potty training hell

Yes, friends, my 3-year-old son is nowhere near potty trained. Today we put him in undies, prepared to do the three day stay at home bootcamp method (for the third time in the last 6 months). He has peed on the floor three times today. And in the potty? Zero. He definitely understands that he should put it in the potty, will talk about it, will sit on the potty, but will not pee in the potty. He has peed in the potty exactly one time in his entire three years. It is SO frustrating. We are pretty much at our wits end. Do we continue the misery for the weekend? Do we cut it short and keep working with him slowly? Will this child still be peeing and pooping in his undies when he is 12???? I swear we’ve tried everything and we’ve never gotten on him for accidents. It just feels like it’s never going to happen. He’s also learned to hold it for hours as he has to be in undies at school. So he holds it and waits to pee until he gets home and changed into a diaper. Yes, we’ve tried having him sit on the potty when he comes home from preschool. He either cries and refuses, or sits and doesn’t pee, then goes in the diaper. I’ve tried offering M&Ms or chocolate chips as rewards. N-O-T-H-I-N-G W-O-R-K-S! It sucks!

So, what worked for your kids? What didn’t work? Any of you have late trainers like my guy? What finally happened? OMGCantTakeItAnymore!


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13 responses to “potty training hell

  1. Jeannie

    If it helps, my son, now seven, was SUPER resistant to using the potty as well. I don’t have many tips other than perseverance — and in the end it was probably peer pressure that helped most (if all the other kids in preschool wear underwear, he probably felt a bit silly wearing diapers!) Just to reassure you — he’s seven, and has been faithfully using the toilet since he was between 3 and 3.5. (Not coincidentally, he started preschool at 3 years, two months …)

    • Daniela

      Hi, love your blog, we are also 2 mums with one son in Prague 🙂

      Our son is almost 3 and we had similar problems when he was 2. Don’t make him to sit down if he doesn’t like it, explain to him he can pee standing up to the toilet (maybe standing on something if the toilet is to high for him), it worked for us. And also don’t use any diapers during the day , just put up with the wet trousers for some time (hopefully it will be a short period 🙂
      good luck with everything, big congrats to the second child!

  2. We tried everything with Ryan. Everything. Timer, rewards, etc etc etc. He wouldn’t do it. So we gave up.

    Several months later, out if the blue, he came out if his room and announced that he wouldn’t be wearing diapers anymore. We seized the opportunity and have never looked back.

    My advice? Wait until HE is ready. You will know. He may understand it all now, but if he’s not ready to do it, he’s not going to.

    Hugs Mamas!

  3. I don’t have a boy and I’ve never actually potty trained a kid before, mine’s still too little – but I am told, by my sister with two boys that she makes a game out of it. She has colored the water and when they pee it changes colors. She has thrown cheerios in there so they have something to aim at. She swear by it. I am not sure if it works, but it sounds like a lot of fun to try! Too bad I have a girl 😉

  4. tbean

    That sounds tough. We’re not there yet at all, but I wouldn’t be surprised if our Lion is similar to your Monkey about this. FWIW, at their 2-year well check, our pediatrician said potty training usually happens by the summer AFTER they turn 3. So, using that time-table, you have some time yet. That sounded late to me but I guess between 3 and 3.5, especially for boys, is very normal. Frustrating for the moms…but normal.

  5. I was wondering if Monkey had toilet trained yet.
    I don’t really have any good advice either but if preschool is working out that would really be my only worry. Seriously, I’d just try again another day. One day he’ll get it.
    In our case we were under pressure for school and it miraculously worked out but I know of two kids in S’s class that are just like Monkey (December & August ’09s). They both hold it until home and are not full trained. I’m guessing this issue is really common for the age group.

  6. I echo Rachael, colored tablets and making a game out of it works well. But, I get your frustration completely! In the beginning, there were some days that we were cleaning up 3-4 accidents a day. After the first week though, Little Monster got the swing of it. I am going to send you a private message with another pointer 😉

  7. Karen

    My 3 year old son was clean at preschool but not in the least bit interested in the potty at home. A friend of mine showed me what worked for her son- an app called potty time by Rachel Coleman who does the sign language videos. I was smirking at the thing when she showed me, but sure enough it helped my son become totally trained almost overnight. He especially gets a kick out of “calling” Rachel, and the sticker chart is easier to keep up with on my phone than on the wall. I am not being paid to promote this; it seemed ridiculous to me at first but I was willing to try anything and it really worked. Good luck!

  8. I heard long ago that there are two things you can’t make kids do- you can’t make them eat, and you can’t make them go (to the bathroom). Kids will potty-train when they’re ready, and pushing them early only makes it a giant (and gross) PITA for the parents. We were surprised when Curly was very interested in using the potty before he was 3. But he didn’t truly get it until between 3 and 3.5. I wouldn’t say he was officially potty-trained until 3.5 My friend’s son is 3.5 and avidly against potty-training and she’s at her wit’s end…and I really feel for her. Because everything they’ve tried has failed and made him resent potty-training even more. Best to let it lie. Hopefully peer pressure/school will assist in time. Sorry it’s been so rough.

  9. dawn

    You are not alone. My advice is to make it no big deal. My daughter wasn’t fully trained until after her 4th birthday because she didn’t want to be. We left it alone and one day I casually mentioned that I would have to call her teacher and tell her she couldn’t come to school this coming year since kids in pull ups aren’t allowed. The next morning my daughter put panties on herself and that was that.

  10. chunkandmommy

    The big thing that worked with chunk was M&Ms and stickers because he is a total reward-type kiddo. Clearly that isn’t working on your front and I guess to just wait until he is ready? I don’t know…I would be completely frustrated as well. chunk’s main issue was his IBS, but when we got that under control, it wasn’t an issue. Has the ped had any advise? Have you read books or watched the Potty Training video that Huggies produced? We got a copy of the DVD from preschool when Chunk was 2 and it was great. Maybe look into their potty training kit–video, chart, stickers, etc and see if that works?

  11. no advice (bribes worked on our oldest – m&ms and new dora undies). just wanted to send a ((hug)) of support though, it can be a very frustrating process. we are just starting to talk about it with our twins and i SO wish we could skip to the end of that process! im very, very over poopy toddler dipes.

  12. PottyTrainingFailure

    My son is going to be 4 in two weeks. He is 100% #1 trained but only 15% #2 trained. We have tried EVERYTHING (literally every suggestion anyone has ever supplied, we have tried it – we will try anything). We have even taken him to the doctor AND a therapist. I have finally realized that it is more of *my* issue. I am embarrassed because he poops in his underwear. He doesn’t care. We are going on vacations with friends next month and I am mortified to admit he doesn’t poop in the potty (since their kids have all been fully trained since they were 5 days old or something). His daycare has even insisted that we send in pullups for him (even though he never has pee accidents, they want him in pullups if he is going to poop). He is the ONLY kid in his class who still poops in underwear or wears pullups. BUT… he is not likely to go to college in pullups. And outside of the expense of pullups, really, in the scheme of life – does it matter? If I get over my embarrassment about it, what difference does it make? Some day he will decide he is done and will start pooping in the potty. Until then, I just need to chill about it (easier said than done for sure). Long post to say… I feel your pain.

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