Potty training made easy

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  May 28, 2009 06:00 AM

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Question: My husband and I are having trouble with our 2 and a half year old. He's very independent and very smart, but the only problem is he has absolutely no interest in potty training. We've tried to coax him with treats (cookies!), tried to guilt him into it (look, your friend Ella uses the potty!), and even tried those potty books that glorify sitting on the toilet, which he loves reading but doesn't make the connection to how it relates to him. Any ideas on how we can speed this process? Baby No. 2 is on the way in a few months!
From Lee in Stoneham

Hi Lee,

I have two words for you: Back off.

There are very few things in life over which a 2 1/2-year-old has control. Using the potty is one of them. Figuring out how to get more attention from mom and dad is another. You've hit the jackpot! He's a smart cookie, he's figured out that he can get lots of attention by not using the potty. Plus, boys tend to train later than girls. In the scheme of things, you're expecting too much too soon.

Believe me, I get it that you'd like not to have two in diapers, but you may not be that lucky.

In fact, with a new baby coming, all the more reason to back off and let this happen on his own agenda. My advice is to tell him, "You know, we can see that you aren't ready to use the potty. So we're just going to leave it here and, you know what? it's your decision to use it. If you decide you want to try it, just let us know and we'll help you."

Then stop talking about it, stop making offers of rewards, simply Stop. When he sees it doesn't generate any extra attention to not use it, it will be less of an issue and eventually, he'll become interested on his own and then it will happen quickly.

Pediatrician and author T. Berry Brazelton (his book,"Toilet training the Brazelton Way", is my favorite on the subject) says most children are not even ready to train until a child is well past 2. In fact, one reason training can take a long time is because parents initiate it before a child is ready. He says there are seven signs of readiness and he recommends waiting until all seven are present before even beginning toilet training.

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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29 comments so far...
  1. 100% correct

    Posted by kathy roberts May 28, 09 07:16 AM
  1. Usually I disagree vehemently with Barbara, but in this case, I agree wholeheartedly. Having said that, though, there are some kids who, even when ready, need a push because they aren't interested. That's a whole 'nother ball game, though, than a kid who's really not ready.

    Posted by akmom May 28, 09 09:35 AM
  1. I've had kids who are ready to potty at age 2 and kids who didn't really "get it" consistently until they were almost 4. Each child is different. Great advice, Barbara!

    Posted by Exactly right May 28, 09 09:45 AM
  1. Well said! My 3 year old, who will be 4 in July, was ADAMANT about not using the potty. Forget about trying, he didn't even want to sit on it, just to sit and try it out. Nope, no go. In addition, he had some nightmares about the potty which didn't help. So we completely backed off, and within months he was interested again. Then one day a couple weeks back, I just put underwear on him, kept bringing him to the potty every 30 minutes and within one day he figured it out. We haven't had an accident since. I think there is something to be said about training late, because early on at age 2, they really have a hard time getting the concept but at this age, approaching 4, he really understood it and was like, OK this is what we do and I want to do it too. Yes, I had my second while my first was still in pull ups but eliminating the struggle and waiting for him to be ready really paid off. And he loves his lighting mcqueen underwear!!!

    Posted by Mom2J34 May 28, 09 10:02 AM
  1. good advice. i didn't even really attempt potty training with my daughter until she was 2.9 yrs old...it was a little older than other kids in her daycare but she was ready. literally, within 2 weeks she was diaper-free with no accidents...even at night! don't push it. they will let you know when they're ready.

    Posted by LMDL May 28, 09 10:38 AM
  1. I don't necessarily agree. Both my husband and his siblings and I and my siblings were potty-trained well before 2. (We are in our early 30s) No one suffered psychologically or physically, ie, no bed wetters or stool withholding. This was cultural and also necessary in the places we grew up--half a globe away from each other. Cloth diapers were bulky and washing was highly inconvenient and expensive. With our first child, he was potty-trained completely by 2 years and 3 months and our daughter (same age now) is well on her way. Our children perhaps have met Brazelton's criteria early, but I also think that there's something to be said for training BEFORE a child knows his own mind and can become intractable. Good luck, Lee, you must do what works best for your family.

