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Should I attempt toilet training again- ADVICE APPRECIATED!

(18 Posts)
KatW84 Mon 30-Mar-20 08:51:00

Hi Mummies,

Apologies this is so long-winded but I'm hoping some of you will have some advice for me re. my daughter's readiness for toilet training. She's 2yrs, 9m, bright little girl, on track with her development, goes to nursery once a week and joins their little toilet training group.

My husband and I are planners and put lots of thought into it, read around the topic, spoke to Health Visitor etc. From 18mths we had a potty available to get her used to the idea, moved this into the bathrooms and tried to use lots of language around going to the toilet etc. I did lots of reading around readiness cues and spoke with the health visitor. Bought a potty and toilet 'seats/boosters' for each toilet, plus steps. She was always interested in sitting on the potty, hiding when she had poos, holding in wees for long periods of time and could occasionally tell us when she'd been (although hit and miss). So went for it first attempt....

At 24mths I gave toilet training a try. Got a reward chart ready stickers and a (teeny tiny) piece of choc if she went on the toilet. We went out and picked big girl knickers, which she chose herself and was proud of. We did 3 days with maybe 6 successful wees and LOTS of accidents. I was encouraging her to sit on the potty/ toilet every 20-30 mins. Offered loads of praise when she did manage to do wees. It was almost accidental though, like she didn't quite make the connection but did a wee by fluke. Then we got to day 4 and she refused to sit on the potty point blank, crying, screaming and getting distressed. I was in a dilemma as I didn't want to confuse her by stopping and I don't like to go into things half-heartedly, however on advice from the Health Visitor we agreed this was her telling me she wasn't quite ready. They suggested I try again in a few weeks....

So we were due to fly on holiday two months later and I thought it would be unfair to try to toilet training until after that hol. Then it was winter and several more months passed. During that time I did a lot of talking to other Mum who insisted that (from their experience) when they're ready you'll know and it'll be so much easier to train them, not to put pressure on, follow her cues etc. I also had a lounge carpet starting to stink of wee and decided I wasn't going to try toilet training again until I was sure she was ready.

We've had the odd glimmer of hope. She's still interested on sitting on the toilet (not so much the potty anymore) and will ask to do this roughly once a week. She never really does anything on there though but I still offer loads of praise and remind her its for doing wees and poos. On one occasion she woke in the morning with a dry nappy, so I sat her on the toilet and she was 'willingly' there for about 20 mins reading a book and finally did a wee. I offered her the option of knickers which she was keen to wear (put under a nappy as we had to go out) and offered lots of encouragement about letting Mummy know when she needs the toilet and she did lots of accidents that day (we basically went through a whole pack of knickers that day), so still didn't seem to make the connection.

Yesterday she randomly asked to sit on the toilet , which was great, although didn't do anything. She also asked to wear her knickers- put some on her and thought 'go for it'. Heaps of encouragement to go on the toilet, reminding her that we don't do our wees or poos in big girl knickers. Left her for 2 seconds and she'd had an accident, almost waiting until I was gone and not able to spot her pooing and intervene.

...So here we are at 2yrs, 9m and I still don't feel she's strongly showing me she's ready. She will gladly sit around in a wet or soiled nappy, to the point where she'll sometimes run off when I try to disrupt her play to change it. On the other hand has a steel bladder, can tell you she's been if asked sometimes, and isn't adverse to sitting on the toilet. .....

And this is my dilemma, I don't know whether I'm too focused on looking for signs due to the confidence knock from the first unsuccessful attempt, or whether I just need to go for it as she's fast approaching 3??!! I know 100% I shouldn't compare and they all develop at different rates, but it's hard when all other children around her her age (and younger) are toilet trained and have been for some time. Her little baby bestie was trained problem-free at 22mnths. Two of the mums from her ballet group said their child wasn't even 2, showed no signs of readiness at all and just went for it, and it worked! People (usually older generation) are often surprised when I say she's not toilet trained. She looks older than her age and has good speech do I guess it surprises people.

I fluctuate between thinking 'do you know what, she'll signal when she's ready, she'll get there', with worrying and feeling like an inadequate Mum! Silly I know.

Now we are in corona lockdown and it's starting to get warmer I'm considering this more seriously again. Any thoughts from you ladies who are going through/have been through similar, and your experiences would be greatly appreciated :D

OP’s posts: |
Selfsettling3 Wed 01-Apr-20 07:45:48

Read the oh crap book first. Taking children to the toilet every 30 mins just teaches them to wee on demand rather than learn to recognise when they need to wee and learn how to control their bladder.

Which signs of readiness are you looking for?

