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Potty training nightmare - have I got this all wrong?

(16 Posts)
wilbur Tue 30-Dec-03 17:24:54

Ds will be three in mid-jan and we are trying, again, to potty train him. We gave it a go in the summer, but after 3 days of non-stop potty sitting with very few results and accidents every time he got up we decided he was not ready and stopped. We haven't mentioned potties or pants really at all in the last few months as we didn't want him to get a thing about it. As we are now quiet after Xmas and not going anywhere for New Year, we thought we would give it another go. He had got a little more interested, and is excited about his Thomas pants, but he is far from "getting it". When we showed him the star chart this morning, he totally understood what that was for, knows about stars and treats for a row of stars, but when I mention using the toilet or potty, he seems to glaze over. He has done one tiny poo on the potty first thing as he really wanted a star, and since then we have just had accidents, including poo. He doesn't seem to mind being wet, even though when I say "Shall we try and keep Thomas nice and dry?" he says yes. He is reluctant to sit on the potty or toilet "just in case" and I think this is becasue we overdid the potty sitting in the summer. Have I got this all worng? Have I missed the magic moment when potty training is just supposed to click? Any suggestions? I would really like to stick with it but I don't want him to get upset. He's not upset at the moment btw, just reluctant.

snowysam Wed 31-Dec-03 12:08:31

Only thing I can suggest is (if your house is warm enough) letting him go 'commando', its still going to be messy but I found with my DSs that wearing pants felt too much like wearing nappies so they went in them (and got upset). It was only when they lost that safety net that they got the hang of it.

The only other thing I would suggest is that if you are going to do it, stick with it no matter what otherwise he'll get confused!

I think you just have to accept there will be alot of accidents and invest in some 'pet accident spray' from the vets to get rid of those lingering aromas!

Good Luck, he will get there eventually!

wilbur Thu 01-Jan-04 16:38:12

Thanks for that snowysam. I think I will try the commando thing tomorrow as I can rev up the heating in our flat and it should be warm enough. Thankfully we don't have carpet, but I can see the cushions on the sofa suffering! Pet spray is a good idea, I will pick some up. Had a slightly better day today and he's less reluctant to sit on the potty, so I guess it's just going to be a long, slow thing.

Lou33 Thu 01-Jan-04 16:43:52

Have you tried sitting him on the potty with a nappy on, when you think he is about to go? Then gradually over time undo the tape, so he is just sitting on the nappy in the potty. We did this with our first three, and it worked (number 4 is still in nappies at almost 3, but is special needs). It then moved to just weeing and pooing without the nappy at all quite easily. Might be worth a try? Aslo maybe try putting the pants over the nappy, so he sees you pulling them down to go to the toilet.

If dh is amenable to it, maybe he could sit in the bathrrom with ds at the same time, and they could go to the toilet together. Ds1 felt v grown up sitting next to daddy .

TiredDragon Thu 01-Jan-04 21:37:02

I'd stick with it. DS2 (will be 3 in March) was clueless for 2 days, then I sent him in to his nursery in pants for the next 2 days and let them deal with it (BAD mother!). This seemed to move him along really well - I guess they kept reminding him to go and taking him to the potty (and they've trained more children than me!).

His second week was a big improvement and he finally got it sussed completely after 2 weeks when he was simply suddenly reliable. I do occasionally remind him if he's engrossed in play but that's more for my peace of mind. He was trained at the end of November. I think it depends how good you are with the mess. I really found it got me down on the other occasions we tried training but this time I gritted my teeth and got on with it.

Good luck!

