Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Potty Training Update 5

As I said in my last potty training post, I decided to ease up a bit on Lily. Not only did she develop that nasty rash, but she was also becoming increasingly resistant. She only tries to go on the pot when it "suits her". So, I gave her a break for about two weeks, and then she got a little cold, so she stayed home with me the other day. I decided, "let's try this again". She wore only panties or nothing at all, and although we had many accidents, she was willingly trying and we even had one success. Hooray!

I hoped that we'd be able to stay on track through the weekend, and Saturday she woke up feeling better, but very cranky. I kept at the potty training anyway, although she was not as compliant about it. I caught her doing the "I have to pee" dance, and asked her if she needed to use the potty. She said "No", but kept on holding herself and dancing around on tip toes. I brought her to the potty anyway,  and this inevitably ended up with her throwing a temper tantrum when I tried to get her sit on it, thus resulting with urine everywhere- on the floor, all over the potty, on me, on her, on the was bad.

Mommy had a mini breakdown. And needed to go lay down for a while upstairs.

Paul was there to take over and gallantly cleaned up the pee mess so I didn't have to (this made me happy). I layed down for about 15 minutes or so upstairs, crying from the stress of the situation, and then finally came to the conclusion it was time to play hardball. I came to this conclusion because, a) I know she knows how to use the potty, but is just resisting me, b) she keeps getting rashes and diapers are furthering that, and c) she's almost 2 1/2 and it's time to move on from the diapers. 

Seeing something like this would normally make me go "aw!", but now all I can think is: "No more diapers!!!"

So, I went downstairs with a pull-up in hand (yes, I know you shouldn't use those, but we're trying them anyway) and calmly told her, "Okay, Lily. You can wear your diapers again. But, just know that diapers are for babies and you're a big girl now, but if you want to wear diapers that's fine. But, just so you know, babies don't watch TV, that's only for big girls." I told her this as I put her diaper on and she calmly looked at me, taking it all in, and said nothing. Since then, anytime she asks me if she can watch a DVD, I remind her of our "talk", and she whines, but then eventually lets it go. Yesterday morning was the first time in 3 1/2 days where she finally went and sat on the potty without me suggesting it, after I told her she couldn't watch her Minnie Mouse DVD. Then, before her bath last night, she willingly sat on it again and went pee! Hooray!, said Mommy. Whaaa!, said Lily. For some reason she finds it upsetting when she actually does what she's supposed to on the potty- what's that about?

So, is it working? let's hope so.

What do you think of this method? Does it sound too harsh? I honestly hate to give "ultimatum"-type deals, but I am at my wit's end. Am I being too hard on her? She has clearly demonstrated that she can do it, but just doesn't want to and I think it is because she is just being "rebellious". I have tried the reward method, the clapping and dancing praises when she does have a movement properly, the going panties-only and asking her every 15 minutes if she needs to go...nothing has worked, and I've been trying. They've been trying at the daycare. She holds it until she bursts. What am I to do?

Have you tried using a doll or other toy to encourage potty training?

Just for the record, these are things we have tried:
  1. Potty-time books. Result: seemed to have no effect
  2. Sesame Street/Elmo potty-time videos. Result: didn't even want to watch them
  3. Singing and dancing praises when she does make something on the potty. Result: runs away crying
  4. Giving her a special treat (fruit snacks) when she sits on the potty. Result: will only sit on the potty in order to get the treat
  5. Reading a special book when she sits on the potty. Result: this actually has worked twice now
  6. Going without diapers for 3 days in a row. Result: lots and lots of clean-ups and a cranky toddler who holds her pee in until she bursts all over the floor
Let me know what you think, and any advice and encouragement is greatly appreciated!!!


  1. The method that I have used for both kids so far has been the reward and cheering methods, combined. I also don't bring my kids to the bathroom. For the first few weeks or month, I leave their little potty in whatever room we are in. In the beginning, I lysoled it down, and let them touch it, move it, take it apart. I explained what it was, how it was used, etc. When they started showing signs, I took away diapers during the waking hours. No panties or underwear at first. I demonstrated on the bigger potty, saying that that was mama's potty and that was her/his potty. Then I introduced the Treat Basket. It has little toys, bubbles, stickers, and age appropriate candy. When you make pee, you get a treat. We had quite a few tantrums at first, because they each wanted to skip step b and get straight to step c, get treat. Well, no, I held firm and kept repeating what was expected. Kaelynn took a little longer than Mason, but it worked. Reward coupled with insane amounts of dancing and singing. Then we bring the little potty and dump it into the big potty, saying bye bye to the pee. This seemed to be something they liked, and they got to flush it. Then wash hands, and back into what we were doing. Right now, that's where I'm at with Mason. The potty follows us around the house. He gets treats when he remembers to ask. He goes poop and pee all day, no more accidents. Next, I'll transfer the little potty to the bathroom and have him start learning to use it in there. Then we will introduce underwear. We tried once, but he can't pull them down fast enough, and had a few accidents. Mason needed no bribery for pooping, but Kaelynn did. She peed like a pro, but refused to poop, even though she knew when she had to go. We finally bribed her with the MobiGo handheld system, and she went the next day. Then we used that as leverage, same as you using the dvd. If you poop, you get the game today for a bit. If you poop in your diaper, then it is.mine today. This worked for her. Mason just went, so we didn't need to bribe him for pooping. Mason will use the big potty now, but at first was very scared of it. He is also very independent and stubborn, so letting him do a lot by himself helped. We supervised and only helped if he asked. I think that was a big part, too.

