My 2-1/2 yr old son is not listening and refusing to use the potty for training what should I do.

Sue - posted on 02/11/2010 ( 38 moms have responded )

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I have been giving timeouts for behavior issues but don't understand the change is bevaior and potty. He was doing good.

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Ryan - posted on 02/11/2010

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potty training is a battle that the child controls! my son was three before he was potty trained! and he did it when he wanted to. don't ever punish him for not going potty. that will only make him more stubborn! its real easy to get in a power struggle when you are trying to potty train. just be patient. set up a schedule and STICK TO IT. no matter where you are take him potty on that schedule. his body will get used to the rutine, and then it will be easier for him to conrtol it. also, boys bodies don't develope as fast as girls, so they dont' have the ability to control it as soon as girls do. he might still be developing those muscles and the control that goes with them.

Sharon - posted on 02/11/2010

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mayeb he isnt ready yet?? my oldest daughter was nearly 4 when she decided to but i think it was b/c i had a new born at the time. Every child is different, they all want to learn at different times. When he wants to go allow him to. You can try a sticker chart or give 1 or 2 M&Ms each time he goes. With some kids that incentive usually works. Or maybe he doesnt like the "little" potty and may want to go on the big kids potty. Kind of like my 2 yr old. She is training herself. she goes on when she feels like she needs to go on but she climbs up on the big potty b/c she has 2 older sisters. I find it kind of amusing to see her climb on the potty. She knows she has to "poo" after she already has, but when she goes on the potty regardless of what she is doing she is very happy with herself...Give it some time and he will do it!!

Laura - posted on 02/11/2010

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May be time out isn't for him. Every child needs different ways of discipline. What works for one may not work for an other. Also at 2 they are enforcing their will but are still very young in their thinking. Try to figure out what is willful disobedience and what is just being a kid. As far as potty training goes, we are put under to much pressure in this country to have our children "trained" by a certain age. Do you know any adults that aren't potty trained? It will come. I don't know were you live, we live in a remote area and I always wait until summer to start potty training and let my boys go outside naked they get to see what is going on with their bodies. That may not be an option for you but it helped us a lot. One more thought learning to go in the potty is a brain thing not just a "it's time" thing. You have to wait until their brains are ready. Both of my boys had a time in the middle of potty training were they seemed to forget everything. Be patient it will come like I said every grown up on the face of the earth goes in the potty. This stage will pass before you know it. Hope this was helpful and good luck.

Lori - posted on 02/15/2010

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After 1 girl & 3 boys (youngest is currently 3 1/2) I see a lot of good suggestions being made. It is truly about "control" and the child has to want to go. Bribery may work up front but generally stops as soon as you take the treat away (and I've never been big on giving a kid a treat simply for doing something that's in their best interest but that's just me - I've had friends for whom the M & M trick worked wonders). My girl potty trained during a summer (she hated wearing swim diapers at the pool) and was in regular undies by 2. The boys were a different kettle of fish - but all three made the mental "leap" around the age of 3 or shortly thereafter. I tried the pull up routine and found I just wasted a lot of money - they KNOW they can treat them like diapers and not be uncomfortable. They are great for going to places where a restroom isn't easily accessible and at night however. Big boy undies can be a major incentive if you take them shopping and let them pick out the cool character ones they want - buy extras as you'll be washing at least 3 prs per day for the first week :) And summer time can be easier - less clothing and less stress. Remember to use trousers that are easy for them to get up and down - ones with belts, zippers & snaps may look snazzy but are a real terror to a small child. Best of luck - give it time and patience and it'll just happen before you know it.