Nosser Fri 02-Jan-04 19:50:41

We're just coming through the toilet training nightmare - I think it's been the most stressful thing to deal with. DS was three in October, and we started in November (after a few feeble attempts to train him in the summer, but as we were moving house 200 miles it was way too traumatic to do anything else about it). After two weeks of endless weeing on absolutely anything and everything, and just when we were about to give up, he suddenly got the knack of holding it in and realised that he could control his bladder. Asking him if he wanted to go was and still is an absolute no-no - bound to say no even if he wanted to. Instead he was rewarded with loads of chocolate for every offering - I started a star chart but he just wanted to put stickers all over it in his own way, instead of my way! I dare say the professionals wouldn't encourage chocolate but sod them I say, whatever works has got to be worth it. Six weeks on he actually likes doing a wee in the loo and is very proud of himself - but I really never thought we'd get there. We now realise that it's just like all those developmental stages - they reach them in their own time, rather than yours, however unbelievably frustrating it is.
Poohing in the loo is still not great - I don't think he likes the splash and would prefer to do that in his pants. I read somewhere that they see it as part of themselves and are reluctant to part with it! How delightful.
As regards clothes on or off, I found it really stressful the first few days when he had nothing on - the mess was just too much, and he didn't care two hoots because he could just run away. Having clothes on meant that most of the wee is soaked up in them, and he became more uncomfortable, which I think was the trigger to him deciding to do it in the loo.
A friend lent me a book about toilet training that came free with Huggies potty starter pack - you get a free potty, with pull-ups and this book - the book had some really good advice I thought. Sorry, haven't got the author's name, but I think the package is still for sale, so if you need a read of something, I would recommend it.

Good luck - he will get there!

wilbur Tue 06-Jan-04 11:27:04

Thank you, thank you snowysam! The commando thing seems to have made a lot of sense to ds and certainly helps with the anticipation. He's using the potty on his own quite well now, at least when we are at home. Yesterday was difficult though, as it was his first day back at nursery and he did everything in his pants, plus his bottom got sore where he had sat on the potty for a while (can you be allergic to potties? It's not the pants as he hasn't been wearing them at home and he's still sore). Anyway, this morning he's wearing pants (no trousers) and did a wee on the potty without prompting and even pulled his pants back up, which is great for him as he's hell at taking off/putting on his own clothes. I'm always reminded of the brilliant line in one of the "Girlfriends' Guide..." books about parenting The Last Emperor who expects everything to be done for them! So we are moving int he right direction, but I don't know how to improve the nursery thing - I just hope they don't mind the accidents while he gets it.

A second question - does anyone know about when a little boy should wee standing up? Any tips about introducing this? Getting ahead of myself here, but thought some lovely mumsnetter would have some advice!

wilbur Tue 06-Jan-04 11:28:43

Nosser - thanks for your thoughts - I will look out for the Huggies pack, sounds good. I agree with you about the stress - potty training was the one thing I have been dreading and it's the one thing, really, that ds has been unhappy with. Self-fulfilling prophesy?

Nosser Thu 08-Jan-04 22:35:12

Wilbur, sounds like he's making really good progress!
Re:standing up - a few boys at ds's playgroup wee standing up, aged from three and upwards. It's so much easier than having to sit on the seat etc, so I've tried to encourage ds to do this - not much luck so far though. The Toddler taming guy has a tip for encouraging standing up - put a pingpong ball or some bits of paper down the loo so that they can aim for it! Something about blitzing the Australian navy... haven't tried it myself but may resort to it one day!

VFeist Mon 12-Jan-04 11:16:21

Dear wilbur, how are things going now? I feel the same, having been potty training my 2 year old DS for what seems like forever! Now we've locked horns and he only uses the potty sometimes but very sporadically. I tried the commando in the house approach for a long time but became so miserable with 2 or 3 poos he did on the floor that I gave up! He goes off on his own to do poos in his nappy now and it's really difficult to persuade him to use the pot at all. Unfortunately all his little friends have been potty trained for ages so I feel irrationally but hugely inadequate and that it's all my fault! I look after him full time as well so I can't leave it to a nursery as some of the messages suggest. Wonder whether to set aside a few days next week and go commando again and see what happens......Everyone says to chill out about it but am finding it is really getting me down now!
how are things with you and your DS?

mothernature Mon 12-Jan-04 11:20:33

Hope this helps you..

