Advice for Potty Training a Toddler

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

May 29, 20100 found this helpful

Here's one idea, a tip I posted several years back: We'd do the "Potty Dance" together...

But, we had to wait until my granddaughter was 3 (not all kids are ready at 2 or 2 1/2). You'll know if it's too early to start if your child starts "holding it" for long periods. If this happens, stop the potty training & wait for 3 to 6 months until he's ready.

When you go, have him watch you or his daddy pee. It was my 10 year old daughter that taught my 2 1/2 year old son to use the potty. He saw her & wanted to "go" too! This should be a fun thing to him, if it's not, then he's likely not ready. In fact once I tried to start potty training my daughter & found that she would hold it all day long while I was at work. So when this happened 2 days in a row, I realized it was best for me to stop the potty training & start up again 6 months later when she was ready.

If I were you, I'd put "pull-ups" on him & watch him like a hawk! Once he sees that he'll get a treat (like a piece of candy, or whatever) for going in the toilet, then he'll want to do it over & over again!

But until then, you'll have to really keep your eye on him so he can't "sneak off".

One idea would be to spend one whole day giving him lots & lots of his favorite drink (like juice mixed half & half with water) & spend this day always at his side, watching where he is & what he's doing every second, & keep him very well hydrated so he has to pee, but don't let him out of your site. Then once he actually does go in his little potty chain, then give him a reward & do a fun dance & give him much praise & he'll want to repeat it!

He does have a little potty chair doesn't he? Because many kids are afraid of the big potty & all the noise it makes (even if it has a little seat on top of it) so he needs a little potty chair if he doesn't already have one.

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May 30, 20100 found this helpful

Make it a game - float 1 square of toliet paper in the bowl and have him take "target practice" and hit the paper. It helps develop aim and it makes it fun.

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May 30, 20100 found this helpful

If he pulling his pants off and going in the house he's not ready. Give it a little more time. If he's sleeping at night or a nap and he wakes up dry. That is a sign he's ready Bribing works well and is a useful tool. Spend a weekend just to potty train and of watch him at all times. Give lots of liquids.

There will be some accidents but just call it an accident and don't get upset about it. In the end talking constantly about going to the potty and giving some treats will also help. Good luck

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June 1, 20100 found this helpful

Having potty trained many kids, just try to remember that it is a process, with progress and setbacks like anything. Always praise, never punish. Its ok to express a little exasperation at clean up time, but not to shame the little one...after all, diapers are a life long habit, and having your diaper changed is sort of nice (affection, attention, etc.) so remember to hug and reward with affection and pride. And when those setbacks occur, just rember they will eventually get it...I've never met a teenager who wasn't potty trained. Hope it helps.

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June 1, 20100 found this helpful

For going in places he is not supposed to....involve him in clean up. Bring his potty chair to the scene of the accident, and put the contents into the potty chair in front of him. Tell him, "Whoops, you got the poo/pee in the wrong place, lets put it in the right place." Then take him with you to the bathroom and let him see you empty. Some kids really like to flush, and foamy soap in colors is a fun reward when its time to wash hands afterwards. Showing kids what you expect really helps them, especially when you treat the mistakes kindly. Also, offer to turn your back for privacy...some kids are sensitive about 'performing'.

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June 2, 20100 found this helpful

Potty chair, needs to remain in the bathroom to teach there is only 1 place to use it.

Tell him the diaper goes back on if he is not ready for big boy pants. Your house is not the toilet. All potty activity needs to be in the bathroom.

My granddaughters potty chair sat across from the toilet. We attached a mirror to the towel stand so as they sat on it, they could see the one using the potty. Would find them sitting on the potty to see themselves being big girls.

In my daycare, I would put underwear on in the afternoon after their nap. They played hard in the morning, too busy to remember the bathroom. Afternoons worked out great, it was shorter time before parents came, more successful fresh from sleep. I would have a problem here and there, I would use the clip on kitchen timer set for 15 minutes and the child would need to head for the bathroom to try, reset the timer, redo the whole activity. I had one neighbor who did daycare whose own child 'could not get it' so she put her in my daycare for a couple days, it worked. Not harping, just consistent.

Bathroom procedure is fun too. They use the paper (I use the wipes after) and the get to help dump and flush to the big toilet. Climb the stool to the sink, use the liquid soap on their hands, turn the water off, wipe with paper towels. My youngest granddaughter had a problem with public toilets that auto flushed. Even yet at 4 she asks if it is a flusher. Adult needs to stand in front of the sensor to keep it from flushing. Have the child sit straight on, not on the side of the toilet, or it will flush. When done, whisk them off and turn around with them to finish up redressing them.

My kids were all boys and the first one night trained by 15 months. You take the kids to the toilet regularly to establish a pattern and good hygiene technique. Making it a game with food, treats, etc means everyone who helps the child has to play the game. Don't do that.

For the mom who's 2 year old refuses to use the potty, put pretty pants over her diaper. Put pretty pants on her stuffed bears, etc. Then tell her pretty pants must be worn without the diaper, the bear does not have an accident and gets to keep the pretty pants. My kids' stuffed animals wore alot of underwear. The child has to want to make the change.

Don't threaten, don't make promises that can't be kept immediately. My kids got to call their aunt in town every time they had a successful bathroom trip. Make it a walk or play with them in the yard as reward. Make rewards realistic.

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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


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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June 2, 20100 found this helpful

There is a really simple way to make kids feel "safe" on a toilet that works well, especially if you are in a place with no potty chair.

Put him on the toilet backwards and give him a book or a little car to play with on the tank top. It keeps them busy and sometimes they don't even realize that they have used the toilet.

This method makes them feel safe because they can lean against the toilet seat cover & tank and it is much easier for them to climb onto the toilet without help.

The big boy pants are a good idea too!

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