    Posted by Just1Voice May 28, 09 10:54 AM
  1. When the weather is warm, take his diaper off and let him run around outside. After an "accident" or two, show him what he's supposed to do. I did this with my son and last year (same age, same circumstances) and he was trained in 2 hours! Then everytime he used the potty, I would give him an M&M. Going #2 is a totally different experience as that took about another 6 months. But I never put a diaper back on him unless he asked to go #2.

    Posted by 2BoysMom May 28, 09 10:55 AM
  1. My son is 3 and a half and after many pleas, bribes, and accidents it finally clicked at his pace and on his terms, so I agree give him time and he will definetly let you know when he needs to go.

    Posted by JMC May 28, 09 11:05 AM
  1. I disagree completely with the "wait until they are ready" hypothesis. If you wait until boys are ready, you possibly will be waiting until they are 4 yrs old. Note, I said boys. Girls are completely different and will sometimes just train themselves. Boys could care less. We teach kids to swim and read before they ask or show interest right? Why is potty training so different? You are teaching them a life skill. I have recently been training my youngest of 2 boys. I asked my oldest who is 5 if he remembered peeing in his diaper when I was trying to potty train him, and he said “Yes”. When I asked him why he did that, he said that he just didn’t know what to do on the toilet. So, you have to teach them! My youngest "got it" and was fully potty-trained in April after a few months of effort on my part. He was 2 yrs 10 months. It was glorious. My technique, which I used on both of my sons is to have them naked from the waist down while they are in the house, and have them sit on the toilet or potty every hour. My reward is one M&M for pee, two M&M's for poop. It doesn't seem like much, but it is for them. Give lots of praise too. There will be accidents, though not too many, and it could take a couple of months, but better that than having a 4 yr old in diapers. Let me tell you it is so awesome seeing his little undies in the laundry! Good luck. Train now!

    Posted by VTMom May 28, 09 11:21 AM
  1. I couldn't agree more. "You can lead a horse to water..." If you let the child decide when he or she is ready, you've set the whole household up for success. No mistakes, messes, bed-wetting, etc. When our 3 yr old son decided he was ready (not our decision, but his), it was 100% done in 36 hrs. He makes it through the night, road trips, etc. Believe me, the child will not enter high school in diapers! Patience will pay in spades.

    Posted by Count to 10 May 28, 09 11:24 AM
  1. I took the advice of many of my friends when PT'ing my son (he was 2.11) and the best advice I got was : NO PULL-UPS! If he can pee in them & poop in them, they're diapers. It was messy and chaotic and we didn't leave the house for many days but well worth it. My son was trained within 1 week. Good luck this is a very trying time!

    Posted by Erica May 28, 09 11:59 AM
  1. My older son was three years old and "not interested". I told him that was fine, and, by the way, I wasn't terribly interested in him watching any videos either.

    So ... he had to get three stickers for "sitting on the potty and practicing" before he could watch a video. He was out of diapers in a month.

    Fast forward a little over a year ... I took little brother, who always hated wet diapers, and put him on the potty. Little brother was 2 years 4 months old. I asked him to tell me a story while he sat, to get him to sit long enough for something to happen. He peed, and I could see the light bulb go on and a bell ring BING! He was clean and dry (and dry at NIGHT!) within two weeks. Whoh! I don't know how I got so lucky with that! I think his brother found it easier to be changed whenever, while little guy was supremely motivated.

    Posted by Infoferret May 28, 09 12:06 PM
  1. One thing that you may not realize is that having a newly-trained toddler is MORE work than a toddler in diapers. Small children don't just "get it" and then your work is done forever. Most of the kids trained on the early side (age 2-3) that I've known go through a protracted period where accidents and "near misses" are fairly common. Parents need to be very attuned to the signs of needing to go and cue the kid to get to the potty asap. For many kids, you have to take the child to the potty, stay there for encouragement, and do some cleanup afterwords. Longer car rides are a chore, with numerous out-of-the-blue "gotta pee NOW" cries. Allowing your son stay in diapers while you have a newborn will actually save you some headaches!

