3 year old just wont potty learn! At wits end. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-07-2013, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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My daughter will be three in a few weeks. She is set to start school in September but must be fully potty savvy or she cannot attend. We love this school, older DS went there, so switching schools is not an option.

We began introducing the potty 6 months ago. There has been ZERO progress. If left alone she would just pee and poop in her diaper without a thought.

We do all the usual stuff, take her at regular intervals, give praise, even rewards but she will not ever a.) tell us she needs to go b.) hold it until we get her to a potty and c.) happily use the potty.

The new thing is screaming that she doesn't need to go as she is sitting there peeing. We have had three accidents today and it's just past noon. I have taken her to the potty every 45 minutes.

I don't know what to do. We've tried undies vs pull ups but then I'm changing clothes four times a day, two baths a day, and it's too risky to leave the house.

I'm in tears. My son potty learned in 10 seconds at 2 and my stubborn little daughter has zero interest at 3. And she's not the type you can bribe. Toys aren't her thing. She mainly likes to play with whatever big brother is doing.

She is smart, healthy...no uti or bladder issues...just refuses to learn to go on the darn potty!!

Any suggestions welcome!!
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#2 of 6 Old 06-08-2013, 07:18 PM
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It sounds like she knows this is a big deal to you and is balking. Can you try to make it NOT a big deal? I think in your shoes I might try sticking her in underwear, telling her that she's in charge of her potty usage now, and then just letting it be. Yes, you will have to be ready to clean up lots if accidents, and be totally nonchalant about it even though it's really driving you nuts. But it's possible that she'll start using the potty more if you give her control. My DD had a potty regression a few months back, and I did something similar. She's doing better than ever now.
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#3 of 6 Old 06-09-2013, 11:33 AM
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Can you try backing off for a few weeks? Just keep her in diapers and don't bring up the subject. She may come around on her own. Good luck! September is still 3 months away. She may be ready by then.

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#4 of 6 Old 06-10-2013, 08:00 AM
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I agree with backing off and not making a big deal over it.

I realize this school is important to you but if she wasn't going would you care if she trained?

Both my girls trained themselves at 3 years 4 months. I backed right off, let them led the pottying and when they screamed at diaper changes (because they would refuse to have their diaper/pull up changed and then they'd get a rash) I would simply say that there would be no rash if you went on the potty. Both decided on their own to use the potty and once they did that was it. Neither really had accidents and I pretty much never had to remind them to use the potty.

So I would back off for a bit, I'd also keep all the potty stuff out and available. Let her choose what she's going to wear for the day, that includes whether she's going to choose a diaper/pull-up or underwear and just roll with it.

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#5 of 6 Old 06-17-2013, 07:21 PM
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Can someone else watch her?  My dd wanted to use the potty after my friend watched her during the day for a week and was potty training her son.


Also, I recently watched my friends 2.5 year old who does what your dd does and I firmly said to her "If you need to pee you tell us - we do not allow peeing your pants here".  She had no accidents with us and used the potty. 


On another note, have you made it very clear that peeing her pants is not acceptable? I think sometimes parents don't want to harm their child in potty training that they don't make it unacceptable.  I think it should along the same lines as hitting - it's not acceptable to hit your brother, it's not acceptable to pee on the floor.


I do agree that potty training works best if it is the kids idea.

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#6 of 6 Old 06-18-2013, 12:30 PM
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I agree with the above - backing off, because she is absolutely sensing and responding to your anxiety over the issue.


I think that a three year old who has been introduced to the potty for 6 months has a pretty clear picture of what you'd like her to do.  Potty training at that point has very little to do with teaching a physical skill as it does convincing them that it's better to pee in the potty than anywhere else.  The physical capability is there, so what you're addressing is the desire.  And as we all know, the more you try to get a toddler to do something, the less they want to do it.  


So, I say back of entirely for a period, then when you do get back into it, be REALLY casual about it.  What I've done with my iron-willed toddler is to let him go naked, and if he goes on the floor I say something like, "Oops, you forgot to go in the potty.  We'll remember next time."  And he gets a rag and helps me clean it up.  I *never* prompted him to use the potty, because like you said, he would tell me he didn't need to go no matter what.  So why ask?  Also, telling them when to use the potty puts YOU in charge still, and the goal is to have THEM be in charge, right?  If I see him doing a little potty dance, rather than asking him if he needs to potty (which is a silly question anyway, right?  I know he does), I say his name to get his attention and just point to the potty.  I also am not really a fan of big cheers, praise, or rewards for going in the potty, because I wanted to set it as a simple expectation, not a super special thing.  A simple, "Cool, you did it" is sufficient.  The big cheers won't continue after they've mastered it, you know?  


Best of luck!

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