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Toilet training resistance - 3 year old - Please Help!

(12 Posts)
Nux Tue 22-May-12 13:35:38

My DD has just turned 3. She started potty training about this time last year at the suggestion of nursery and was progressing well - however I was pregnant and towards the end of my pregnancy she started going backwards. Once DS arrived the whole thing fell to pieces completely and we went back into pull-ups after a couple of stressful months. She did react badly to DSs arrival but now seems to have got over it (far fewer tantrums, seems happy and secure again).

We started training again a few weeks ago and basically she will do at least one wet a day and sometimes poos too. She is bright, articulate and stubborn. She is capable of going to the loo entirely unaided, capable of recognising when she needs to go and asking/telling someone, capable of holding wee in for long periods (eg 2 hours) - so I have no concern around her physical ability to succeed. However she just doesn't want to. She has not responded to all the usual rewards eg buttons after a wee etc. Most recently we gave her a sticker chart for being dry all day, she got a sticker and an individually wrapped treat (small toy/sweeties) from a special shiny bag if she succeeded. The first week went ok but we haven't had any success in this for ages. She doesn't care enough.

My husband recently found this on the internet

Look at the parents guide at the end. It sounds like this is where we are and we are considering using this approach but I am still nervous - I think because I am at my wits end with all of it and am starting to feel like we will never succeed. I just want her to want to do it well - I don't mind the occassional accident - but she is doing it deliberately e.g. yesterday she wet herself 6 times in one afternoon including on my chair where she had promised she wouldn't wee and all the time screaming blue murder and throwing huge tantrums if I suggested (cheerfully and in a no-pressure way) that she use the loo.

Has anyone tried this approach or something like it? Are there any other ideas? Sorry this is so long - I'd really appreciate your help and insight.

FSB Tue 22-May-12 13:57:52

We're in a similar position with DD (2.10), she is usually happy to wear knickers at home, and hasn't had an accident for months, but she refuses to go nappy-free at nursery and she won't do a poo on the loo (cries to have her nappy put on and then does one within half an hour)... I'm not sure how to get her over the nursery bit, which I assume is embarrassment or fear of having an accident sad

I never push it when she asks for a nappy, but she's getting to the age now where she really should be making progress and not staying still

Nux Tue 22-May-12 20:21:13

I really desperately need some advice, can anyone help?

MerryMarigold Tue 22-May-12 20:26:01

I'll read the article. Am in a similar position with my dd who is now 3.5. She refuses to acknowledge she needs the loo, refuses to go if I ask her to, and often wets herself despite being trained now for about 8 months! What I also find is that it goes in patches so she may be great for a couple of weeks and then there will be the 6 in one day thing. Her twin brother is totally different, trained in a few days and not had an accident since. I would say that things can destabilise her, eg. the loss of confidence of one 'accident' seems to lead to more. Also when she's ill/ tired it's much worse. Can't always put my finger on why...but we are guaranteed to have at least 1 wet pair of pants most days. I don't get too hard on her because I don't want her to feel bad, but I will read the article.

MerryMarigold Tue 22-May-12 20:44:22

I like that approach! Power struggle makes some sense, especially with my dd. There are times I am aware of this, although not all the time. I think it's sensible to stop the reminders now, as they don't seem to make a lot of difference. The difficulty though is before going out, as she will want to wee in the street if I don't make her go to the loo before we leave the house. Something I have done is to go the loo myself in front of her, then invariably she wants to go as well. I'm still not 100% though as my older ds (who is 6.5) can get so desperate that he's dancing around and still doesn't go to the toilet. It's like his brain hasn't acknowledged it, even though physically his body is totally ready! This often happens when tired.

MerryMarigold Tue 22-May-12 20:45:40

PS. There is a whole potty training section on Mumsnet. You may get more advice there, I don't know.

Nux Wed 23-May-12 11:44:57

Thanks for your responses. It's made me wonder whether tiredness is a factor as she has recently dropped her nap. I guess it could be a part of it although the power struggle bit feels very true for me! I have read the potty training guide but it seems to be aimed at younger children/doing it for the first time - not how to fix things when you've been going for over a year! I'll check it again.

alana39 Wed 23-May-12 15:05:33

Do you have anyone else who can help? Does she go to a playschool, for example?