    Oh, and wiping throughly is a skill that can can take years to acquire: your poopy butt wiping days are far from over, potty trained or not :-)

    Posted by amyfaith May 28, 09 12:08 PM
  1. VTMom, when we say "wait till they're ready" we're not suggesting that you shouldn't introduce the potty starting at whatever age you deem appropriate. while i waited for my daughter to be really ready (for her 2.9 yrs) i also put her on the potty several times a day for weeks and months before that. i didn't wait for her to all of a sudden sit on it and start peeing.
    honestly i think the waiting method is better. you yourself point out that your method took a few months. i waited till my girl was ready and we were totally trained in 2 wks.

    Posted by LMDL May 28, 09 12:11 PM
  1. also, one more bit of sort-of related advice. i've been using "flushable wipes" since my daughter was trained....wiping her bum and throwing them down the toilet. well, this past weekend we had sewage back up in our basement tub and toilet (a yuck beyond description)...when the plumber came and cleaned out the pipes he told us the culprit was.....flushable wipes!! i said but they're flushable! it says so right on the box! he says the companies should be sued for saying that. says he sees backups caused by wipes often, particularly in older homes.

    Posted by LMDL May 28, 09 12:27 PM
  1. LMDL, Ok, so maybe it is a matter of semantics. To me, putting a child on the potty several times a days for weeks/months, is "training". You are working with them to teach them what to do. Some parents don't do this because they hear the warning "wait 'til they're ready", and then the child gets to be 3 - 3.5 and they won't go near the potty and then good luck.
    In the end, we all have to do what we think is best for our families and sanity. To me, changing a 3 or 4 yrs old diaper when they might be fully capable of using the toilet, but just haven't been taught, is not good for me.

    Posted by VTMom May 28, 09 12:40 PM
  1. I agree w/ Barbara, back off for now....(we had pressure from relatives and others, baby#2 was on the way but waited.) My son had no interest at that age, in fact he despised the potty--just as this child did. 2.5 maybe too young for this little boy. There is a balance however, you can' t wait forever as someone stated....you'll have to draw the line at some point but now may not be the time. We went cold turkey w/ our son who was over 3.5 years.....(I agree pull ups do not work)...we had a few painful days--lots of bribing...but he was trained within a week. You don't realize as another person stated...once they're potty trained it's more work than them wearing a diaper...so what's the rush?

    Posted by LC May 28, 09 12:49 PM
  1. My brother-in-law got his oldest daughter trained by pointing out to her, wherever the family went, all the activities that were denied to her because they were only for children that didn't wear diapers. Once she realized that potty training would allow her to hang with the "big kids", presto!

    Posted by Joyce777 May 28, 09 12:59 PM
  1. Totally agree with Amyfaith. A toddler just out of diapers is a lot more work than a toddler in diapers. I had the same scenario as you and decided to put off training until after baby arrived (especially since many talked about PT regression when new siblings arrive). So we backed off and looking back, I'm glad I did. It's really hard to jump to the potty with one when you are nursing the other!
    Good luck!

    Posted by JB May 28, 09 01:11 PM
  1. On the subject of waiting until they're ready....My granddaughter was outraged that she could not go into the play area at an Ikea store she is often taken to by a parent. "No diapers" is the rule there, and she was turned away by the attendant many times because she was in diapers. Finally, at three years and one month, she announced that she was ready to use the potty so that she could go into the play area at Ikea. That was to be the reward, chosen by herself for herself, and it worked. Nothing else had produced results. She is now potty-trained.

    Posted by CSF May 28, 09 01:30 PM
  1. Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!

    Posted by Tara Harris May 28, 09 01:52 PM
  1. My son is 19 months and got him the potty seat/stool to brush his teeth at the sink. Didn't think he would be using the potty part any time soon, but last night he actually pee in the potty before getting into the bath tub. I am hoping before his tub we can try and get him to go pee in the potty. I would like to have him potty trained by his 2nd b-day.

    Posted by TAM May 28, 09 03:26 PM
  1. Although it can be frustrating, pushing a kid and/or showing signs of disappointment when s/he doesn't perform properly -- e.g., scolding if they make a mess -- can lead to all sort of problems. The only method is to instruct and encourage and let them figure out the timing.

