we have a 2 year old and we've been trying to do some potty training. She is very interested in using the potty and likes underwear. She also is very aware of when she goes. She'll tell us right after she pees. But that's the problem. How can we get her to tell us before she pees so we can let her sit on the potty?

Also, we tried sitting her on the potty for 5-10 minutes after "typical" pee times, such as when she wakes up in the morning(she wakes up dry). But she never has went in the potty.


4 Answers 4


There is a developmental step involved in understanding the feeling of needing to go and the going. It takes a while for kids to connect the two things AND for them to respond quickly enough. She can't help it and keeping her on the toilet after she has already gone is probably frustrating for all of you and absolutely WILL NOT HELP. Instead, you might try creating a "potty schedule". Go "check" if it is time to go potty every 60-90 minutes. Don't forcer her, invite her. Then while she sits, read a story, sing some songs, play some hand clapping games whatever to make it fun. Do this until she is ready to get up or goes pee. Then go throuh it all again in another 60-90 minutes. This sets her up for success, helps to avoid accidents and keeps it fun and productive for everyone.

The other advantage to being this "scheduled" about it, is that you will really get to know her biological schedule and predict approximately when she is likely to go. This will help you get her to the potty preemtively to "accidents" which will be less frustrating for you and encouraging for her.

Meg Coats also has some great ideas that can be very helpful in speeding up the connection between the before feeling and the act of going.

Other than that, you'll just have to wait for her little nervous system to connect everything.

  • I never came back to this question to accept an answer, but this is actually what we ended up doing and now she's (proudly) been going in the potty for more than 4 months. Even accidents are very rare (and usually small dribbles when she is too focused on playing to go to the bathroom)
    – Earlz
    Nov 4, 2012 at 3:06
  • 1
    congratulations! Nov 4, 2012 at 3:21

It takes some practice for kids to really learn what it feels like to need to use the potty. When we first tried potty training our son, we put him directly into underwear and it was a big flop. We think the underwear just felt too similar to wearing a diaper to him.

So the second time we had a go at potty training, we let him run around naked from the waist down for a long weekend (3 days) at home. He had a few accidents (mostly pee), but seeing the pee run down his leg helped him make the connection between the sensation of needing to pee and actually peeing. We kept the potty in the living room so he wouldn't have to run far if he needed to pee, and every time he got something in the potty we made a big deal about it (we sang, we danced, he got stickers....) even if it was only a little bit and the rest got on the carpet. We kept him plenty hydrated, and asked him very frequently if he needed to potty. If we felt like he hadn't used the potty in awhile, we'd make him sit on the potty for a few minutes either until he went or it was clear he didn't need to use the potty (4-5 minutes or so--we'd read a short book while he sat on the potty). After a few hours of this, he started getting the hang of it and would run to the potty if he had the slightest inkling that he needed to pee.

My husband found this method on the website of a woman who has supposedly potty trained children as young as 1 year old. She recommends that you continue to have your child naked from the waist-down whenever they're at home for 3 months after the initial weekend of training, that you have them use the potty before you leave the house and immediately after you return home so that they get in the habit, etc. We circumvented some of the later suggestions because our son was older and didn't really need the constant reinforcement that younger children need. Within a couple of weeks he was consistently using the potty and we'd only have the random accident (usually when he was so absorbed in what he was doing that he wasn't paying attention), but that more or less too care of itself after a little while, too.

  • Excellent advice. We did the same thing with our daughter to get started using the potty. We have friends who "potty trained" their boys since they were babies -- though at that age it's as much training the parents to notice when the children need to or can go as training the babies. Mar 26, 2012 at 4:12

I was very daunted by potty training. When my son was 2 1/2 he started peeing outside in the summer on the grass so I thought maybe he was ready. When I put him in underwear he cried and complained and peed in them. Not until recently he is 3 yrs. and 4 months did he tell me straight away that he didn't want to wear diapers anymore. We came home one day and he decided to go pee in the toliet (although he actually pooed), and that was that. He's had a few accidents but no more forcing him to wear underpants. I personally feel that a child will respond when they are ready. If you are having any major issues or outbursts I would say they are not ready. If it just revolves around accidents they just need a little bit more training.


We went through the same frustration with our daughter.

She was very interested and enthusiastic about using the potty and for a couple months she would exclaim "I have to go potty!" and she had already gone.

We figure it took a while to learn the signs before she went. Putting on "big girl panties" as well gave her additional incentive to learn faster.

We also wanted to try going cold turkey on the diapers. But it would have been too hard on my wife ;)

You're in the best position now - she wants to learn. You just need a bit of time and to find the magic method that'll work for her.

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