Potty Training
Five Signs That Your Child Is Ready
Most kids show signs of potty-training readiness around the age of 2. The key to success, say experts, is not to push or force your child. He's probably ready when he:

1. Can stay dry for several hours during the day, and
wakes up dry in the morning and from naps.

2. Has bowel movements at predictable times.

3. Asks to be changed when he has soiled or wet a

4. Takes an interest in the bathroom habits of other
family members.

5. Asks to use the toilet or potty.
Parents' Toilet-Teaching Basics
Ease her into it: To get your child used to the idea of a potty, start by letting her sit on it fully clothed while you explain what it's for. Try reading a book to her or singing a song to keep her sitting on the potty for a longer amount of time.

Start a routine: Once your child is comfortable with the potty, bring her in to use it when she shows signs that she may need to. You should also have her sit on the potty at regular intervals during the day; when she wakes up, after meals, and after snacks. If she doesn't go after a few minutes, take her off the potty. Don't worry if she has accidents or doesn't go in the potty very often at first.

Praise her successes: Be positive even if she's making slow progress. Saying things like "That was a good job of pulling your pants down' or "I'm happy you told me you needed to use the potty" will keep your child motivated. When she has accidents, clean them up in a matter-of-fact manner, and never criticize her.

Be a good model: Your child may be very curious about how other family members go to the bathroom. Let her observe an older sibling using the toilet, or let her stand in the bathroom with you, while you use the toilet

Kind regards MN

musica Mon 12-Jan-04 11:26:15

wilbur - we're just going through potty training at the moment, and ds is doing well, but still nowhere near being reliable. But we found a good trick to get him to sit on the potty is to put a special video on (for him it's Thomas) and then he's quite happy to sit.

ponygirl Mon 12-Jan-04 11:42:24

Thank God, I'm not alone. Am toilet training dd (as I have been or most of life, it feels like). She was 3 on Saturday and has resisted learning this for about 6 months. I know she's ready, I know she can hold on, I know she understands what is required. She's just refusing to do it. I decided to bite the bullet this morning, and actually managed to get her to take the nappy off; she usually gets upset and insists on having it back on. I knew she'd want a pooh though so persevered and succeeded. Lots of praise - animal sticker plus chocolate - and she is clearly pleased with herself. She has done pooh in the potty for a while though, but has bever done a wee. She is now sitting on the potty in front of a new DVD that came for her for her birthday, so fingers crossed. One encouraging sign - she fell off our bed this morning onto her head (hideous omigod heart-stopping moment) and howled (understandably) but didn't have an accident, which seemed to demonstrate quite good control!

Am feeling like VFeist - that I'm failing at this and SHOULD DO BETTER. Have to keep reminding myself that ds1 was toilet trained pretty reliably by 2.5, and that she's just a completely different kettle of fish. Extra disappointed though because I thought a girl was going to be easier. How wrong I was. Better go and check on her. Good luck everyone.

ponygirl Mon 12-Jan-04 14:17:31

Oh my god! FOUR WEES IN THE POTTY!! OK, the first 2 were teaspoons and the 3rd was a tablespoon but the last was the full thing and she did it unprompted by me!!! This is it, no going back now! The chocolate buttons clearly did the trick.

Sorry if that sounded a bit over excited. My dh is away and I wanted to tell someone who wouldn't think I was a total sad thing. God, I hope you don't. Maybe I am?!?!

mckenzie Mon 12-Jan-04 21:56:18

good for you Ponygirl and good for your DS too. We are also trying to toilet train (DD is 2 and a half) but with not much success. He's off to his Nan's house tomorrow so we'll see how he gets on there. I've got a house full of new carpets so i'm not keen of the commando style option - think i'll keep that as last resort.

Clarinet60 Mon 12-Jan-04 22:28:29

wearing pyjama bottoms seems to work better than being naked, because they can feel themselves wet and uncomfortable for longer, which makes them want to get rid of it somewhere else first (potty). If they wear nothing, their skin dries out really fast and most of it goes on the floor anyway.
That was my friend's top tip, and it worked for DS1, who cracked potty training in days (we didn't start until he was 3.)

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