    Posted by DFinMA May 28, 09 03:29 PM
  1. One thing that helped me son to potty train is Cheerios. He thought that the target practice - trying to hit the Cheerios was the best thing ever.

    Posted by Diane D May 28, 09 05:06 PM
  1. Are you kidding me - what a bunch of liberl lazy parents - waiting for the child to let them know when it's time.. Who is the parent or mom here - that is so LAZY - I guess you dont mind changiing the diaper of a child that has eaten the same food as you - or are you still giving them baby food - you lazy pigs.. don't you have a mother-in-law or a mother to please??? You discust me.

    Posted by pocketbooks101 May 28, 09 05:22 PM
  1. Who the hell are you people and who the hell cares how or when your children were potty trained!

    Jeez.

    Smoot still wears pull-ups and loves them.

    Posted by RugBurn May 28, 09 05:37 PM
  1. I started all my children (girls AND boys) at 18 months and all were trained by 24 months. This all while working a full-time job, so no excuses for working Mom's and Dad's. Parents are listening to much to the doctor's advice these days ("wait until they're ready") and missing that window of opportunity. Trust me your little knows everything you are saying at 18 months, so yes they do GET what potty training is.

    Posted by GetToIt May 28, 09 08:19 PM
  1. Maybe someone out there can help me. I had my daughter fully trained by her second birthday. She was a pro. That was about the time I went back to work and my husband became a stay at home dad. Since we also had an infant we had to keep the bathroom door closed. My husband got sick of having to open that bathroom door 100 times a day and put her back in diapers. I could have killed him! within a week she figured out how to open doors herself, but it was too late, she had regressed. I tried to train her again and it didn't work. I was told to back off for 6 months and try again so I did. She was a pro for about a week and then refused again. It was october and she would pee down her leg and then keep on playing, she would actually play in soaked jeans in the freezing cold! I asked for advise from family and they told me to wait again. When she turned 3 she asked for the potty. She did great for 4 days and once again, reverted back to peeing on herself constantly. Our carpet, sofa beds, clothes, car will never be the same. I tried the sticker chart, pez, being naked all day, plastic underwear, books, etc. She is almost 3.5 and I am afraid of trying again or waiting longer. Her sister is closer to being trained!!!!!

    Posted by Wits End May 28, 09 11:42 PM
  1. I never thought my soon to be 4 yr. old would be trained. We had the potty, the stickers, the "big boy" underwear and he just wouldn't go. However, we just backed off and let him go at his own pace and all of a sudden one day he just started going. He now uses the toilet for everything and will even go standing up! It is true that boys take a while to train, but it does happen. Just don't rush it. I am a special ed. teacher and I have found that kids who may not have control over a lot in their lives do have control over 3 things: eating, talking, and the bathroom. If they don't want to go, they won't go. Good luck and it will happen!!

    Posted by Heather May 30, 09 08:29 AM
 
29 comments so far...
  1. 100% correct

    Posted by kathy roberts May 28, 09 07:16 AM
  1. Usually I disagree vehemently with Barbara, but in this case, I agree wholeheartedly. Having said that, though, there are some kids who, even when ready, need a push because they aren't interested. That's a whole 'nother ball game, though, than a kid who's really not ready.

    Posted by akmom May 28, 09 09:35 AM
  1. I've had kids who are ready to potty at age 2 and kids who didn't really "get it" consistently until they were almost 4. Each child is different. Great advice, Barbara!

    Posted by Exactly right May 28, 09 09:45 AM
  1. Well said! My 3 year old, who will be 4 in July, was ADAMANT about not using the potty. Forget about trying, he didn't even want to sit on it, just to sit and try it out. Nope, no go. In addition, he had some nightmares about the potty which didn't help. So we completely backed off, and within months he was interested again. Then one day a couple weeks back, I just put underwear on him, kept bringing him to the potty every 30 minutes and within one day he figured it out. We haven't had an accident since. I think there is something to be said about training late, because early on at age 2, they really have a hard time getting the concept but at this age, approaching 4, he really understood it and was like, OK this is what we do and I want to do it too. Yes, I had my second while my first was still in pull ups but eliminating the struggle and waiting for him to be ready really paid off. And he loves his lighting mcqueen underwear!!!

