Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Potty training-a stressful nightmare

Alex has been quite aware of needing the toilet for a little while now, he was 2 1/2 in May and I'd say he knew before then sometimes, however he was petrified of using the toilet or potty.

A few weeks ago I made a quick/lazy attempt to try and train him as I thought he was ready for it, but after loads of temper tantrums about using the potty/toilet and me still feeling a bit yucky from the early stages of pregnancy we gave up by lunch time...I was too fed up of cleaning up wet patches and he was shocked when he found himself doing a wee, so I thought that when he'd been wearing a nappy he was actually telling me after doing a wee rather than when he needed to go. So I decided to hold off.

On Sunday my parents had Alex for us as me and James were working, when I came back he showed me a new toy Nanny had bought him that day, and with a bit of encouragement from my Mum told me he was wearing pants (pull ups) and had been doing wees all afternoon and had stayed dry. I was pleasantly surprised, and obviously tried to carry on with this success.

Yesterday we had playgroup in the morning, the pull ups went on, numerous trips to the toilet before we left with no success, (although him sitting there was enough of a success to me) we ended up being very late, but after his snack and drink a trip to the playgroup loos was a success. He fell asleep on the way back home and the afternoon wasn't as great, but not too bad either.

Today we had a big tantrum when I got him dressed, with him proclaiming he wasn't a boy (when I had told him what a good big boy he had been) and that he wanted to be in nappies. I managed to force the pull ups on him, and up until lunch it was hard work but he did use both toilet and potty well. This afternoon was a big FAIL he refused to sit on them again, when I asked him if he needed to go he was just ignore me or shout no at my face. It just seemed like a big step backwards.

Does anyone have any tips? I am going to carry on but it just seems to be morning success at the minute, then he gets tired and grouchy (and so do I as have been battling the tiredness loads the last couple of weeks) and it all goes downhill! I really want him trained before our holiday in August, as he starts pre school in September.


  1. In the run up to us doing it I used to just do nappy off time in the morning and evening. So he would have about an hour in the morning after breakfast and an hour after tea when he just ran around with no nappy on. He seemed to rather like going to the potty in front of the TV - maybe it was because he was distracted/ relaxed. We did this for a quite a long time. And then, we had a week where I decided we'd go for it. I didn't use pullup's but bought some proper 'big boy' pants from mothercare which I let him choose. The advantage of these vs pull ups is when then do have a wee/ accident, they can feel it straight away whereas the pull up's wick the urine away. I used supernanny's book and section on training for advice, and she recommends in the case of a wee not changing the pants straight away (ie, leave them for a few minutes to feel uncomfortable/ realise what has happened.). That seemed to work well with my boy. (Although when he did a poo in the pants it was a nightmare and I ended up chucking them away!).
    Also, my boy never liked the toilet, so we only used, and still use a potty the majority of the time. He'll get there in his own time, but the main point is, that now he will take himself to the potty by himself and do it without prompting. So what if he doesn't use the toilet. And actually, a 2 / 3 year old can't take themselves to the loo independently anyway.
    Good luck with it. I'd say, don't stress about it too much, he will do it in his own time. Maybe try and do it in small steps first. I didn't use incentives but my friend found a sweetie as a reward for doing a successful potty worked well with her son.
    Apparently boys often take longer to 'get it' than girls too. Something to do with them having a longer uretha which makes it harder to get a sense of their bladder control/ understand the urge.

    Not sure if any of the above helps, but Good Luck!

    1. Thank you so much for all your great tips!

      I have him in pull ups at the moment, but think next week I may take the plunge (eek) and go with the pants route, as I think the pull ups are a bit of a security for both of us at the moment if I am being honest. Alex actually seems to want to use the toilet more, but have the potty in the lounge too-distractions do seem to help (have found reading books when he's on the loo to help). Like you say they still need help getting on the loo anyway! Definitely is a difference between girls and boys, out of our NCT friends who are all born similar times all 3 girls are trained and all 3 boys aren't in the slightest bothered!

