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Potty training: I'm obviously missing something

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm just not understanding what my daughter isn't getting. 


We've tried potty training on and off for months. I guess it technically starts with attempting to EC when DD was about 6 months old. We never got far with it, but since then she's always had a lot of diaper-free time. Generally when we're home, she'll spend an hour or so between changes before I put a diaper back onto her. Partially because of her rashes she seems to constantly have (if she sits in a poopy diaper for more than 2 minutes she turns red and if it's a bad poop she'll blister the second it touches her it seems). 


We started actually doing some potty training when she was about 18 months. It's always been very casual and I've tried to be very calm about accidents (DH is sometimes not-so-calm, but he's getting better). We've always only tried for a day or two, then decided to wait because I decide she must not be ready yet. Honestly, I wouldn't have even tried so early if she didn't have such interest. By the time she was 12 months she was coming into the bathroom with us and wanting to sit on the potty. 


Every time we've tried, she never makes it in the potty. She's pooped in the potty a couple-few times, but only peed once (and that was after starting to pee on the floor and me scooping her up and happening to be 2 feet from a toilet). We've tried taking her every half hour (initially a timer on my phone and then later a potty watch). We've tried her being bare-bummed or wearing underwear. Nothing seems to be working. 

So I decided to wait until my semester is over and I can really sit down and devote some time to it. Possibly it takes more than a day or two for her to make it into the potty? I'm not sure, but everything I read seems to imply that she should make it in the potty at least once sooner than that. 


I thought maybe she wasn't able to relax on the potty. We've tried everything from books to songs to watching videos on my phone. Nothing calms her enough. She does understand how to poop on the potty (she pushes and toots), but she doesn't tell me before she needs to go and I don't want to make her strain herself. She always goes into a corner and squats to poo (and gets mad at you if you acknowledge her while she's doing it).


Anyway, back to the point. So just now, after getting out of the tub, she was playing around. I was messing on the laptop and all of a sudden hear her peeing. It's not just a relax type of peeing, but like a pushing-it-out type of peeing. You ladies know what I'm talking about. So I scoop her up before she's done (she pees a lot at once) and take her to the potty. I tell her to finish peeing, but nothing. I tell her to push it out like before, but nothing. So I just gave up and put a diaper on her. 


I honestly don't care to have her out of diapers that much. The only things motivating me to keep trying are the fact that she keeps wanting to and her awful rashes. 

What am I doing wrong here? Is she just not ready? Any books you recommend? I've already read the No-cry Potty Training Solution. 

post #2 of 18

Honestly I would just let it go.  If she asks to sit on the potty then let her sit on the potty, otherwise just use a diaper, or diaper free time for her rash and don't worry about it.  She is only 2, she might have interest, and be ready, but if you stress yourself out about it, you'll likely stress her out about it too.


DS trained when he was 26 months old, for 2 weeks, and then he was done, we worked for over a year and half to get him to retrain.  He liked the idea of the potty, but he wasn't interested in using it, himself.  So when we finally decided to not worry about it, he trained by himself about 2-3 months later.  Nothing else worked he had to decide on his own that he wanted to go. 


Which means with DD we're just letting her decide when she is ready. She is unlikely to not be trained by 5, and if she decides on her own then I don't need to fight it, or tell her to go or take her every 30 to 45 minutes etc.  She'll do it when she is ready.  I am guessing she will likely train over this summer, since she is a different child then her big brother, but if she doesn't, well she'll eventually figure it out on her own.

post #3 of 18

I would suggest you keep her in cloth underwear  during the day and change it when she soils it. Do not go back and forth between dipes and  underwear, this probably confuses her. I would also stop making a big deal out of it, what with the books, videos and such; none of it is necessary. Just keep taking her to the potty every 30 minutes or so and at some point she will start using it. You need to be patient. This process can take a while; so in meanwhile be prepared to wipe the puddles and worse off your floor. It took my 12 months old daughter three months before she began using potty consistently. We never showed her any books or videos on the subject. We simply put cotton underwear on her and calmly wiped puddles off the floor and washed her in the tub after pooping. Three months of hard work was well worth it. I am not buying into the theory that a child younger than three years old is not ready to use potty. But then again I am not an American and in my home country kids start using potty much earlier than the kids in the U.S.