    Posted by Mom2J34 May 28, 09 10:02 AM
  1. good advice. i didn't even really attempt potty training with my daughter until she was 2.9 yrs old...it was a little older than other kids in her daycare but she was ready. literally, within 2 weeks she was diaper-free with no accidents...even at night! don't push it. they will let you know when they're ready.

    Posted by LMDL May 28, 09 10:38 AM
  1. I don't necessarily agree. Both my husband and his siblings and I and my siblings were potty-trained well before 2. (We are in our early 30s) No one suffered psychologically or physically, ie, no bed wetters or stool withholding. This was cultural and also necessary in the places we grew up--half a globe away from each other. Cloth diapers were bulky and washing was highly inconvenient and expensive. With our first child, he was potty-trained completely by 2 years and 3 months and our daughter (same age now) is well on her way. Our children perhaps have met Brazelton's criteria early, but I also think that there's something to be said for training BEFORE a child knows his own mind and can become intractable. Good luck, Lee, you must do what works best for your family.

    Posted by Just1Voice May 28, 09 10:54 AM
  1. When the weather is warm, take his diaper off and let him run around outside. After an "accident" or two, show him what he's supposed to do. I did this with my son and last year (same age, same circumstances) and he was trained in 2 hours! Then everytime he used the potty, I would give him an M&M. Going #2 is a totally different experience as that took about another 6 months. But I never put a diaper back on him unless he asked to go #2.

    Posted by 2BoysMom May 28, 09 10:55 AM
  1. My son is 3 and a half and after many pleas, bribes, and accidents it finally clicked at his pace and on his terms, so I agree give him time and he will definetly let you know when he needs to go.

    Posted by JMC May 28, 09 11:05 AM
  1. I disagree completely with the "wait until they are ready" hypothesis. If you wait until boys are ready, you possibly will be waiting until they are 4 yrs old. Note, I said boys. Girls are completely different and will sometimes just train themselves. Boys could care less. We teach kids to swim and read before they ask or show interest right? Why is potty training so different? You are teaching them a life skill. I have recently been training my youngest of 2 boys. I asked my oldest who is 5 if he remembered peeing in his diaper when I was trying to potty train him, and he said “Yes”. When I asked him why he did that, he said that he just didn’t know what to do on the toilet. So, you have to teach them! My youngest "got it" and was fully potty-trained in April after a few months of effort on my part. He was 2 yrs 10 months. It was glorious. My technique, which I used on both of my sons is to have them naked from the waist down while they are in the house, and have them sit on the toilet or potty every hour. My reward is one M&M for pee, two M&M's for poop. It doesn't seem like much, but it is for them. Give lots of praise too. There will be accidents, though not too many, and it could take a couple of months, but better that than having a 4 yr old in diapers. Let me tell you it is so awesome seeing his little undies in the laundry! Good luck. Train now!

    Posted by VTMom May 28, 09 11:21 AM
  1. I couldn't agree more. "You can lead a horse to water..." If you let the child decide when he or she is ready, you've set the whole household up for success. No mistakes, messes, bed-wetting, etc. When our 3 yr old son decided he was ready (not our decision, but his), it was 100% done in 36 hrs. He makes it through the night, road trips, etc. Believe me, the child will not enter high school in diapers! Patience will pay in spades.

    Posted by Count to 10 May 28, 09 11:24 AM
  1. I took the advice of many of my friends when PT'ing my son (he was 2.11) and the best advice I got was : NO PULL-UPS! If he can pee in them & poop in them, they're diapers. It was messy and chaotic and we didn't leave the house for many days but well worth it. My son was trained within 1 week. Good luck this is a very trying time!

    Posted by Erica May 28, 09 11:59 AM
  1. My older son was three years old and "not interested". I told him that was fine, and, by the way, I wasn't terribly interested in him watching any videos either.

    So ... he had to get three stickers for "sitting on the potty and practicing" before he could watch a video. He was out of diapers in a month.

