How do I potty train my 3 year old?

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She's in pull-ups, we've tried panties and bribes. Nothing. She rarely even sits on the toilet. Please help


Jasmin Aka Heidi Smith - posted on 05/26/2011




My daughter was almost 4 yrs old (now 10) before I finally convinced her to use the toilet. It took a bribe. I told her if she used the potty instead of her pull-ups she would get a "Panty Party". She was trained within the week. She got her "Panty Party" friends and family all came but had to come with a brand new pack of ''Big Girl Panties''. She loved all the panties she got (Barbie, Dora and so on). She even got a cake with a little girl sitting on a toilet.....I wish I had photos of it............

Shelby - posted on 05/26/2011




I have three children. My first two are quite a bit older than my last one. I don't remember having a hard time potty training my first two but my youngest wants NOTHING to do with it. We let her run around in a dress with no diaper and she peed on the floor right next to the potty. She doesn't seem to have the patience to sit on the potty. She always has something better to do. I have tried bribes but i haven't thought about putting some candy in the bathroom for her to see. I will try that suggestion. She is almost two and a half. I'm tired to buying diapers. We've bought panties for her but that didn't do that trick either so wish me luck and I will do the same for the rest of you all.

Maria Angeles - posted on 05/25/2011




What worked for me was being consistent every hour take child to the bathroom if they need to go or not. I used m&m candy and would give 1 each time they went. I would also take them with me if I had to go then I'd make a big deal if they went saying bye to the pee...and give them the treat, they always looked so proud. I think these are all good incentives, but being consistent was #1.

Layla - posted on 05/26/2011




Hi with 10 yrs experience with under 5's and 2 boys I would say hand on heart pull-ups don't work. They feel the same as nappies, the child has only experience of what to do with a nappy (go to the loo in them!) so either she's ready to potty train or she's not. She might just be "too busy" to take time out of playing to do something as serious as sitting on the toilet and the toilet can be quite a daunting place to start. I trained my 1st son by having the potty in the living room with a water proof sheet under it to protect the carpet so he could watch telly at the same time. I found he was dry immediately (2 and a 1/4) but sneaked off into a corner for a number 2 in his pants for the next 6 months! I bought a whole load of VERY cheap pants so I didn't feel bad about throwing those ones away rather than try and clean them up! I also used stickers to get him to do his number 2's on the potty. Stickers work brilliantly esp if they work towards a goal and a reward. I too think the "panty party" was ingenious! My 2nd son is now just past 2 and a 1/4 and he's nowhere near ready to start he has got better things to do so I will be waiting a bit longer before I try all this with him (he's a different kettle of fish from his brother!!) I also let my 1st run around in just pants and clothes on his top half to save on washing and for ease for him to be independant to get on the potty by himself. Loose jogging bottom from ebay was also a life saver for out and about for a while. Good luck :-)

Megan - posted on 05/25/2011




Everytime I go to the bathroom I brought my little one, also treats help out too! Ask every 20 minutes or so if they have to go to the potty!


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Jennifer - posted on 08/07/2011




I found when i potty trained my daughter that the feeling of the pulls up felt to much like diapers therefor she would constently pee in them.. I stoped using them and started putting her in her underwear, ya she would pee in them, however whenever she would come to me and i saw that she had peed in her underwear i would bring her to her potty sit her on it and tell her that this is wear you daughter never would tell me she had to pee until she had already done it..tryed even bring her every 30mins to 1hr but she would never go and she would sit there for a good 20 mins then she would say all done even though she didn't go..I went out and bought her, her own potty which she still uses today.. My daughter is 3 next month and she's completely potty trained and doesn't wet the bed anymore either... but also bring her with u when ur going to the bathroom and let her no that ur peeing on the big girl potty that should help too, it did with mine and i would appraise her... i never had to give her a treats for her to pee i always used good girl or clap my hands and would say yeah and same when i would go.. i hope this will help...

