Don't over react as that will draw more attention to the less desirable act and make sure to use positive reinforcement when she uses the bathroom.

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

A two year old is undergoing massive brain changes (for instance all memory is being processed into verbal memory) You can expect that there will be forward and back in development. This is true of all children at all stages of development. Just get the child some pullups and don't make a big deal about it.

There are many physical things that can cause it as well. Normally, when we sleep our system slows down the process of sending fluid to the bladder. In some people that does NOT happen so they have a full bladder at night and when they go into deeper sleep cycles it empties.

Check other people in your family. Often, bed wetting runs in families.

Remember, the child is not doing this on purpose or out of any naughtiness! Be gentle and understanding. A two year old is still basically a baby!

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November 22, 20110 found this helpful

I would go with the pull ups at night, as suggested, at two they are just not waking up when they need to go.

I raised a 60's baby in Germany and at this time there were only, wash and hang on a line to dry, cloth diapers available.

Needless to say babies were trained as early as possible to use the potty, especially for number two.

I had a double duty highchair with a potty in the seat (turned into a seat with a play-table. Soon after she could sit, I would feed her in her highchair, change the hight chair into a low table with the potty chair attached, pulled her pants down and let her sit and play like this for a while.

Most of the time she would go number one and two shortly after eating. I would then take her off the potty show her, her "creation"... after we both had admired it I, diapered her.

On other times, I observed her and when she started pushing and grunting

I quickly sat her on the potty.

From small on, she was used to the potty and knew what goes in there. I never pressured her, it was just a routine. I did show a little bit of disappointment when she used the diaper. At night I always put a diaper on her until the diaper stayed dry.

I am not saying this is a good approach I just thought it might be interesting to know how Germans of that time potty trained their kids :-)

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February 20, 2011 Flag

My two year old daughter was going potty in the toilet really well. But recently she refuses to use the potty and poops and pees on the floor. What do I do? I praise her when she goes potty on the toilet, but it is not working. Help!

By Amanda from Montrose, CO

Answers:

Toddler Backsliding on Potty Training

Actually this is very normal. If she is a young 2, she may be too young. Some children don't have control of their sphincter muscles until they are 3 or sometimes even closer to 4. A growth spurt that isn't even throughout their body can cause them to temporarily lose control. Other factors, such as being around a newborn or a new puppy who gets attention when they have an accident or diaper change can also cause this. Just put her back into diapers for awhile and then start it again in a few months. (01/20/2011)

By mom-from-missouri

Toddler Backsliding on Potty Training

I think this is normal. Both my girls started peeing their pants after being fully potty trained. Not sure if this issue is a boundary issue, but usually after a short while of sitting in their urine soaked clothes they decide to use the toilet on their own again.

If your daughter really was potty trained before, I would not put her back in diapers as you will have to start the potty training process over again from the beginning.

Good luck and be patient. (01/21/2011)

By LisaE2

Toddler Backsliding on Potty Training

I have found in raising 7 children of my own and doing daycare for 24 years that 2 is really young for them to be successful. Sometimes they are excited because you are, but they lose interest very quickly or get scared when you are disappointed in them. I usually start when they can wake up from their nap dry, usually 2 1/2 to 3. This indicates that they are beginning to have the muscle development that they need to control the urine flow.

You have two choices. Keep her in pullups and continue to work with her by taking her every hour to hour and a half. I give one small marshmallow every time they are successful peeing and 2 if they have a bowel movement. Or you can put her back in diapers and wait 6 months or so and try again. Don't worry about it either way. The main thing is to be patient and loving. Praise the success and clean up the failures without too much fanfare. Above all, do not punish a small child for accidents. This can cause them to withhold going and cause infections and constipation. Be patient with yourself as well. I know how frustrating it can be. Just remember everyone figures it out by the time they get to college. (01/23/2011)

By Jazzylazzy

Toddler Backsliding on Potty Training

Have you tried a potty reward chart? My 2 year old was doing so good then she all of a sudden stopped trying. I went to the dollar store and bought the stuff to make a chart. I bought horse stickers because she loves horses and I bought a bunch of cheap prizes she would like for under $2. She loves it. When she goes to the potty I let her choose the sticker she wants and she puts it on the chart. We just taped it to the back of the bathroom door. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. You have to set your goal. Ours is 5 days without an accident, and she gets to choose a prize out of the bag. I figure $2 a week for pottying is not bad. If she has an accident we just remove a sticker. You can do it. It takes time. (01/30/2011)

By jeslev10

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August 31, 2010 Flag

I need potty training ideas for an almost 3 year old little girl. She lets me know when she needs to have a BM in the potty, but will not let me know when she needs to pee. She has no problem going in her diaper, and if I take off her diaper and just put underwear or pants on her she just goes and doesn't care about her wet pants. I don't want my furniture to smell like pee. Any suggestions? We give her one smartie piece for each pee and an animal cracker for each BM. Thanks!