      Thanks so much, hope you had a lovely holiday!

  2. Sorry to hear that it's so stressful. We didn't have a particularly easy time of it, especially when it came to the poos, once the wee was sorted we had about six months of poo in pants before it clicked, despite offering him all the bribes and incentives that we could think of. When it did click though he was dry at night too and very rarely had any accidents. I think that our problem was that we had some early success when he was about 2, then the new baby came and we moved house and it all sort of got forgotten, so he was just 3 by the time we actually managed it. We dragged it out for too long, I sometimes think that we should have just waited until he was a bit older and then it would have happened quickly. I'd give it a week or so and if you're really not getting anywhere then maybe leave it for a bit? Good luck, it can be so stressful.

    1. Oh dear sounds like you had a bit of a stressful time with the poos then! Yeah if he doesn't get it within a week I might give it a small break again as we have had more success than a few weeks ago, definitely want him trained before baby no. 2 comes along! Thanks for the advice.

  3. I'm doing my son at the moment (2 yrs 8 mths) and it has confirmed what everyone has told me - boys are much harder to potty train than girls. With my daughter I followed the Gina Ford potty training in a week book and she did everything the book said she would and was dry in a week. My son however was a different matter. By day 7 he only had one accident, by day 8 we were back to square one. With no wees in the potty between day 8 and day 12 I pulled out all the stops 1) I threatened to put him back in nappies and 2) I bribed him with chocolate buttons - and 2 days later he was dry. We're now on day 19 and we're still working on the poos. Some we've made it to the potty in time, more we haven't. With potty training boys you need to be patient it seems

    1. About the same age then, yes think it really must be true. Out of Alex's toddler group of friends all 3 girls are trained and the 3 boys aren't bothered/scared/lazy etc. Alex seems to always poo just as he wakes so haven't even got to that part of the training yet...will just have to stick with the basics for the time being. Good luck with your little boy and thanks for the tips, think I may need to get myself (and Alex I suppose ;) ) some choc buttons! I only wish I could be more patient!

  4. April has been out of nappies for approaching 3 months now. She's 29 months. The 10 days it took for her to 'get it' were the worst of my parenting journey so far. I literally stayed home, gave her lots of nappy off time (or knicker off time) and just made her potty available to her. Days 1, 2 and 3 I suppose were quite successful and then it fell apart. I remember one day I think we had 6 wee accidents and 3 poos. I am so glad the majority of it was on the laminate floor so I could mop/disinfect ASAP! It was exhausting. The key things I did:
    - No pull ups, straight for knickers.
    - Small reward if she did a wee or a poo in the potty (sticker or chocolate button) along with lots of clapping and hugs.
    - No punishment for an accident but almost indifference with a bit of reiteration on what she should have done. 'Oh dear, that's not not where wee wee should go. What will you say next time?' or 'Nevermind, it'll dry'. (These became a mantra for me too!)
    - If she was really engrossed in a TV program of story, I'd pop her on the potty.
    - Once it all starts to work (as in he asks and you take him to the potty/toilet) opt for the toilet ASAP.

    I would also say get plenty of chocolate/cake/treats for yourself as it really is a tough time.

    On the positive, other than an occasion dribble of wee, she's not had any accidents since it clicked after about day 9/10. We can go out without nappies and wipes and it's actually very liberting. We went to Ikea on Monday - she asked for the toilet twice, we got there in plenty of time and she even did a poo! (Sorry for TMI, but hey, you're a Mum and we all talk about poo!)

    Anything I can help with, just yell!
    Hayley X

    1. No worries about TMI it is a post about toilet training and as a Mother like you it always creeps up in conversations! I'm thinking I should let him be in pants when we are at home at least, at least then he it should make him more aware...I will just have to keep the carpet cleaner to hand (disadvantage of having carpeted floor throughout with kids)! The cakes sound a goof idea potty training or not ;) thanks for all the tips! x


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