My DS2 was very resistant to potty training - he was a late talker, but by about 2 1/2 we were talking about getting out of nappies and he just refused. He got to 3 (the age at which DS1 had potty trainined in 2 days, and then had no accidents day or night) and still refused. He was very nearly 3 1/2 before he agreed to try - I wasn't prepared to go through it without his agreement and he is bright and stubborn (but not articulate!).

I won't bore you with the details but we had a terrible 2 weeks, then playschool started back after the holidays and the staff there had him using a toilet within 2 days. He wasn't completely accident free from then on but accidents were rare, and were genuinely accidental rather than the blatant sitting on a potty for 20 mins before pulling up pants and pooing that we'd had previously.

I don't really know what they did differently, other than perhaps remove the emotional strain that goes with it all at home. I would say I was a pretty calm person but this was my least favourite bit of toddlerhood and we have it all coming up again soon with DS3.

Tgger Wed 23-May-12 16:17:28

Hi there, I haven't read your article- I'll have a look later- but I think keeping it simple is by far the easiest way so, what I would recommend and you might not like this but I think it would work... is putting her back in pull ups for a couple of months. Take the pressure off her and you. You can tell her that she's not ready yet and then when she is she can wear pants again.

Then when you do train, again, keep it simple. No fights, no power struggles, just straightforward. Maybe a sticker chart but no treats, they're not necessary, not really. It sounds she is completely ready physcially but perhaps not in the right place re being a wilful 3 year old and she's not the only one- it's just easier to train them when they are having a slightly less wilful patch.

One other thought, if you don't want to quit completley now then carry on but decide on your approach, either you are in charge for the moment (prob won't work as she is 3 and wants her own way), or she is in charge in which case you leave it to her, don't force the issue and just clear up accidents in a straightforward manner. If she doesn't want to do it, don't do it, leave it 2 or 3 months then she'll probably do it in 2 days without the trauma.

dreamydays Sun 02-Sep-12 21:41:07

Hi Nux. I know this is an old thread, but on the off-chance you might see it I thought I'd ask whether you've made any progress and if so whether you have any tips. Your situation with your DD sounds very like ours, especially the "bright, articulate and stubborn" part. Our DD is now 3.7, potty trained a year ago, but still has at least one accident a day and often several (wees only). We're frustrated as we feel she could usually avoid it and we've tried everything. But the article looks interesting; did you try it and did it work?

Anyway I hope things have got better for you since May!

dreamydays Thu 27-Sep-12 21:01:18

In case anyone is reading this thread in future - we tried the recommendations in the article and it's made a big improvement. It's counter-intuitive to stop asking her if she wants to go, but it has worked. We still have the occasional accident but more like 1 a week than 1 a day. And the frustration has gone out of the whole topic.

elfycat Thu 27-Sep-12 21:13:53

My DD1 was resistant, we had tried training at 2 and a half, then 3 months later, then just after her 3rd birthday with no real success.

I tried this approach. Just a breezy reminder of the toilet at the beginning of the day followed by .. nothing. I cleaned up accidents with a 'never mind, next time huh?'. She started using the potty regularly for wees within a week. She would draw my attention to the potty and get congratulated, high five'd etc. During this stage I used those bedtime sheets on the car seat. After she'd become a regular user of potty she stopped weeing during daytime naps.

It took another 3 months to do the same with poo. She would often go just after her night time nappy went on, again no pressure. I started talking to her about how Mr Poo has to go to Pooland (printed off the story but didn't need to show that). She took responsibility for Mr Poo. One day she just came to find me and said I had to look.

There are accidents, but not very many. I've told her that when we're out or in the car she needs to give me as much warning as she can as it might take a few minutes to find somewhere to go.

Night time? Still wet nappies every morning. I'm not going to stress. I've told her that there will come a time when she'll wake up to wee in the night, if she thinks she could she's just to let me know.

Up to her - it works.

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