    I hope this info helped, I tried not to ramble too much. Keep it up, it does get better. Keep calm around her, if you stress, she will pick up on it, and it might deter her from the potty process. Sounds like you guys are on the right track though!

    Also... To get my kids excited, I let them pick out their own packs of underwear at the store. That got them more excited then if I'd just have picked up a pack and brought it home myself. They had the say in what they wore.

    1. Thanks for your thorough response! This really helps. I thought about doing a treat basket-type of method, but didn't want to deal with all the little toys and junk. But, maybe I could do a variation with snacks and stickers, I thought of that too but was trying to avoid using any type of reward system at first, then decided to try and simplify things with the book and fruit snacks. Lily has done both pee and poop in the pot, and cries about them both. I like your "bring the potty with you" tactic- that's something I might try next. I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again for your reply, I appreciate it :)

      Lily is also very independent and stubborn, and I think that is part of why she doesn't want to do it- because I want her to! My mom said "she needs it to be her decision", so that's why I am easing up and just reminding her of the things she can enjoy once she starts using the potty regularly. We didn't have any successes yesterday, but I'm not giving up!

      Oh, and I brought Lily to pick out her own undies too, and she could care less about that! I showed her panties with all her favorite characters- Minnie Mouse, Hello Kitty, and Disney Princesses -and she was so passe about it. This kid....

    2. I think the "bring the potty" is the best thing you can do. I read it somewhere, and it made perfect sense. At the time, I had been keeping it in the bathroom, and that was NOT working for Kaelynn. Accidents all the time, screaming at me, telling me she didn't have to go when clearly she did... Once I moved the potty from the bathroom to the living room and I STOPPED asking her, she started going. With Mason, I skipped right over keeping it in the bathroom and went straight to taking it with us. Much smoother training process this time around lol I hope it helps!

  2. I don't have kids of my own, so can only speak from being a nanny and childcare provider. I think the approach outlined in the previous reply is spot on. Little brains are wired to test you when you push them- so the resistance will increase if you push it. All aspects of development (cognitive, physical, social, moral) are interrelated and the feelings that come up during major developmental turning points have an impact on the next level of development. Remember that this is part of a process that is on a continuum and that it is one she needs to actively drive - hopefully with positive feelings about it. Let her take her time and be enthusiastic when she does it, but understanding if she's not ready. Little ones often see their pee and poop as part of themselves. Moreover, diaper changes are a time of interaction with the ones they love the most. This change can be a kind of grieving process for them. The toilet is often scary and mysterious, and seeing part of themselves flushed can be hard to understand. Also, regression is a natural part of development, so don't be surprised if she regresses in potty training when she is mastering other developmental tasks. Hope that helps.

    1. Thanks so much for your response! Where you say that "little ones see their pee and poop as part of themselves" really struck me, and I am wondering if that is affecting Lily. You see, she cries the most when she actually SEES the pee and poop coming out of her. That is usually when she gets upset and wants to jump off the potty. I wonder if there is something to that. I have heard of that being a case with some tots- that they are "afraid" of letting their movements go -so when she gets upset I just keep reinforcing that it's a good thing and that's where the poop and pee go. Then we put it in the big potty and say "bye-bye" and I usually let her flush it (sometimes she doesn't want to). Hopefully it will stick eventually, I am just trying to be firm and patient, which is the hardest part! Everything you said did help, so thank you!

  3. I have no advice, just two blog posts that might cheer you up. It helps to remember how utterly absurd the whole thing is. Oh- and just so you know how deeply I feel your pain... notice that these two posts are SIXTEEN MONTHS APART.

    Yeah, we're at sixteen months of potty training, and counting.

    I am so sorry.

    1. Thanks for this! I have yet to read the posts, but when I do, I will comment. Sometimes cheering up is the thing we mommies need most :)

  4. We are haing such a hard time too. My little girl just turned two. We've tried chocolate, books, Minnie underwear.. she's totally not interested. Maybe I should try the tv thing. I'm tempted to just give up and let her decide...


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