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Nearly in tears over potty training

(8 Posts)
PurplePotPlant Sun 20-Apr-14 14:59:20

Nearly in tears over potty training… sorry if this is long…

Son is 2.5 yrs old. He has vey good verbal communication, and I thought he was ready to potty train as he would tell me when he was going to do a poo, then retreat to a quiet area to poo, then come back and tell me he’d done it.

Initially, it seemed like I was right. I bought a bag of toys I knew he wanted, and drew a star chart and for every 4 poos/wees in potty he got to take a toy from the bag. Within a week he’d got the hang of it, and was completely dry for several days. Then it appears he’s already ‘won’ all the toys he wanted, as today he has completely lost interest.

After zero accidents yesterday (and the day before, and the day before that) he has refused to sit on the potty at all today. I have asked him lots, and he has told me he doesn’t want to anymore, and has had several ‘accidents’ straight after being asked if he needs to go (both wees and a poo)

Then this afternoon as I asked him on the sofa if he needed the potty he said “I not use potty anymore’ and promptly wee-ed all over the sofa, then demanded I change him.

I have never made a fuss about accidents - I’ve always said never mind, we’ll get to the potty next time and changed him with minimal fuss - but this time it felt so unlike an accident I changed him, then took back one of the toys I’d given him.

I instantly felt really mean (it was a spur of the moment action) but I really don’t know what to do. Do I carry on and hope he agrees to start using the potty again and in the meantime wash lots of clothes/carpets? Or should I stop for a while, put him back in nappies and try again at a later point?

Just feeling very frustrated as he was clearly able to use the potty when he wanted to, but now there are no toys he wants he won’t.

As for why I'm nearly in tears - have baby and am v tired, really don't need the extra washing/stress.


sj73 Sun 20-Apr-14 15:12:25

I think the minute it drives you to tears you have to stop and take a break. I had a hellish week trying to potty train my 2.5 year old twins last year. I found myself getting hysterical so put th back in nappies for a month. They'd forgotten all their issues by that point and took to it straight away.

The angst just isn't worth it and you will feel so relieved to have him back in a nappy!

AMJ67 Mon 21-Apr-14 09:36:26

My 2 cents: You are overthinking it.
At 2.5y it is normal for a toddler to be attached to the nappies, the same way as it might be attached to a dummy, a blanket or a teddy. So giving them up for good is painful, but necessary.

I would be firm and tell him that nappies are out forever. It would help if you put them out of sight. If it throws a tantrum, treat it as any other tantrum (ignore till over, then a cuddle).

You are not a bad parent because you force the hand of your child a bit on this. If he used the potty for 2 days, he can go on using it if he realises that you are firm on this. If you hesitate and are not sure, he will pick the cue and be unsure himself.

You are training your toddler and it is just as hard and messy as teaching them to use a spoon, or go to daycare. Forget about all the myths and wonder-toddler stories and go with what you believe.

3littlefrogs Mon 21-Apr-14 09:45:37

He has discovered that this is a great way to get attention, especially as he has also realised the new baby is getting most of your attention right now. Inevitable under the circumstances.

Put him back in nappies, as soon as the weather is warm enough and he can be out in the garden as much as possible, strip him down, invite a friend who is toilet trained to play and he will probably get the idea in a couple of weeks.

insanityscatching Mon 21-Apr-14 09:53:20

Ds1 lost interest after a week or two so I put him back in nappies (he was envious of his baby brother I think). A month later he decided he'd wear pants and that was the end of it. I think if I'd tried to battle he'd have taken longer to decide that he was ready for pants. With ds2 I waited for the sun, stripped him naked and he'd got it in days.
I'd put him back in nappies and wait for the sun.

OurPottyTrainingTips Mon 21-Apr-14 10:41:51

Oh wow PurplePotPlant, I'm very sorry to hear of your troubles and my sympathies go out to you.

First off, don't worry! This sounds like classic potty training regression and it's perfectly normal but also you have to ask yourself if your toddler was really potty trained? A few days of doing it right sounds like the right track but could be that he's not quite mastered it.

For regression finding the root cause of the problem is important and until your find this - he'll keep having problems.

Has there been any changes in your toddlers life? Has he started a new playgroup or have you moved home? A new sibling in the house is also a strong reason for toddlers to regress but I'm sure you'd have mentioned this. If you can discover the root cause then it's very likely that after things quieten down, he'll return to his potty training just fine.

You could try another approach rather than toys as the treat, have you tried a handful of cheerios or some other healthy alternative or going out for a walk in the park or something that you can do to encourage him and get him back on track.

Don't beat yourself up though - that's the important thing - if need be, back to nappies for a week. You'll soon see your son coming back to you when the nappy becomes uncomfortable for him to wear when it's wet or dirty.

Good luck and hope this post (and the others) help you.

AMJ67 Mon 21-Apr-14 14:07:30

I think that we all parents should stop for a moment and think what we are trying to do. There are (in my opinion) two ways to approach potty training:

Method 1 - Child-led: You sit and wait until your toddler tells you that s/he wants to stop using nappies. In this case you intervene minimally but it might take a long time (up to year 4 even). If the child has a regression and decides to go back to nappies for a little while you can try to discuss it with him/her, but if it is a no-go, put the nappies back for a while and sit and wait again.
This does NOT mean that you have failed as a parent, or that your child is defective or anything. The whole purpose is to follow the child's initiative. Unfortunately because this method is a new one (50 years or so) there are many people over-selling it, telling tall tales of easy potty training that are simply not true and raise expectation too high, thus the excessive parental stress which is actually what the promoters of this method wanted to avoid in the first place!

Method 2- Parent-led: (It can start as early as 6 months). You take command and use all and any method available to achieve the objective. You assume that accidents are normal and it will take as many week/months as it takes. And if you doubt yourself, hesitate, lose confidence, it is likely that it will take longer. The child is taking cues from you. If you are not sure, why should s/he?
This is the old-fashion method that is still used in half the world (and I am not talking of third-world countries only! Most of Eastern Europe use this and that does not make them barbarians or stupid). Using this method will not be more difficult than the other one, not will it traumatize your child or make you a bad parent.

So, if you let the baby take control and there is a regression, you go back to nappies with a smile on your face. If you are the one in control, you fight the regression with more potty training also with a smile in your face.

So, ask yourself who do you want to be in control of this process and act accordingly because mixing up methods can get confusing and lead to feeling of failure and despair for both of you.


Casmama Mon 21-Apr-14 14:14:07

Agree with those saying don't make a battle out of it- go back to nappies and think about trying again in a month or so.

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