Ericka - posted on 02/15/2010

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well some people believe that pull ups are not a help with potty training at all and they assure them that they can go potty in their pants and still play. sometimes you just have to put them in underwear so they learn the feeling of when they have to go potty and what actually happens when they have an accident. my daughter was 26 months when she stopped wearing pull ups and wears underwear all day and night. now we do have an occasional accident at night if she has a bad dream but i feel that if you are serious about getting them out of pull ups/diapers it has to be all the time or non of the time (just my personal opinion)

for some the rewards system works personally i feel this can cause more grief or problems than it is worth a good friend of mine did this and it didnt work for her at all. however all kids are different and it might work for yours, every time you child goes potty on the potty give them a treat. I think that it didnt work well for my friend because she waited til her daughter was almost 2 1/2 to start potty training and her daughter always wanted treats and even if she didnt go potty she would expect a treat.

i found that having a potty watch/timer on hand or just keep an eye on the time and every hour or so have your child sit on the potty and try to go. if they dont go that is ok but they have to try. if they dont try there are consequences (time out) until they try. again it can be controversial because many doctors say "do not punish for an accident, not going on the potty, etc" i feel that if the punishment is for disobedience it works better. like i said it is ok for them to not go potty and all they have to do is try to go for 3-5 mins cause it takes more than 30 seconds for them to start going sometimes. whether they go or not when it is time again you get them on the potty. this is one that i feel works best if you have your child in underwear cause they understand what happens if you dont go on the potty but does work if your child is in pull ups too.

whatever method you try you have to stick with for a few months and both you and your husband need to be consistent in order for it to work. good luck!

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Maria - posted on 02/15/2010

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we have to WAIT unfortunately, until HE is ready...dont force your son he'll end up having a bad expeirence n it'll take longer to be potty trained later. -meNmy4kids

Lori - posted on 02/15/2010

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Oh, and for whatever reason none of mine liked the potty chairs - I think they just wanted to be "grown up" and sometimes that means they have to be physically big enough to use the big toilet (step stools and the inserts that just sit on top of the adult seat are big helps).

[deleted account]

I would not worry about it. We tried to make both of my son's potty train, because the doctor said that it was time. Making them does not work if they are not ready. When my son's were ready to potty train they both came up to me and said that they wanted to use the big potty. My youngest son was about 3 when he decided that it was time. Just hang in there it will come soon enough.

Beth - posted on 02/15/2010

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My son was doing ok at about 2, then hed decided he didn't want to any more...so I just figured I wasn't going to push him...he would figure it out when he was ready. But I was planning on putting him in preschool when he turned 3 and he had to be fully potty trained w/o accidents, I was a little worried he wouldn't make it. He was turning 3 in Aug and started school in Sep. We had to go away for a weekend in July for a wedding..it was a 2 hr car trip, so I decided this was the time to break him we left our house that wed with no diapers...he was even wearing underwear. (I never left the house like this, ever.) needless to say he had one accident that weekend, and a couple of since (just because he couldn't get his pants off fast enough)...I just think he was just ready and I would tell him big boys that get to go to school could not wear diapers.He was supper excited about going to school like his cousins..and he was old enough to get it. I think you just need to give him a reason..Good luck I know it is hard I am in the process with child number 2, not because I am ready for him, but because he thinks he is ready!

Maria - posted on 02/14/2010

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Kids this age will do well for a while and then regress. It's all a part of their ability to concentrate on learning only so many things at a time. He'll get back with it. Don't punish him for not using the potty, but give him plenty of incentives to do so (try to use incentives that appeal to his own sense of self-worth, like how great it feels to be a big boy and use the potty).

Lesley - posted on 02/14/2010

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i know it's hard,but let your child potty train when they r ready,because if your child know's your getting upset,they just might keep doing it,or make it fun and positive for them

Jessica - posted on 02/13/2010

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Boys take longer than girls to train. I have one of each and worked in child care for 11 years. My son was 3 1/2 and my daughter was 21 months old when they were trained. Buy them a special book about potty training. We bought the Elmo one that has the buttons they can push and make noises. Leave the book in the bathroom. The only time they get to look at that book is if they are sitting on the potty. This gives them an incentive to go to the bathroom. When they do something in the potty we would give them 1 m&m for pee pee and 2 for poop. Plus you can easily take the m&m's with you if you go out. Also I don't recommend pull ups or diapers when you start potty training they both keep them dry. I always put them both in underwear and panties. It means a few extra loads of laundry a week at first but they get tired of the wet feeling faster this way. Boys you can put the cheerios or fruit loops in the potty and have them aim for them. Make sure you take them potty right before you lay them down to go to sleep. Don't give them anything to drink an hour before bed either. When they wake up immediately go and sit them on the potty. I hope this helps.