    Fast forward a little over a year ... I took little brother, who always hated wet diapers, and put him on the potty. Little brother was 2 years 4 months old. I asked him to tell me a story while he sat, to get him to sit long enough for something to happen. He peed, and I could see the light bulb go on and a bell ring BING! He was clean and dry (and dry at NIGHT!) within two weeks. Whoh! I don't know how I got so lucky with that! I think his brother found it easier to be changed whenever, while little guy was supremely motivated.

    Posted by Infoferret May 28, 09 12:06 PM
  1. One thing that you may not realize is that having a newly-trained toddler is MORE work than a toddler in diapers. Small children don't just "get it" and then your work is done forever. Most of the kids trained on the early side (age 2-3) that I've known go through a protracted period where accidents and "near misses" are fairly common. Parents need to be very attuned to the signs of needing to go and cue the kid to get to the potty asap. For many kids, you have to take the child to the potty, stay there for encouragement, and do some cleanup afterwords. Longer car rides are a chore, with numerous out-of-the-blue "gotta pee NOW" cries. Allowing your son stay in diapers while you have a newborn will actually save you some headaches!

    Oh, and wiping throughly is a skill that can can take years to acquire: your poopy butt wiping days are far from over, potty trained or not :-)

    Posted by amyfaith May 28, 09 12:08 PM
  1. VTMom, when we say "wait till they're ready" we're not suggesting that you shouldn't introduce the potty starting at whatever age you deem appropriate. while i waited for my daughter to be really ready (for her 2.9 yrs) i also put her on the potty several times a day for weeks and months before that. i didn't wait for her to all of a sudden sit on it and start peeing.
    honestly i think the waiting method is better. you yourself point out that your method took a few months. i waited till my girl was ready and we were totally trained in 2 wks.

    Posted by LMDL May 28, 09 12:11 PM
  1. also, one more bit of sort-of related advice. i've been using "flushable wipes" since my daughter was trained....wiping her bum and throwing them down the toilet. well, this past weekend we had sewage back up in our basement tub and toilet (a yuck beyond description)...when the plumber came and cleaned out the pipes he told us the culprit was.....flushable wipes!! i said but they're flushable! it says so right on the box! he says the companies should be sued for saying that. says he sees backups caused by wipes often, particularly in older homes.

    Posted by LMDL May 28, 09 12:27 PM
  1. LMDL, Ok, so maybe it is a matter of semantics. To me, putting a child on the potty several times a days for weeks/months, is "training". You are working with them to teach them what to do. Some parents don't do this because they hear the warning "wait 'til they're ready", and then the child gets to be 3 - 3.5 and they won't go near the potty and then good luck.
    In the end, we all have to do what we think is best for our families and sanity. To me, changing a 3 or 4 yrs old diaper when they might be fully capable of using the toilet, but just haven't been taught, is not good for me.

    Posted by VTMom May 28, 09 12:40 PM
  1. I agree w/ Barbara, back off for now....(we had pressure from relatives and others, baby#2 was on the way but waited.) My son had no interest at that age, in fact he despised the potty--just as this child did. 2.5 maybe too young for this little boy. There is a balance however, you can' t wait forever as someone stated....you'll have to draw the line at some point but now may not be the time. We went cold turkey w/ our son who was over 3.5 years.....(I agree pull ups do not work)...we had a few painful days--lots of bribing...but he was trained within a week. You don't realize as another person stated...once they're potty trained it's more work than them wearing a diaper...so what's the rush?

    Posted by LC May 28, 09 12:49 PM
  1. My brother-in-law got his oldest daughter trained by pointing out to her, wherever the family went, all the activities that were denied to her because they were only for children that didn't wear diapers. Once she realized that potty training would allow her to hang with the "big kids", presto!

    Posted by Joyce777 May 28, 09 12:59 PM
  1. Totally agree with Amyfaith. A toddler just out of diapers is a lot more work than a toddler in diapers. I had the same scenario as you and decided to put off training until after baby arrived (especially since many talked about PT regression when new siblings arrive). So we backed off and looking back, I'm glad I did. It's really hard to jump to the potty with one when you are nursing the other!
    Good luck!

