I've read a few of the other posts here regarding the same topic and I've tried the answers that were given. My daughter is four years old and still in pull-ups, using them like diapers. She is willing to sit on the toilet, but quickly gets bored and wants to go play. She has successfully went pee in the toilet before when we caught it just in time, but we just can't seem to get her to stick to it, nor can we get her to tell us when she needs to use the bathroom. We've tried just about everything we can think of with no success.

  • Taking her to the bathroom as soon as she wakes up.
  • Taking her to the bathroom every half hour.
  • Taking her to the bathroom just before bed.
  • Before bath time.
  • After bath time.
  • Swapping pull ups for big girl underwear with all of the above.
  • Taking her to the bathroom when she farts (if it stinks).

I'm seriously ready for her to start using the toilet like a big girl, as pull ups are expensive and she should've been out of them a long time ago. She's very stubborn, and waits until after she goes pee or poop to tell us anything, and often she won't tell us so we are constantly checking to try and catch it early enough to get her to the bathroom.

A big issue is that I work all day and my wife is home with her, and doesn't really try that hard to stick to a consistent schedule, so I'm needing some advice to try and knock this out from a Friday evening to a Monday morning so that she can be using the bathroom like a big girl.

Please help!

  • One thing that's not on your list is rewards or bribery. Have you tried that? Oct 17, 2018 at 2:20
  • 1
    You aren't going to "knock this out" in a weekend. You have to change your wife's attitude about it. That's where the problem seems to lie, based on your last paragraph.
    – user20343
    Oct 18, 2018 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


First off, there is no quick fix that will solve this in a weekend

There are realistically three options available to you, however both require your wife to be fully on board and stick to it during the week.

Option 1: As anongoodnurse commented, Bribery

If every time she uses the potty she gets a treat she will quickly start using it, nothing much something simple will do but it will still take her more than the weekend to accomplish this.

BUT if she already gets treats almost whenever she asks for them, while not doing this then this route will be a lot harder to achieve, so if this is the case you and your wife need to stop handing out treats normally and only do so when she successfully uses the potty. Expect a few temper tantrums when this happens.

Option 2: The Hard Line

I'm well aware the second suggestion below will likely get some parents backs up but it is a valid tactic to use.

When she fills her pullups and tells you so she can be changed as she's uncomfortable, tell her to go to the potty while you get her a new pullup. and let her sit for a SHORT period of time in discomfort and then change the pullup. while doing so tell her that using the potty would stop the discomfort.

Its important you do not change the pullup unless she has gone to the potty. its also important not to leave her too long in discomfort for obvious reasons. its basically a gentle form of punishment

This works for a couple of reasons, she associates being clean downstairs with the toilet, and makes her dislike filling her pullups as she'll know shes going to be uncomfortable for a short time like that. so shes more likely to tell you in advance of filling it rather than after. eventually she'll decide on her own that using the potty once or twice is better then waiting. and once or twice quickly becomes often.

As i said, A lot of parents don't like this harsher style of parenting.

Option 3: A combination of the above

Punish the bad behavior and reward the good behavior. if she doesn't like having to wait for a pullup, and gets a treat when she uses the potty then she will change her behavior fairly quickly, although it is still not going to work in a weekend. maybe a couple of weeks

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