Cassie - posted on 02/13/2010

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My son took forever to get totally trained but, the thing I did that worked for him is I took him to look at trains and then he told me which one he really wanted and I said if he didn't have any accidents for a whole day or something like that - that we would go back and get it. And, it worked! But, I really wouldn't worry if he isn't fully potty trained yet. My son was not totally potty trained by 3. He was by 4 though. And I was happy. Each child is so different. My daughter caught on right away and I didn't have any trouble with her at all! Hope that helps! Hang in there I know it's tough. But, it will be over before you know it!

Kari - posted on 02/13/2010

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I have not read all of the other posts so if this is repetative, just ignore:) Most boys potty train later than girls. Also, I noticed in your profile picture that you also have a younger girl . . . sometimes the child who learning to potty train may regress if their is a younger sibling who is receiving attention to get his/her diaper changed. Obviously, you can't ignore this diaper changing responsibility but at least it may provide some insight as to why your son was doing good but has regressed. Never punish a child for potty training issues . . . this gives them the attention they want, just in a negative way. Try making going potty fun, find rewards that work for him, read while he is on the potty. One other thing you might try is getting him to partner with you to show the younger sibling how to go on the potty. This will allow him to feel helpful and pleasing to you:) If it is any consolation, my boy (who is now 7) didn't potty train until he was 3 and one month . . . I had heard mom after mom tell me that, one day, he will just wake up and "get it". I didn't believe them (because I had my own time schedule in my mind) and, believe it or not, that is exactly how it happened!! Good luck!

[deleted account]

Hi regarding the potty issue i have three boys with two of them they were trained at two and a half but with my youngest it was at 18 months. I found the best way is bribery put pants on your son and dont go back to nappies if you go out or anything. Every time they go on the potty let him have a little sweet or some other treat he loves. Worked with all my boys, where i live they start school at three so they have to be toilet trained by then.

Paula - posted on 02/13/2010

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I have girls - but my friends with boys have all had to potty train later than I did. I suspect he's just not ready and what the problem with that? Both my girls started nursery at 21/2 and most of the kids were still wearing nappies. In fact when they started school (at 4) the teacher asked if they were toilet trained yet - stating that a fair number of kids weren't at that age!!

Rebecca - posted on 02/13/2010

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I reccomend that you buy the book "Have a new kid by Friday" Excellent! It works for all kinds of issues! Rebecca

Kasey - posted on 02/13/2010

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babys r us has these target pelets that are in a variety of color and shapes that desolve when put in the water boys in target practice what could get be better for them?

Debbie - posted on 02/12/2010

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my 2 year old refused to use the potty, so we asked him does he want to use the big boys toilet instead, and sure enough thats what he wanted. he never used the potty at all, and now six months later he has started to pee like a man(standing) all by himself. so try the big toilet instead. and when he goes make a big song and dance about it.

Cyndi - posted on 02/12/2010

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Don't do anything! They say when a child is ready he will do it. I even asked the doctor about it and he said, have you ever seen a grade school child in diapers?? They will do it when they choose and not a moment sooner no matter how much you insist and push! I have found that that is so true. My twin boys (now 3 1/4) went through the same thing. They started using the potty then just lost interest and when I would ask them to go they would so "NO, I don't want to!!!" It was making me so crazy knowing that they were doing so well then just stopped and wouldn't do it anymore. Then one day we were at the store shopping for items for vacation and they saw a pack of big boy underwear with Super Hero Squad on them and they said that they wanted them, so I told them that I would buy them if they promise to go pee pee in the potty ALL THE TIME, they said they would. And two weeks later our vacation was diaper and pull up free (except night time) That was in November now just a few short months later they don't even need a pull up at night!!! Just let them decide on their own and it will much less stressful for you and them!!! Good luck and try not to sweat it, IT WILL HAPPEN!!!!!!!

