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I have been potty training my daughter over the past few days and its not going to well. How can I figure out if she is just not ready for it or I should try other techniques. We came up with a sticker chart to give her motivation and prizes for going but no luck so far.

She is 2 1/2 years old and she seems to comprehend what we are saying but its not triggering when she has to go. Any advice would be great.

What is interesting, she seems to have the pooping part down but for some reason doesn't recognize peeing.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Few days is just too short to draw the conclusions.

I would say — continue to do what your were doing, and:

  1. Make sure she is not wearing a nappy any time she is awake.
  2. Watch for the signs that she is about to pee and help her to sit down on the potty. Initially she wont be willing to sit for longer than a minute - but try to keep her sitting by distracting or entertaining her while she seated.
  3. Even if she did pee already, get her on the potty after that - idea is to establish a mental link between peeing and sitting on her potty ("going to the toilet").
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Use a timer and go every 30 minutes, take your child to the bathroom and sit then on the toilet. It helps them. Also encouragement! Don't focus on the times that there was an accident, focus on the times they used the toilet. Stickers or something special as a reward.

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My husband potty trained our son in a single weekend with only occasional accidents following the next few weeks using this strategy. It was time consuming but well worth the extra effort since I had been trying for several weeks with little progress.

Push liquids all day offering them continuously throughout the day. No diaper or pull ups. Take to the potty every hour. Sit on the potty and read or tell a brief low key story while turning on the faucet to create a relaxing environment. Speak in a soft soothing voice to encourage relaxation of the body and bladder.

Reward child for sitting on potty - not just for peeing in it. The combination of a full bladder, frequent opportunity, relaxation and reward led to success.

Of course, we waited to begin this process until he exhibited signs that he was ready. These included being dry when awake in mornings, alerting us as soon as he wet his diaper and requesting a change.

No matter the outcome, remember, this too shall pass!

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As every single child will be different in their approach to potty training, I am not even sure there is a "right" answer to your question.

A few tips we've used.

  • Just wait. If it's not working, it's not working. There's no golden rule about what age a kid should be trained (if of course it doesn't go above a certain age where other problems might be involved). When we "started", it just didn't work so we let it be for a while, and came back to it every other week or so.
  • Be consistent. Put the potty in a place easy to access, easy for her to remember and to see, so she is reminded. We put the potty in the bathroom at the beginning (near the bathtub) and she ended up using it. When she was trained enough and we went on to nights, we put it by the side of the bed every night for a while, and after some time, checking it in the evening when she had fallen asleep, we found it full.
  • Give her options. We found the "underwear"-type diapers are great for the transition, as they give a sense of security and at the same time work like underwear. The nights were the hardest to get straight and "underwear"-type diapers helped a lot.
  • Ask early, ask often. Without being a bully about it, of course, just ask her if she wants to go. Sometimes, I've found that my going to the toilet and telling her actually triggered her wanting to go as well.
  • Make sure she's comfortable on the potty. Some kids don't like to have people around when they go (my daughter was like that and would ask me to leave) for example. Others on the contrary may want to be entertained. Make sure it's not too low, or too high, or too tight, or too whatever... It should be a relief, not anything distressing.
  • Play it down when it does not work and she does in her pants. Sh** happens, she shouldn't feel like it's the end of the world. However, do give her a sense of responsibility when it happens (like asking her to put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket or something). Rewards (your sticker thing) can work well, I've found sweets (yes, shame on me) to be the best working rewards.
  • Play it by ear. That should actually be my only advice. Just listen to the parent in you and don't worry, it will happen in due time.
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We used the "boot camp" method with our daughter. When she started to show interest in the potty and awareness of when she had to use the bathroom (around 18 months) we took a long weekend and spent 3 days focusing on just this.

We set piddle pads all around our living room, put all of her favorite toys in a large but confined area (about 15 feet x 15 feet), had 2 training pottys, and camped out there all weekend. She wore no pants/diaper/pullup at all during the time.

Day 1 was a disaster. Pee and poop everywhere.

Day 2 was much better, she began to regularly make it to the potty in time.

Day 3 most of the hard work was done. We took her to church in the morning and put a pull up on her, which she soiled, but things went quite well.

She's now 26 months old and is pretty well potty trained. Every once in a while she has an accident, but they're becoming fewer and farer between. She wears regular underwear except when she sleeps, but even then 60-80% of the time the pullup is dry in the morning. We just got tired of having to wash her sheets every other day

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We have been using a clothes free method when we are home. Even underwear are tight around the legs like a diaper, so they don't quite recognize the difference. If you are concerned about your home, like I am, send her outside. Our son loves to run around the backyard and when he wets he looks down and tells us. It might take a couple of intensive days and even then some kiddos just won't do it if Mom and Dad want it too badly because it is something they have power over.

Day 1- Totally clothes free at home. Focus on pottying and nothing else.

Day 2- Totally clothes free at home. Be out of the house with no diaper or underwear- just loose pants. Maybe go for a walk to the park. Try to avoid the car or anything tight around the legs.

Day 3- Totally clothes free at home. Maybe she can wear a t-shirt or some loose pants, but try to let her have as much freedom as possible. Try being out of the house for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Still loose clothing, but no underwear or diaper and try to avoid a car seat.

As the days progress, try to give her as much clothes free time until she really gets the hang of it. It saves on laundry, but it also eliminates the subconscious feeling of having something to catch the "stuff". When she has an "accident" try not to use negative language- just reinforce what you want her to do. "Our pee pee goes in the potty".

Our son is almost 2 1/2 and we have used a sticker chart to set goals and earn rewards. He does really well with that, but given that generally boys take longer to potty train, we are still working on it. We use this method and sometimes he does really well and sometimes he is just too busy. The good news is that kids rarely go to kindergarten still making messes in their pants. They all get it eventually. Good Luck!

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You must live someplace pretty warm -- around here, unless your child happens to be ready for potty training during exactly the right 3 months of the year, going unclothed outside is just Not An Option. –  JPmiaou Oct 22 '12 at 23:19

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