Is 2 years old too early to start potty training?

Migmarie - posted on 02/26/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I'm not sure if I should potty train my 2 year old? I don't even know where to begin...he is so high maintenance. He doesn't listen to me at all, he won't even tell me when he poops. I know he is because I can tell when he's going because of the faces he makes when he pushes but once he is done, when I tell him "let's go change you cuz you poopie" he starts running away from me and screams his head off. He hates it when he is asked if he is peepee or poopie. He used to tell us all the time that he either just went or is going peepee and poopie. Is he just not ready for it and if I should get him started, HOW??? He is my first born and I have no experience with this at all. PLEASE HELP?!?!?!

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He's not ready yet. Some kids are ready earlier than others, some take a little more time. The ones who start later tend to train faster than the ones who start earlier, it all balances out.

It sounds like you son may have developed a little bit of a power struggle over the potty issue--he doesn't want to go because he knows you want him to go and this is his one little way of asserting power in his life. That is actually normal and healthy for his age, it's just we don't really want potty training to be the area where they get that independence. Try not saying anything at all to him about potty training, pooping, peeing, etc. for a few months. Also, if possible, since he is resisting changes, try having set times to change his diapers rather than basing it on when he poops, Obviously, there are going to be exceptions when you have to change him right away, but try setting a timer for every hour or every two hours and change him then--if you are close to the timer going off, it is not going to hurt him to wait 15 minutes for a change. That way the changing becomes less about his bowel movements and more about the schedule.

At the same time, start giving him some little moments of control and power to take the focus off of controlling potty training. Offer him 2 choices for meals and let him pick. Let him pick out his clothes (no matter how crazy the outfit looks), give him options for play activities "Would you like to play blocks or color?" or if he is not overwhelmed you can just ask him "What do you want to do?" but most kids his age would be overwhelmed by the options and unable to pick, so suggestions are better. As he gains control over other areas in his life, he will be more willing to give you control over the areas where you need it, such as potty training, or dressing him for special occasions, etc. He should become less defiant in almost all areas of his life, which will make your life much easier.

ETA: Once you've gotten his defiance a little more under control and removed his focus from potty training power struggle, approach potty training again in a positive way--this will be about 6 months down the road from now. Tell him it's okay if he doesn't want to poop in the potty, but if he does, he can have a sticker. Continue with the changing schedule, and eventually he will learn that he likes using the potty on his own, when he feels like going, better than having you change his diaper every hour or so because it will give him an element of control where the timer currently has the control.

(depending on how often your kid goes, you could probably do every 2 hours on the changing schedule, and if it's dry, just re-fasten the diaper so you don't go through tons of diapers. If you go with more than two hours, and he poops an hour in, just speed up your timer so that it dings in about 10 minutes. He does not have enough concept of time at this age to know that you adjusted the timer)

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