AlDica - posted on 02/12/2010

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I'm a mother of 5. With a few they were doing so good. And then they just stopped. You can try the pee pee games or just let it be. He will find his way back with no problem. Sometimes a step back and let him chose to do it is the best. It will just drive you crazy if he just isn't ready.I have potty trained more then 20 kids now and it always seems to come in there own time. Good luck.

Pamela - posted on 02/12/2010

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Do not force the issue, what I did was put the potty in the living room where my children were comfortable and let them sit in it and read a book first or watched their favorite show. That helped as they didn't pay much attention to sitting because they were watching their favorite shows. Also I rewarded them with 1 m&m for #1 and 2 for # 2, they got to pick what colors they wanted, after a while I put the toilet in the bathroom telling them they are big people and big people close the door for privacy. Then I slowly changed the reward to stickers in a sticker book while they sat on the potty and they put them in themselves. This is what I did with all 3, 1 girl and 2 boys. Hope it works for you too. Good luck.

Alexandra - posted on 02/12/2010

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my little boy is potty trained but it was really frustrating the begining of 1 week he 'll go to the potty next week he 'll refuse and his pediatrician told me it was just to get some more attention so I start to give him little stickers every time he went to the potty and so far it is working but it had been just a month I'm Crossing my fingers that he 'll continue going to the potty!

Vanessa Dawn Essence - posted on 02/11/2010

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GOOD LUCK SUE...AND WHEN YOU GET FRUSTRATED...GO TO THE COMPUTER AND READ THE SUGGESTIONS...AND YOU SHOULD CALM DOWN...NIGHT!!!!VANESSA.DAWN.ESSENCE.HALL!!!

Vanessa Dawn Essence - posted on 02/11/2010

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I LIKE THE GUMMY BEARS IN THE BATHROOM...ITS SUTLE AND ITS ON THE MONEY IT WORKS FOR GIRLS!!JUST LIKE RUNNING THE WATER FROM THE SINK MAKES THEM GO POTTY TOO!!!VANESSA.DAWN.ESSENCE.HALL

Vanessa Dawn Essence - posted on 02/11/2010

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ALTHOUGH...BEHAVIOR IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT...DON'T FORGET TO CONCENTRATE ON THE POTTY...YOU SAID IT YOURSELF...HE WAS DOING GOOD...WHATEVER YOU WERE DOING TO ENCOURAGE THAT GOOD RESPONSE...TRY THAT!!!VANESSA.DAWN.ESSENCE.HALL.LATA!!!

Vanessa Dawn Essence - posted on 02/11/2010

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EVENING MOMS!!!...HOW ARE YOU LADIES DOING? THE KNOWLEDGE I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE REGARDING POTTY TRAINING!!!CHILDREN SHOULD BE OUT OF PAMPERS, PULL-UPS(SAME THING) BETWEEN THE AGES OF ONE AND TWO...PASSED THAT...ITS A PROBLEM!!!AS SOME ARE EXPERIENCING.

Sue - posted on 02/11/2010

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Thank you everyone fro the great advice on potty training. I have been doing the awards things and even stickers. I praise him when he goes. But there are the days he protests. I will try some of your ideas and let you know how it goes.

Amy - posted on 02/11/2010

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My step-daugher is 2, she'll be 3 in April and was behaving the same way with her mommy at home. She would actually fight with her and stiff'n her body as to not have to sit on the potty. She would pee in her underwear and simply seem not to care at all. Odd thing was that when she came over here she did not behave like that. We're still baffled as to the inner workings of the child's mind. Regardless, her behavior at home went on like this for at least 6 months until just recently she seems to be going to the potty like she's supposed to at home. A few things I've considered as to her not wanting to potty at home is because her mom would frequently put a pull-up on her in the mornings to send her to school. Going back and forth from underwear to pull-ups can be challenging for a child to understand. She may have simply thought that because her mommy put her in pull-ups then it meant it was okay to tee-tee whenever and she didn't have to go to the potty. We still put a pull-up on her at bedtime but we do explain to her that it's not an excuse to potty in it... I think for the past month she's been doing very well here and at her mommy's house. Consistency may seem to be the key here. He may just not be ready yet even though you are. If you can give it a break for a month, maybe you can try again later.

