Help! I'm losing my mind in this process... My 3 year old boy wants to wear pull ups and stays dry most of the time. And tells me, I'm all dry! But, When he sits in the potty... Nothing! I don't think he is connecting the dots and really understands what is supposed to happen... Is he NOT ready? Should I go back to diapers? I feel like I'm wasting his and my time!!! How do I help him "get it"???

  • Hi Jess, welcome! Before doing anything else, please have a read of all those links in the Related sidebar to the right. One or more of them should help you. This question is a duplicate of a few, I think.
    – Rory Alsop
    May 13, 2016 at 12:17
  • You are not alone :) Take a look at those links Rory mentioned. With our 3 yr old boy, we had to make him be naked and not leave the house for almost a week before he finally gave in and started using the toilet. He knew what to do, he was just being stubborn :)
    – Jeff.Clark
    May 13, 2016 at 17:58
  • 1
    have you tried going straight to underwear. Some kids don't understand pullups, they are very much like diapers and they don't know they went.
    – Ida
    May 17, 2016 at 21:18

1 Answer 1


Oh the drama of potty training...I've been in the child care business for over 10 years and have three grown children of my own, and here is my advise;


I get that there are a few families out there that maybe think the pull up thing worked for them, maybe it did because their child was ready, but the only sure way that I've ever seen success without frustration in potty training (that didn't take weeks & months of frustration) is to...

1) Wait till they are ready. 2) Don't start and stop!!! 3) Take the time to stay home, for a week or weekend, and do the job right. This should not been seen as a "last resort". It should be the first thing you do. Yes, I'm telling you to take time off, maybe use a long weekend holiday...what ever works. 4) Pull ups are a rip off.

This is part of having a child. It is not your daycare providers job, the grandparents job or anyone else's job to potty train your child. This idea that you can do it and still go out to dinner, go shopping, visit friends...well it will eventually take but it's going to take weeks of frustration, lots of money invested in pull ups and a great deal of confusion on the part of the child and the parents.

Think about it from your child's point of view...with a pull up, its' still basically a diaper, that they are now told they can't pee in...then there is an adult setting there telling them to pee on demand. How would that make you feel? It's confusing and scary.

The saddest thing I've seen over the last few years are parents trying to get their child trained by a certain age or for the sake of pre-school. If the child is not ready, he just isn't ready. Pushing him is only going to make the experience traumatizing and frustrating for everyone. The children who are "forced" into doing it early also tend to have more public accidents and other bathroom issues.

I'm sure there will be all kinds of people that disagree and have different stories, that's fine. But I've seen what does and doesn't work. And unless you want to spend the next 3-6 months in potty training hell...I suggest you choose a few days or a week to stay home and just do it 100%. There are tons of books and info out there on how to do it.

Best of luck!

  • There is a lot of good info in this answer, but I think it could benefit for starting out less confrontational.
    – Ida
    May 20, 2016 at 22:02
  • True, sorry about that. I'm very passionate about potty training. I feel so bad for all of those little people and parents who have such a rough time. Thanks to for the note :) May 27, 2016 at 14:44

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