Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Potty Training Question

I got a question and started replying to it and it ended up way too long for a comment so I decided just to make it it's own post. I would sure love some other feedback to help this mom who is frustrated with potty training.
Question: I read in another section that your goal was to have your kids potty trained by three. That was my goal as well and my 3 and a half year old still has accidents and has only stayed dry all night once. I feel like potty training is a never ending process and I know I made many mistakes that probably contributed to this, but do you have any suggestions? We did give her a big surprise for staying dry all day for a week. A great book I read was "The Everything Potty Training Book." It had several different methods and many great statistics and information. I also like "My Big Girl Potty" for my daughter, there's "My Big Boy Potty" for boys.

First of all, I probably did say my goal was to potty train by age 3 but this may not be realistic for every child. I have never read, "The Everything Potty Training Book." I think I've read the "My Big Girl Potty" if its the one that is written for children like a story book. My kids really liked this book.

I believe children will be ready at different times even though we would love for them to be potty trained early. Also, I think children could use going to the bathroom as a power struggle with parents because they are in control of this. Maybe she just needs to know that it's her choice to go to the potty and let it be her thing.

You may ask her if she would rather go back to wearing diapers during the day until she is ready to go potty every time in the potty. If she does then go back to diapers. Don't let it bother you one bit. Maybe it would be good for the whole family to take a break because it sounds like the fun of being a big girl is gone for both your 3 year old and mom and dad. If you are frustrated with it then your child is probably frustrated too. In the Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood book it says, "Like any task we're expected to perform under pressure, potty training becomes an undesirable chore." pg 35 If your child wants to continue with her big girl pants then one idea is to lay low and tell her that you know she is a big girl and you have every confidence that she can go to the bathroom when she needs to. Tell her you are going to stop reminding her and that when she needs to go to the potty she can choose to take you with her or go by herself. Take out the reminding and you being extremely anxious about it. Another thing that helped my first was when he had an accident I really had to not get upset (and believe me it was hard) but I instead talked about how sad it was. I like how Love and Logic words this response: "Oh, you had an accident! That's too bad! I love you, Sweetie." Then you can make them apart of the clean up by asking them to put their clothes in the laundry and getting you a rag to clean it up, etc.

Now the nighttime water (or in other terms bedwetting) is a completely different story. My oldest was 6 or 7 before he stopped wetting the bed. We tried everything. After consulting our physician on many occasions at well visits he recommended a bedwetting alarm. This really worked. In the instructions of the bedwetting alarm it talked about how children are not doing this on purpose, they simply sleep so soundly that they don't wake up to go to the bathroom. It is a physical response and their body has not learned to tell their brain when they need to go. The alarm requires parents to be extremely involved but it was well worth waking up a few times at night for a couple days and taking him to the bathroom.

It doesn't work to not give them any water hours before bedtime or waking them up before you go to bed to go or lectures about wetting the bed, or even having them clean the mess up. Believe me we tried all these things. There is also medication and herbs that you can try but I really didn't want to add other side effects that go with Meds. The thing with the alarm is they really need to be a little older--I think the age recommended was five. In the meantime don't sweat it--after I have talked with other parents this is really common for a lot of children.

I know they are really expensive but you can get overnight diapers for bigger kids. I would just use diapers if they still will fit your girl. I also put water proof sheets over the mattress so it doesn't get ruined and I also put a waterproof pillow case over the pillows.

I hope this helps a little bit. But try to look at the long picture here and realize that as long as they are potty trained by kindergarten you will be just fine. =)


  1. I had a really hard time with the color on this post. Sorry for the multiple postings! I was trying to put a different color on just the question and then I really messed it up. Let me know if you can't read it. Thanks!

  2. My DD was more than 3 1/2 before she was potty trained during the day. It didn't matter what we did to try to reward and interest her in it. She just plain and simple had to decide and until she did there was nothing we could do about it. We tried everything we could think of motivate her. My other children varied with it but she was differently the hardest, but she is also my most stubborn.

    I came across a library book years ago called something like, "potty training in a day" and although it does take more than a day, I found that 3-7 days with my other kids, they would be day potty trained. I just basically stayed home for 2-3 days and let the little one run naked with lots of juice, water, milk in them so they became more aware of when they went. I tried to keep them entertained in the non carpeted areas so it was easier to clean up. Diapers and pull ups are sooo quick to remove moisture that they don't always realize they started going pee and being naked they seem to notice quicker.

    As far as night times go, I have 5 kids ages 14-5 and some never had one problem with night times and 2 did. As with Heather, we tries many things, but there really nothing you can do when they are deep deep sleepers. Eventually most children grow out of it. My pediatrician that we had when 2 of them at the same time were every single night, told us not to even start worrying about it until they were 8 yrs old.

    Just my 2cents on it. Good luck!

  3. Loved Tracy's comments! Thank you--I almost forgot about that book-- Dr. Phil has really promoted this method and expanded it to help parents. I found a great website that details the whole program. You may find it helpful. http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/CTGY/Dr-Phils-Potty-Training.html
    I read the book as well and I actually potty trained Conrad that way. The only disadvantage I found with this method was you really had to be only thinking about potty training for the entire day. Because you are having them drink a ton they go to the bathroom twice as much. I only had two kids at the time so I had the older one go play at a friends house on our big day. It was a little exhausting but it worked. I choose not to do it with the next one just because I had a small baby to take care of during potty training. But this is a method worth checking out.

  4. We're just beginning with my 2.5 year old daughter. She's gone a couple times no problem, but they seem to be flukes. I learned to chill out after my first experience with my other daughter. I'm not really in any hurry this time - - I trust the process - it will happen - and she increases in readiness all the time. I think all potty-training survivors deserve a big, fat ice cream sundae!


I appreciate your comments!