Vanessa Dawn Essence - posted on 02/11/2010

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HELLO.I.AM.VANESSA.DAWN.ESSENCE.HALL.AND I FEEL.THAT.YOU SHOULD SHOW YOUR 21/2 YEARS OLD.BEING OLDER IS WISER.SUGGESTION: ALLOW YOUR 21/2 YR OLD SON THE PLEASURE OF NOT USING THE POTTY AND SEE HOW HE REACT TO THE SPELLY WATER ON HIS CLOTHES AND SKIN AND SPELLY YOU KNOW WHAT ON HIS BEHIND. AND AFTER THAT MONITOR IF HE WILL START GOING TO USE THE POTTY.THE.RIGHT.WAY!!!

Yesenia - posted on 02/11/2010

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I put a container of gummies on the bathroom counter and my daughter was only allowed to have one when she used the potty. It worked wonders. Make sure to get the 100% fruit juice gummies so that they are healthy instead of packed with sugar. Hope this helps good luck :)

Penelope - posted on 02/11/2010

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I don't know if it's too late to try this but this is what I did. When my now 11 year old was one and a half, I noticed that she would wake in the morning after I had put her in a clean diaper before bed with the diaper dry. She was sleeping through the night without peeing. Then shortly after she woke up, she'd fill that diaper up after holding it all night. I told my mom, and she said, "You should get her a little potty." I thought she was too young, but I did. Here's the idea I had. As soon as she woke up I took her in the bathroom with me and we both sat across from each other, her on her potty and me on the toilet. I figured that she would start peeing when she heard the sound of me peeing. It worked! She started to pee. I was so excited that it had worked that I said "yay" loudly and started clapping. My daughter was barely awake, I startled her, her whole body jerked, she stopped peeing and I felt awful for startling her. The point is, maybe you could get his father to show him how men go to the bathroom and make a fuss when he goes to the bathroom like a man. I remember hearing from a doctor that boys are harder to potty train partly because it feels good to them to be wiped and cleaned when they have their diaper changed. I know that no mother is trying to do that, but it is what it is. The point was that you have to find a way to make them want to potty train over having diapers. Have you tried the clear jar full of M and M's set in the bathroom where they can see it, but can't reach it? They get an M and M every time they use the potty by themselves?

Jessica - posted on 02/11/2010

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I dont have a son, but my brothers do and they said that they made a game out of it and it worked for them.They use to put fruitloops or cherrios whatever cerel they had in the toliet and told their son to aim for the cereal. Makes me chuckle everytime i hear about it, but hey whatever works right?

Lyndsey - posted on 02/11/2010

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my sisters little boy is almost 4years old and within the past few months just started potty training and actually wanting to do it. she started trying with him when he was about 2 and never gave up and she was very worried he didnt want to do it. so she asked his doctor and read a few potty training books and he was just letting her know he wasnt ready to do it yet. the doctor said dont worry and they will let you know when they are ready to potty train. dont stop trying, but dont get up set if they dont get it right away. and put something small in the potty (like a fruit loop) and tell them to point and aim, they'll get it when they are ready. hopes this helps a bit.

Monica - posted on 02/11/2010

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do u make a fun encouraging game of it?? does he get rewards and praise if he tries and/or does something in the potty?? does he know it would make him a big boy? has he gotten wet without a diaper and seen why he should make sure to go in the toilet? he can have a sticker chart that he gets stickers on it whenever he tries, and an even bigger sticker when he does something, or even a treat like a lolypop or cookie... never punish for not trying, but try to make it FUN!! read to him while he's on the potty to distract him, or make up a super funny potty song!! does he see u going?? they love to imitate!! maybe he would rather have a seat on the big toilet??
good luck!!!

Amber - posted on 02/11/2010

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I am having the exact same problem with my son, who will be three next month. WHAT DO WE DO???

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