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice. I think you misunderstood part of it though. I was saying that I read her books and stuff on the potty to help her relax, not books about going potty. I think we read one of those from the library, but that's it. 

post #5 of 18

The nervous/muscular system integration of an 18 month old isn't fully developed. Give her some time. My mother felt the need to remind me constantly that she had me potty trained at 18 months from the time my daughter was that age. I really doubt it. I think most parents who say they have their kids potty trained at that age are caregivers who spend ample time with the child and can use a combination of a child's abilities along with understanding the kid's schedule and paying attention to non-verbal cues to make sure everything makes it in the potty. Do some research on the development of children's urinary systems and most people agree the level of maturation needed to be really in control happens at give or take 24 months.


My daughter turned 2 in October, and with nothing more than some positive reinforcement (just saying "yay!" and clapping when she went on the potty) was potty trained by Christmas, including overnights. The whole switch from diapers to big kid underwear was under 2 weeks, and was fairly effortless for both of us.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

I don't think I mentioned in the original post, but DD is 2 now. She just turned 2 on Sunday. 

post #7 of 18
I'd still let go of the books idea. She doesn't need to spend long periods of time in there, really. When my kids were starting, we'd sing a quick song instead--ABC or Baa Baa Black Sheep, etc. In the beginning you just want to establish the routine of going in there and trying frequently. I haven't told my kids things like "push" etc, because I'm not focusing on results. If they sit for 5 seconds and then get up, it's fine by me.

Also, if you've EC'd at all, you should have some awareness of the times she usually goes in her diaper. Try the potty at those times, like after meals, or when she's been dry for awhile. Set her up for success, even if it's an accidental success. That gets the ball rolling.
post #8 of 18

It doesn't sound like she is ready.  I have just let my DS take the lead.  He wears a diaper some of the time but he has seen other kids use the toilet so he asks to go when he needs to, and we take off his diaper then.   Essentially, he has potty trained himself with very very little help from us other than lifting him onto the toilet.  He started having a big interest around 2.5.  He just turned three and really could go to straight underwear if *I* was up for that transition.  I am just giving it a couple more weeks because I am pregnant and don't want to clean up messes.  Good luck!

post #9 of 18

Are you expecting her to identify that she needs to go and then physically walk to the potty, get on the potty, and then go? Usually that is what older potty learning children do, doesn't seem to click until about 3+ . My son was in underpants full time with very few accidents for more than a year before he would reliably do that.


Usually children who learn early at 12m-2y etc don't use that method. Most people use a more scheduled approach and that seems to work well with younger kids. Basically, the way you were trained. The child learns by association by sitting on the potty at regular times. They learn how to pee when they sit on the potty and then they tend to develop some bladder control. Diaper Free Before 3 outlines it.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

I actually have that book from the library. I'm not expecting her to realize that she needs to go potty before it happens, but just to (even occasionally!) go on the potty when I put her there. We were using a potty watch that goes off every 30 minutes (she got frustrated when I told her it was time to go potty, but with the potty watch she gets excited when the music goes off) and she would pee on the floor even if she was sitting on the potty five minutes earlier. She even tells me that she peed on the potty when she didn't, so maybe she's not understanding the concept? 

post #11 of 18

Honestly I would just keep doing what your doing and try not to stress about it. My son potty trained at 2 and was potty trained at daycare by 2.5 yrs (day care took a little longer). But I think what helped us was that we didn't expect him to be potty learned in a week or two. I think that approach may work for older 2.5-3+ yrs but no so much for children younger than 2. We started potty training when he was 18 months. We didn't sit him on the potty religiously but would occasionally ask if he wanted to sit or go poop on the potty. I involved him more in dumping his poops in the toilet from his diaper. We talked about it more. I'd tell him when I was going potty, etc etc. We made a lot of progress during the spring/summer that he turned two by having a lot of diaper free time. Yeah we had some accidents but I think that helped him recognize when he was about to go. We also lucked out with overnight because he was often waking up dry at around 20 months or so. We never did the routine of sitting on the potty and such and such times or every so many minutes and disagree that this is necessary for a child under 2 yrs.

post #12 of 18
I think a potty watch is reallllly pushing a concept that she hasn't grasped yet. Let her have a few successes first before you do something like that. If you're asking her to sit on the potty every 30 mins and she's not having success or understanding how to make it happen, you're setting yourself up for a big control struggle. What happens when she hasn't gotten it yet, but is tired of going in there to try all the time? She will lose interest and refuse to stop playing to go in there.

