Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | November 10, 2009

potty training frustration

Like most parents of two year olds, we have been waiting, most impatiently, for the day to come when we could finally say goodbye to diapers. We’re at 33 months now and it seems like being potty trained is still a million years away.

At one point, we though that we wouldn’t have too much of a problem – the munchkin was waking up from naps and nighttime sleep with a dry diaper at an early age. She was also at in-home daycare with a group of older girls and wanted to be like them so she would regularly go in the potty. I was reminded earlier today that there were many days where she would only use one diaper. Then we started to get the house ready to be put on the market (aka packing up everything) and faced some really huge stressors as a family and she took a big step backwards, even stuttering for a short time. So we backed off and didn’t even consider trying to potty train until we moved. It was always there if she wanted it, but in the background.

When we moved to NC, she happily and easily transitioned to a big girl bed. She also got a much bigger bathroom that was all hers. So we tried to just put the potty seat out for her so she could get used to it. We were using the padded ring on the big toilet with stairs that were always there. But she didn’t really want to use it. She started daycare again six weeks after we moved here, and after a week, her teacher asked me to bring pull-ups because she was asking to go potty and it was easier for them that way. Looking back, I wish that I hadn’t done it, but I was thrilled that she was going regularly and I said okay.

She continued to do a great job at daycare and lousy at home. Then I pulled out a different potty chair, the kind that sits on the floor, and all of a sudden she started to use it. She wasn’t completely consistent, but it did seem like she was trying. Then all of a sudden it stopped. Whatever hope was there, gone. Not only did she stop going at home, but she stopped going at school.

So I decided to try another route. Someone at school mentioned waterproof covers to go over actual underwear because part of the problem with pull-ups is that they are glorified diapers. The munchkin will ignore a wet diaper if she’s too occupied with something else. Apparently, that’s exactly what I was like at her age. Thanks mom, but that doesn’t make this any easier.

Here’s the killer. I know that potty training is not something that you should push. It’s supposed to be that when your child is ready, they are ready. But our current parental/societal environment pushes potty training earlier than it used to be. I recently read in parents magazine that the average age for girls to be potty trained is 35 months and for boys was maybe 39 months, yet these days everyone pushes for potty-training by 2 1/2. Times aren’t what they were when I was being potty-trained. The two biggest differences and two huge obstacles for us are 1) pull-ups, the evil glorified diaper and 2) daycare.

The issue with day-care is that no program around here will allow a child to be in the three year old room if they aren’t potty trained. I actually think that we are getting a touch of pressure from the munchkin’s daycare program because she is ready to be in the three year old room in every way except potty training. I’m not being a biased parent, but she is a smart little girl. She’s actually so smart that I think she is playing games with us regarding potty training. Today I tried moving to cloth training pants as part of a new regime to get her to feel wet. We went through 3 of them in half a day. Actually, she peed in one pair maybe 5 minutes after I had changed her. She is at least getting the feeling of being wet, but ugh. I figured that we would “make” her sit on the potty every 2 hours regardless of if she felt she had to go or not. It worked for one time and then the second time, she went at about an hour and a half. So then, I decided I would turn on a timer and have her sit every half hour, I even showed her the timer and explained what I was doing. Unfortunately, she had just started eating when the timer went off, and I figured we could wait a few minutes to let her eat. At this point, I had wisely moved her back to pull-ups. So I gave her a much needed bath and read our bedtime books. She normally pees right after the second book but before she actually gets out of bed. I tried to cut her off and brought her to the potty with her second book. Nope, she had already peed. No child should be peeing this frequently! Even her urologist father thinks it’s crazy. I think she’s playing us.

It isn’t supposed to be this hard. I’m just ready for it to be done.



  1. Maybe you could try a chart with stars when she is successful at going in the potty. Or when she wants to do something the older girls do, you could say that she can’t because only big girls who go in the potty can do whatever it is.
    I know it’s hard and frustrating, but she’s had a few stressful months, too. When is she supposed to make the transition into the older group? In February when she turns 3? If that’s the case, you still have 3 months.

  2. So hello again you are right on track with what you are doing. Your Mom has some good ideas give them a try it wad what I was going to say. Judy is not voiding 100 percent because her body is under stress to comply. Judy may even be understress at preschool because they want to move her on. All in all I think if you try giving her goals she wants by her birthday she will be fine. Note I would not use moving on to the next grade as a reward. It maybe the very thing she is stressing about. Keepe posted and I will keepy fingers crossed

  3. thank you thank you. I definitely don’t want her to be under stress. We’ve started the star reward system, we’ll see how it works out. As I said to another friend who responded to me via email, I never thought it would be easy and I’m trying to make it fun for her again. I never imagined that it was stressing her out, although it makes sense since it is somewhat stressing me out.

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