Sara - posted on 06/02/2011




If you have an android phone you can download the "iGoPotty" app that you can set to tell you when to take your child potty too! :)

Sally - posted on 05/26/2011




I know it's not what you want to hear, but try leaving her alone. Most kids potty train fast and easy if you wait until they are ready. If you push it before they are ready, it becomes a control issue. If she knows how badly you want this she is IN CHARGE. Little kids love being in charge because it almost never happens.
If you do try leaving he alone, you have to mean it. If you fake it for a little while, then go after her again it can cause trust problems.
My daughters didn't even see a potty until they asked for one. I never put them on it unless they asked. They started wearing training pants when they started asking for the potty often enough for diapers to be a pain. My oldest got panties at 2 and was consistently dry by 3. (She did still wet her pants when sick until about 5.) My youngest is almost into training pants at 20 months. Maybe I'm just lucky but the only moms I know who had problems were the ones who picked an age and started "training" their kids instead of letting the kids decide they were ready.
Good luck

Esther - posted on 05/26/2011




I hate the idea of bribing my children to do anything, but rather let them convince themselves they actually want to. I toilet trained my daughter in 3 days, but just saying to her, you're big now, in the day time you wear knickers, and put her her elastic ankled track pants and just let her figure it out. She soon associated the "busting" feeling with getting wet, and *wanted* for herself, to get on the toilet. My mother was totally unimpressed and thought it was a "very messy disgusting way" but 3 days? It didn't go on and on, no arguing, no stress :)
My soon took a bit longer (as they tend to) but was trained in a couple weeks... We had printed toilet paper as a reward if you did two's haha

Davi - posted on 05/26/2011




we do naked time when at home and have little potties in a couple of the rooms so my youngest can go when she needs to. most of the time she makes it! she is only 25 months. My oldest was more around three and a half by the time she was fully trained though and we gave her ugly generic pull ups which she hated and an ultimatum of the ugly pull ups or panties. She eventually went for the panties! Each child is different though so good luck in your potty quest.

Erinn - posted on 05/26/2011




I found that getting my son to use the potty instead of the diaper was to let him run around naked for a while. It started with just a little while after his bath while we combed his hair and brushed his teeth. He had a few accidents, but they were easy to clean up. Then one morning I just let him stay naked for a while. I think he had one oops moment in the livingroom (we have tile floors so, it wasn't a big deal) and then after that he never had a problem between knowing when he needed to go and going in the potty. I think some kids just get so used to the diaper that don't make that mental connection between what they are doing and how to catch the early stage of it.

What got my son into big boy underwear was his love of Wall-E. He had no interest what-so-ever about underwear, and I couldn't blame him really. He'd been wearing the same cloth diapers for quite some time and with the velcro tabs they were really easy for him to put on and take off. When I realized that a couple of the underwears were Wall-E and made a big deal about how cool it would be to wear big boy Wall-E underwear, he took the bait. I think once he got used to the feel of underwear he just didn't care about the diapers so much. (I love the idea of the panty party too, that's really fun.)

I did the bribe thing for him going to the potty too, although I really don't like to use candy as a bribe. Instead I just have him a sticker. He can do with it whatever he likes, and I don't have to give him a bigger prize when he gets a certain number of them. For him the sticker itself was fantastic. He's been potty trained for a while now, but I still keep a pack in the bathroom in case he wants one.

[deleted account]

Thanks for all the help everyone. I love the ideas, especially the panty party, that's so funny.

LovinLifeAsMommynWife - posted on 05/25/2011




This site gave me quite a few tips:

I also bought the "Cheer for Me" Potty by Fisher Price. There were mixed reviews on this potty, but I personally liked it. I would also give my son 2 mini M&M's when he would go potty.

Hope this helps a bit!

Michelle - posted on 05/25/2011




We tried bribery and my husband wanted to use pull ups for a long time. My son decided that he only wanted to potty if he was getting something he wanted and the rest of the time he would go in the pull up ( but telling us when he had to go and when he was going in his pants). It took many months to convince my husband (who really isn't interested in doing any actual potty training himself) but I got my son in underwear and things are finally going well.

Theresa - posted on 05/25/2011




I bought a special candy that my kid really liked but didn't usually get. For my oldest it was Whoppers, for the next one it was Skittles and for my daughter it was M&Ms. Then they only got the candy for going potty. I did it in stages. The first 2 weeks they got 1 for each time they sat on the potty for at least 1 minute. The next 2 weeks it was 3 minutes they had to sit before getting the treat. If they actually went potty during that time they got 3 pieces of candy. After the 4 weeks they had to go potty to get the candy. Everytime they went potty they got 3 pieces of candy until being able to go in the potty was well established. Then I told them that they were big kids now and didn't need the candy to go potty anymore. I warned them that when the candy we had was gone then they were going to be grown up enough to not need the candy any more. If your child still needs incentive after that I would start a sticker system. For example, each day they don't have an accident they get a sticker. After x number of stickers they get some sort of treat. We always kept the candy in a jar of the bathroom counter so the kids could see it when they went potty and knew they would get it after. I also kept some in my purse or diaper bag so we had the treat if they went potty while we were out and about.

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