I'm also confused, you said you used to EC, but now you're talking about a potty watch. Is there a reason you can't time it based on her on rhythms and cues?
post #13 of 18

The watches are intended as reminders for older children who are struggling with daytime incontinence.  I think your dd is too young for that tool to be useful in re. her bladder control and she's trying to make you happy by telling you that she has peed in the potty.  She loves you.


My first dd was potty trained in a single day at almost exactly 27 months.  My dh and I patted ourselves on the back for MONTHS, because clearly we had figured out the secret to quick and painless PTing and were OSM GENIUS parents. 


My second dd was not interested in potty training at all at 27 months, or 30 months, or 33 months.  Our amazing genius potty training method fell flat with her each time we tried it.  Which was fairly often.  She finally did it herself in a week when her dad was out of town and I had decided that the preservation of my sanity was paramount and I would just put her in diapers (disposables, even, I was throwing my principals to the four winds) until he got back.  She was 38 months.  We put a ton of time and energy into trying to make potty training happen and in the end, she decided when she was ready and she called the shots.  We would have saved ourselves a lot of time and carpet cleaning if we had just waited. 


Long story short: I think 2 is young for potty-training.  Some kids might go for it, but yours doesn't appear to be one of them.  Wait.  Suggest the potty every now and then and see if she's interested.  But mostly, wait. 



post #14 of 18

We spent several months around DS1's 2nd bday naked.  With little potties all over the house.  I would encourage him periodically to sit and try and spend a lot of time mopping up pee (bonus of hardwood floors) He got it pretty quickly but being able to clearly articulate that he needed to go with enough time to get to a potty came significantly later.  I would just give her lots of naked time, take her potty with you go and let her try (potty party!) and give up the watch and the pressure.  I also wouldn't put a diaper back on her when she has an accident, just clean it up, gently remind her that the goal is pee and poo in the potty and continue with naked time.

post #15 of 18

She's barely 2.  Not all kids are ready at that young of an age.  It's worth a try, but if she isnt' taking to it or showing progress, it might be best to wait and try again in a few months.

post #16 of 18

I second the relaxing and stepping back a little bit.  My DD, 28 months, was similar.  We started EC at 6 months part time and she has always pooped in the potty since then, but is only just now starting to let us know she needs to pee in the potty.  The scheduled trips to the potty worked well for us when I stopped doing them so frequently.  I was having her go every hour or so, but she really only needs to go every 2.5 hours or so.  We made the most progress when I stepped back, put her in underwear when we were home and let her tell me when she needed to go.  She had a lot of accidents for a week, and then she got better.  It was hard for me to not make a big deal about the accidents, but she finally started to get it when I would just say "that's ok, next time we should remember to get to the potty before the tinkles come out."  The big point for us was also that I step back and stop reminding her or trying to trick her into using the potty.  I just had to trust that she would let me know and figure it out herself.  


Even with all that, it did not seem to click with my DD until about a week ago.  She suddenly just started telling me.  My guess is that she just wasn't physically ready before.  When we go out I still put her in pull ups and she pees in them.  I know the next step is not doing this, but I need to be ready to let her have those accidents and learn herself.  I hope this helps, for me it was about stepping back and letting her take control of herself, letting her have the accidents, having her help with clean up, and encouraging her all along the way.

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

Sorry if I wasn't very clear in the initial post. We tried to do EC when she was younger, but never really got into the habit. It was hard (for me) to start that late because she was so mobile that it was hard to decipher her cues, so we never really stuck to it. 


Thanks for the advice everyone. This is pretty much the conclusion I already came to. We tried about a month ago and I decided at that time that I wouldn't try again until my school semester is over (end of April). I try not to push it because I know she's still young, but she just keeps showing interest. I'll just continue with her diaper-free time and let her sit on the potty if she wants, but I'm going to try not to push it as much. I think it will be easier to not push it when we have absolutely no deadlines over the summer. 

post #18 of 18

We did the 3 day potty training at 23 mths and it worked for us.


I think that maybe it's confusing with so much bare bum time. If she's allowed to pee on the floor sometimes or sometimes pee in a diaper you are sending her mixed messages. It's gotta be all or nothing.

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