    Posted by JB May 28, 09 01:11 PM
  1. On the subject of waiting until they're ready....My granddaughter was outraged that she could not go into the play area at an Ikea store she is often taken to by a parent. "No diapers" is the rule there, and she was turned away by the attendant many times because she was in diapers. Finally, at three years and one month, she announced that she was ready to use the potty so that she could go into the play area at Ikea. That was to be the reward, chosen by herself for herself, and it worked. Nothing else had produced results. She is now potty-trained.

    Posted by CSF May 28, 09 01:30 PM
  1. Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!

    Posted by Tara Harris May 28, 09 01:52 PM
  1. My son is 19 months and got him the potty seat/stool to brush his teeth at the sink. Didn't think he would be using the potty part any time soon, but last night he actually pee in the potty before getting into the bath tub. I am hoping before his tub we can try and get him to go pee in the potty. I would like to have him potty trained by his 2nd b-day.

    Posted by TAM May 28, 09 03:26 PM
  1. Although it can be frustrating, pushing a kid and/or showing signs of disappointment when s/he doesn't perform properly -- e.g., scolding if they make a mess -- can lead to all sort of problems. The only method is to instruct and encourage and let them figure out the timing.

    Posted by DFinMA May 28, 09 03:29 PM
  1. One thing that helped me son to potty train is Cheerios. He thought that the target practice - trying to hit the Cheerios was the best thing ever.

    Posted by Diane D May 28, 09 05:06 PM
  1. Are you kidding me - what a bunch of liberl lazy parents - waiting for the child to let them know when it's time.. Who is the parent or mom here - that is so LAZY - I guess you dont mind changiing the diaper of a child that has eaten the same food as you - or are you still giving them baby food - you lazy pigs.. don't you have a mother-in-law or a mother to please??? You discust me.

    Posted by pocketbooks101 May 28, 09 05:22 PM
  1. Who the hell are you people and who the hell cares how or when your children were potty trained!

    Jeez.

    Smoot still wears pull-ups and loves them.

    Posted by RugBurn May 28, 09 05:37 PM
  1. I started all my children (girls AND boys) at 18 months and all were trained by 24 months. This all while working a full-time job, so no excuses for working Mom's and Dad's. Parents are listening to much to the doctor's advice these days ("wait until they're ready") and missing that window of opportunity. Trust me your little knows everything you are saying at 18 months, so yes they do GET what potty training is.

    Posted by GetToIt May 28, 09 08:19 PM
  1. Maybe someone out there can help me. I had my daughter fully trained by her second birthday. She was a pro. That was about the time I went back to work and my husband became a stay at home dad. Since we also had an infant we had to keep the bathroom door closed. My husband got sick of having to open that bathroom door 100 times a day and put her back in diapers. I could have killed him! within a week she figured out how to open doors herself, but it was too late, she had regressed. I tried to train her again and it didn't work. I was told to back off for 6 months and try again so I did. She was a pro for about a week and then refused again. It was october and she would pee down her leg and then keep on playing, she would actually play in soaked jeans in the freezing cold! I asked for advise from family and they told me to wait again. When she turned 3 she asked for the potty. She did great for 4 days and once again, reverted back to peeing on herself constantly. Our carpet, sofa beds, clothes, car will never be the same. I tried the sticker chart, pez, being naked all day, plastic underwear, books, etc. She is almost 3.5 and I am afraid of trying again or waiting longer. Her sister is closer to being trained!!!!!

    Posted by Wits End May 28, 09 11:42 PM
  1. I never thought my soon to be 4 yr. old would be trained. We had the potty, the stickers, the "big boy" underwear and he just wouldn't go. However, we just backed off and let him go at his own pace and all of a sudden one day he just started going. He now uses the toilet for everything and will even go standing up! It is true that boys take a while to train, but it does happen. Just don't rush it. I am a special ed. teacher and I have found that kids who may not have control over a lot in their lives do have control over 3 things: eating, talking, and the bathroom. If they don't want to go, they won't go. Good luck and it will happen!!

    Posted by Heather May 30, 09 08:29 AM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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