NemophilistRebel Wed 01-Apr-20 07:49:56

I’m in similar position with my 2.9 month old and he’s a potty refuser now after being excited initially at 24 months

Doesn’t seem to be any signs now for me

KatnissK Wed 01-Apr-20 08:22:52

I have a 2y9m son who is exactly the same. We've been trying since his 2nd birthday when he was holding giving the impression he was ready, then initial crying/distress when we tried to potty train, no real signs of readiness in terms of asking to go. During lockdown I have managed to break the upset around the potty - talk about it loads, got him to sit on it fully clothed then moved to nappy off, count to 10 and then a button as a reward. He did accidentally do two wees in it but unless I suggest it he doesn't use it, will still have days refusing to go on it at's a nightmare! He chose pants ages ago but won't wear them although he does talk about them/play with them by putting them on his toys. We read books about potty training and he seems to understand but just doesn't apply it to himself. I asked HV for help and she just said he doesn't sound ready and not to force it but as you point out, people and nursery seem to expect by 3 that they will be potty trained. I don't know the answer but if you find out please post it here!!

Selfsettling3 Wed 01-Apr-20 08:24:26

Signs of readiness include being able to pull trousers up and down, understand the difference between wet and dry hands, being able to sit still for 5 mins and being able to communicate either by speech or sign.

KatW84 Wed 01-Apr-20 19:33:06

Selfsettling3- thank you for your reply. That book sounds good- I'll invest in a copy!

I guess the signs of readiness I was expecting to maybe see (to tie in with when parents say 'when you're ready they'll let you know') would be;
1) telling me clearly when she's done a wee or a poo
2) being bothered by the sensation of having a heavy wee/ poo in her nappy (not trying to run off when I suggest changing a poopy nappy)
3) when she asks to sit on the toilet making the link and actually doing a wee, instead of wanting to sit on there for the novelty/ or to mess around

OP’s posts: |
KatW84 Wed 01-Apr-20 19:34:21

NemophilistRebel- perhaps ours just aren't quite ready. My daughter has also shown interest in phases, wanting to sit on the potty or toilet frequently and then losing interest

OP’s posts: |
KatW84 Wed 01-Apr-20 19:36:42

KatnissK- I feel your pain, stressful isn't it. Sounds like you've done a really good job of building his confidence and motivation back up with the potty though. Hopefully you'll get some tips/ reassurance from the feedback on this thread too (smile)

OP’s posts: |
KatW84 Wed 01-Apr-20 19:40:37

Selfsettling3- re the tips my daughter can do all of those things. She may get a tad stuck with knickers/trousers pulling them up and down (and being able to sit still for 5 mins is rare and totally depending on mood- like a lot of children her age!) but apart from that she can do all of those. It's more being sure it's the right time, as I don't feel she's is much closer than when we last tried at 24mnths, or that she is showing me massively stronger signs, but I'm not sure if by not 'going for it' I'm holding her back and holding out for signs that may not even appear.

A very laid back friend (and Mother of 4) told me her eldest was well into her third year when she was ready and she just turned round one day and said 'I don't want to wear nappies anymore, I want to wear knickers' and apparently had virtually no accidents. I don't know if I'll get a sign that strong but her advice was hold out until they show you! Hmm not sure haha

OP’s posts: |
neenaj Thu 16-Apr-20 13:35:29

I could have written this!! ☹️ every single sentence!
Yesterday i broke down after reading someone saying this is lazy parenting ☹️ i gave up after trying everything for 22 days and he had one dry day and that too us prompting and getting him to the potty. I also have a 3m old so it wasnt doing any good! He is now 3.1yrs old and im getting desperate.. i feel i failed him
I have one more thing to try and thats trsining pants i gor from amazon. I couldnt bring myself to put it on him for fear of disappointment but I will give it a try in a weeks time. We have taken a months break now

KatW84 Sat 18-Apr-20 13:43:20

neenaj- thank you for your message, so reassuring to know you're not 'alone', and sorry to hear your struggles and that you're feeling like a failure. I can totally empathise, although I know you're totally not a failure and the fact that you're writing on this post and you've put all the thought and prep in/ tried so hard means you're a fab Mummy who really cares. There's always going to be people out there who breezed it early doors and love to tell their story. They were lucky, the timing worked etc. They're child was just 'ready early'.

Your son is only 3.1yrs, so has plenty of time and your child not quite being ready yet is in no way lazy parenting. It does annoy me when some people hang on to the old fashioned notion that they should be potty trained so early!

So our situation has moved on since I posted my initial post- I've read this book 'Potty Training Magic' by Amanda Jenner-

This gave me some confidence in approaching the potty training and knowing my daughter is 90% ready. We planned to start in a week or so when I had a stretch of 5 days off work (plus the fact we're in lockdown and it's warmer seemed good timing). However, Monday night she randomly told me and my husband that she wanted to do a wee on the potty- we fetched the potty- and she did just that. It was TOTALLY out of the blue, no prompts or anything, so we decided to start potty training the next day. I was somewhat wary but my husband was keen to strike while the iron's hot, so to speak (I was so wary I would've held off if my husband hadn't pushed to start).