Thriftymomof2 from Pasadena, MD

Answers:

3 Year Old Girl Potty Training Advice

Before anything else, I'd take her to a Dr. to rule out any physical health causes, i.e. bladder infection, or weak bladder. In some children, their bladder muscles take longer to strengthen, boys especially. But it's not uncommon for little girls to get bladder infections, making it hard to control their urine output.

My niece was prone to this, but there are certain measures to take to lessen the infections from recurring, one of which is to shorten bath-time, and refrain from using bubble-bath, but the Dr. can advise better, IF this is the cause. If no physical cause is found, at least the visit would ease your mind.

I totally disagree with the previous poster's idea about making your daughter wear wet pants all day. In my opinion, it is an unhealthy and cruel way to "teach a lesson." After ruling out any physical causes, maybe you could switch to "pull-ups" or another brand of absorbent underwear, and purchase some absorbent pads to put inside them. This would allow her to use the toilet, but when she urinates, changing the pad would cut down on the cost of the pull-ups, and protect your furniture, also.

My last suggestion is to switch your award system. I agree that an award system is good to use, but your daughter may need more incentive. Maybe make a colorful chart listing the days of the week in a column, lines across with spaces for her to fill the line in with bright smiley face stickers and let her place the stickers on after every time she goes potty on the toilet, whether it's a BM or a void. When she goes in her pants, she gets a sad face sticker. At the end of the day, if she has more "happys" than "sads," she gets an award (doesn't have to be a sugar treat or food)---maybe an extra bed time story or a sugar free snack, an inexpensive dollar store prize drawn from a bag, i.e. small book, tablet, crayons, whatever. Even a special activity, like "Play-doh" night, or baking cookies together, or a special movie or activity of her choice. (Homemade recipe for play-doh is under one of my posts on this site.)

This method offers both short term and long term goals for her, and one which I used for my own kids and my daycare kids years ago. Good luck! (04/29/2007)

By tismom

3 Year Old Girl Potty Training Advice

When my dd was potty training, all the other incentives didn't work, I finally resorted to money. LOL. I had to give her pennies and nickels if she went potty, and it finally worked. Hope this helps. (04/30/2007)

By Bobbi

3 Year Old Girl Potty Training Advice

Hi. I have 5 kids, each trained differently. Have you tried a rubber pant over undies? The thick trainers work best. It just keeps things safe for you while they learn. Some will make a lot more mistakes than others. You have to be patient. (04/30/2007)

By momo5

3 Year Old Girl Potty Training Advice

By all means, rule out any physical problems with infection, etc. I remember having problems with our last child...she would hold it until nap time or bed time when we put her in a diaper, and then let loose! When she was about 3 1/2, I finally told her that she could wet and BM in her pants all she wanted, but she had to change herself. She never wore another diaper, even to bed. Of course it was way past time for her to be trained, which was my fault.

The point is...sooner or later, your daughter WILL be trained, don't worry. Now, her little son is being trained, and for a BM (his main problem, now) he gets 4 or 5 green olives. If he has an accident, he looks so disappointed in himself and says, "No Olliss" On the other hand, he takes his teddy bear to the potty, and Teddy is fully trained. He gets pretend olives. (04/30/2007)

By Margie Minard

3 Year Old Girl Potty Training Advice

Put her in her underpants, not pampers trainers, etc. Do not resort to diapers even at night. Do not make a big deal when she goes, just quickly have her remove her own wet pants, and put on clean ones. She will wet the bed the first few nights, but she should call you to help - giving her the sense that being dry feels good. If at the end of a week she is still not trained, she is not ready. Be prepared to stay home with her for the week. Anytime you put her back in diapers for ANYTHING you are back at square one.

The thing to remember is you do not get mad if she wets herself, you also at this point do not reward her for going in the potty, you certainly do not give a different reward for BM's (making them more important). Give lots of praise when she succeeds- even give praise when she removes the wet clothes herself. If you want to give her incentive try this. Buy a big present, it doesn't have to be expensive, but big helps. Wrap it elaborately and tell her that after one week of dry panties, she can have the gift. And then stick to it - you will not help if you cave. (06/05/2007)

By oldmom

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May 29, 2010 Flag

How do I potty train a very stubborn 2 year old? She refuses to use the potty.

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March 21, 2010 Flag

I have a 2 year old boy that won't go to the big boy potty. I've tried everything. Please any advice would be great. Thank you.

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August 6, 2009 Flag

I am looking for advice for potty training a 16 month baby girl.

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April 16, 2009 Flag

My daughter is wanting to get started on potty training her almost 2 year (Oct.) old daughter.

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