Potty Training Q&A

Many of you wrote me asking for potty training advice after the 22 Potty Training Tips for Modern Moms. Thanks for all your questions and your shared advice. I love hearing from you. And although I am not a certified M.D. or an expert on potty training by any means, I do have some answers and advice to your questions. I also still highly recommend the book, Toilet Training in Less Than A Day. I hope it helps. From one mom to another. And please, if you have tips, advice or answers to these questions, share them!

My child has no problems going pee pee in the toilet but is having a hard time pooping.

This is actually a common obstacle in potty training. If your child is holding it in and not going poop at all, you will want to check with your pediatrician or family doctor about that. He may be constipated. Miralax is now over-the-counter and can help with the constipation. Please contact your doctor before giving any of it to your child and ask for the correct dosage.

Also, feed your child food high in fiber to help going poop easier. It also provides your child with more opportunities to poop. Practice makes perfect, right?

If you can tell your child needs to poop but refuses to go, then ask him to sit on the toilet for a little while. Tell him he doesn’t have to poop if he doesn’t want to, you just want him to practice sitting on the potty. Then wait. Entertain him if you need to. Allow him to bring some toys he can play with on the potty. Sit there with him for about 15 minutes before allowing him to hop off.

Better yet, entertain him with a pooping candy dispenser. When you see your child holding #2, tell him that the bear (or whichever animal dispenser you purchased) needs to go poopy. Ask him to show the bear how to poop in the toilet. If that’s not going to work, then tell him that the bear wants to show him how to poop. Then have the bear poop into the toilet. And now it’s his turn to poop like a bear.

Should I go straight to underwear or do the pull-ups?

I went straight to underwear. Only used pull-ups at night. And we called them her sleeping panties. I made sure not to call them diapers. Didn’t want her to think it was OK to wear diapers, even if its only at night. I didn’t even put diapers or pull-ups on her when we went out or visited other people’s homes. If you keep switching between diapers and underwear, that will confuse the child or allow them to think it is still OK to wear diapers sometimes.

And we were lucky enough that after two months of potty training, Kaye stopped wetting her sleeping panties (pull-ups) at night. So she hasn’t been in pull-ups since then. That will not be the case with all children. We were very lucky.

What can I do the help my child to potty train faster because he needs to be potty trained by the time he starts preschool?

If your child is the type that is excited to go to school and want to play with the big kids, then take him on a field trip to the school. Call ahead of time to see if you can have him meet his soon-to-be teacher or any teacher will do. Ask her to tell your child and motivate him to be potty trained. Have her say, “Only big kids who can go potty in the toilet can come to school and play with other big kids.” And something like, “I know you can go potty by yourself by the time you come to school. I will be so excited to see you here in a month all potty trained!”

Another option is to have someone your child looks up to, admires or his play buddy who is all ready potty trained to have a little conversation with your child about the fun things big kids can do, including using the potty. Peer pressure can work here. Invite a couple of his friends who are all potty trained to come over for a play date. Explain to him that his friends want to come over and play with him, but they don’t want to play at his house if there is pee pee or poop on the floors. They want to play with a big kid like them who can go potty in the bathroom.

How can I be patient during a time that can be so frustrating? Especially when it seems like he is having accidents on purpose?

Lots of breathing and deep breathes. Keep your calm to the best of your abilities. If you react with a big scene, that is what he is looking for- attention. Let him know that people are counting on him to go potty. People would be disappointed if he has accidents. But don’t make him feel like he will lose love if he doesn’t go.

Provide the attention he wants in a different, more positive way. Dedicate some time to play with him without your cell phone or emails distracting you. This is why it is best to clear off your calendar and focus on potty training for at least a day or two.

I have tried every type of bribery and motivational tactics to get my child to potty train. It’s not working. He doesn’t want to potty train. Screams every time we try.

If he is 2, 3 or 4 and screaming or completely refusing to potty train after you have tried everything, then perhaps he is not ready yet. Try it again later. Work on getting him motivated first.

If he is 5 or older and still not potty training, then you will want to talk to your pediatrician about it. Perhaps there is something physically preventing him.

Most importantly, be persistent and consistent. Do what you say you are going to do. Potty training will prolong if you put him in underwear then back in diapers a few days later. If you are going to potty train, then go full fledge. Don’t just do it when it is convenient. It will never be convenient.

My child is potty trained, but has reverted since we moved/the new baby was born/other circumstance. How can I get her back on track?

Don’t let diapers or pull-up be an option once he has been trained out of them. If he reverts and you revert with him, then what reason would he have to be in underwear? Find out the cause of why he is reverting. Is it because he is not getting as much attention? Make a special effort to give him undivided attention. Is it because he is adjusting to a new home and miss his old home? Make an effort to bring back memories of his old home by unpacking his belonging and even set it up like it used to be.

It is usually because of some type of change in his life, so show him that change can be a good thing.

I am not sure how to motivate my child to potty train.

What are his likes (toys, food, activities, people, hobbies)? How do you usually get him to do things he doesn’t want to do (eat his food, bath, leave his friends, clean up)? Every child has a passion of some sort. Use that to motivate. It can be a toy, somewhere he wants to go, something he wants to do, a store he wants to visit, a person he wants to play with, a privilege he wants to have at home. It can even be as simple as an extra story at bedtime if that’s what motivates him. Make his dreams come true if he accomplishes what he has been asked to do.

Remember, potty training is hard for him too. You know that going to the potty is not exactly the most exciting thing in the world. So why would he change his life for this? Because it is a part of life. Do your best. Every child will be different. And you are a fabulous mother for teaching your child and dealing with all the mess that comes with it.

» Tell me… What are your answers to these potty training questions?

Read other potty training articles… 22 Potty Training Tips for Modern Moms, back to basics tip for auto-flush toilets, download a free potty training chart, 5 children’s potty books and adventures of modern mom story about when they revert.

2 Responses to “Potty Training Q&A”

  • Secret Mom Thoughts

    Potty training is so frustrating. We finally got some success with pooping after 6 weeks (this is also round 2). Two days in a row. Maybe my pleas finally paid off.

  • Anja

    my experiences: don´t do any potty training. these books are helpful to just one person: the author. every child has it´s own time. whenever it is ready for being without pampers, it will tell and show.
    the children i know, who had potty training may have been successful first, but
    almost each of them reverted one day. the children without training have been a little bit olver (may be 3 years, but they went to toilet from one second to the other. so: let them take their time.


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