My daughter is now on day 5 and getting on really well, getting there gradually. Day 2 I really did doubt if we'd progress and then day 3 she made a real leap. Only one wee so far today, but no accidents, so must've peed in her nappy last thing before waking up. Taking each day as it comes! I hope this is reassurance rather than another parent 'rubbing it in' so to speak- still early days for us, but it's gone better than expected and her ability to poo came much quicker than I expected.

You've seen my original message so it's proof that it can shift and work. However, I don't want to jinx anything, it's early days but I'm going to persist with this approach and keep everything crossed.

Your break for a month is a really good idea. Amanda does say in her book that if you've tried consistently for a good 2 weeks and the child is still having lots of accidents/ not showing any interest/ not getting it, then it's a signal to delay for another month or two. Which is exactly what you're doing. That bit gave me confidence as I then knew what to look out for if I was trying on and on and actually she wasn't ready which is why it wasn't successful. I would suggest to start again with an exciting new reward system and see how you get on. I personally found the book helpful as it sets everything out nicely, easy to digest, clear, and gave me confidence in how to approach things.

Most of all know you're not on your own at all, your son isn't late (not early but defo not late), you are NOT failing, and go easy on yourself as I you have double the children to manage that I have right now x

OP’s posts: |
rhowton Sat 18-Apr-20 13:46:34

Children will be ready when they are ready. You can only try. If it doesn't happen. Try in a months time. We tried at the start of January but she wasn't ready. Tried at the start of Feb and she was. She has only just started to consistently poo in the potty though. Sometimes it's perseverance. Sometimes it's know it's not the right time and changing direction for a while.

neenaj Wed 22-Apr-20 01:06:54

Thank you so much for your reply and reassurance! It feels good that there is someone out there who understandssmile
My husband said the same thing that its def NOT lazy parenting "more like a lazy child 🙈" oh well!
Anyway, we havent started again yet and I have been watching him seeing how he responds to his needs and its help me understand some things. I realised that
1. my son likes to be in control and would only come to the potty if I notice his signs BEFORE he goes in his nappy/pants.
2. He still clearly communicates his signs to poo and i am confident he is fine with pooing in the potty just the wee is not there yet!
3. One month gone since last training and his vocabulary improved and now he communicates better so I think its helping him understand the process more.
4. Hubby pointed this out- my son from his birth has been reaching his milestones towards the end, stretching to the last point so i am guessing we'll get there soon 🤷🏽‍♀️ i dont know of it has anything to do with him being premature (5 weeks) i thought prematurity worn off after 1 yr but not sure

I would have probably had him trained easily if I didn't have a baby to look after too as his accidents happen when i get up to feed her or change her so theres no consistency. Also there might be a shift because of a new sibling- but we got past this or so I thought- I started only when I felt he's comfortable with baby sister!

Sorry for the long post 😘 so I havent started training him again. I thought i'll back off, give him space, talk to him about potty rather than reminding him of potty every 15 min 🙈

Congratulations your little girl is on her way to dry pants and by this time I hope you've made it to other other end of the tunnel?😃 I feel much positive reading your story 😊 and hope he'll get there soon!

Thank you!

neenaj Wed 22-Apr-20 01:08:35

Rhowton, I know what you mean! They change soo much in a month's time and ive noticed my son is communicating better with regards to potty than a month before! It really does help to wait!


UKWoman Thu 23-Apr-20 03:52:35

I think they're all just ready when they are, my first girl was around 18 months & pretty much taught herself. My younger daughter is 2.5 yrs & has no interest. I tried a couple of months ago & she wouldn't go near the potty, she doesn't seem to care. I gave up & will try again in a few months.
You don't hear of many teenagers still in nappies; I know it can be frustrating but wouldn't worry - it just happens when the time is right.

regalmama Mon 08-Jun-20 14:56:49

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Shelley54 Mon 08-Jun-20 15:01:06

DS1 was 3.11 when trained. He got it after day one and rarely has accidents. We'd been over excited at the beginning, buying all the potties etc before he was 2. It just took a bit longer. But you know what? He trained brilliantly when he did it, and by the time they're 12 no one cares how old they were when potty trained.

kmoreilly Sat 13-Jun-20 01:04:02

People, forget about the age - it is not a competition. Are you trying to get your child beat your toilet training age? Do you even know what age you were toilet trained? Are you competing with an elder child / cousin etc - STOP. All this competition does is cause unneeded stress, and slow down the process.

The Signs of Readiness
1. Having the dexterity and the interest to be able to get to a potty, remove underwear, etc.
2. Being aware of their need before they wet and/or poo their nappy.
3. Telling you of their need before they void.
4. Telling you that they need to get the recently voided in nappy changed.
5. Waking up from nap / sleep dry and clean.

This is all about them being able to recognize the signs that they need to void, and also being aware of the effect from wetting / soiling their nappy. It is also about them getting used to holding it - it allows the bladder to stretch and not trigger them too early. It also allows them to sleep and not overfill their bladder, which needs the control of vaspressin production.

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