Monday, December 22, 2014

Adventures in Potty Training: Even Less Fun Than I'd Imagined; Or, You Probably Don't Want to Sit On Our Couch

Perhaps you've wondered where I've been the past week. Perhaps you've imagined I've been busy with holiday shopping and holiday crafts and holiday baking and holiday gift wrapping, and soaking up the wonder of the season and the beauty of my children and the love that fills the air.

You would be wrong.

I have been in potty training hell. And, guess what? It does not allow time for blogging.

Before I had kids, I swore that I would never talk about potty-training as though it were actually a subject of interest to anyone else.

But it's all I can think about. (Well, that and the soundtrack to Rent, which I've been listening to the in the car, even though it's loaded with the F-bomb--those songs are so catchy I wake up in the middle of the night with them running through my head and can't stop reciting the entire damn soundtrack.)

So my friend Brandy told me about the 3-day potty training program she was going to do with her son. I thought it sounded great, but with Christmas coming up and holiday traveling, I didn't think we were going to tackle it until the new year (you know, when I also start exercising and cut out sugar and unnecessary spending and get all my paperwork organized and purge the house of toys and go back to work--so FUN TIMES COMING UP).

And then I thought--with all the crap we are packing up for our Midwest Christmas Tour, I do not want to pack double diapers. There is NO REASON why Zuzu shouldn't be potty-trained. She's capable. I would have gotten serious about it months ago if Coco weren't in the mix. I know she's ready. She is perfectly capable of communicating verbally. She wakes up dry from naps and, often, in the morning. She announces poop in her diaper. It is time.

I read about the program Brandy is using, and I got ALL FIRED UP and ready to DO THIS THING.

So I gathered our supplies (about 20 pairs of big girl panties--I'm counting reusable swim diapers), gave her unfettered access to watered down apple juice and encourage her to guzzle it (the idea being that she'll have to pee a lot and will therefore get a lot of practice at identifying the sensation), and put the potty chairs in the bathrooms at the ready. I made a big show of throwing away her diapers (Bye-bye, diapers!) and the games began.

The basic premise of this program is that we say, approximately every 5-10 seconds, "Tell me when you have to pee." And then (until she actually starts telling us) we watch for her to pee, and make sure she gets to the bathroom. When pee hits the potty, we respond with lots of praise and positive reinforcement. Eventually, she'll actually start to tell us because she will blossom under our encouragement and will also have a natural desire to please us.

How did it go?


Day 1 (keep in mind that ALL DAY E'R'R' DAY I'm saying, "Tell me when you have to pee, ok?" a minimum of 20 times an hour in a really chipper voice)

9:30 a.m. We throw away the diaper and put on big girl panties.

10:00 a.m. Pees in basement on the floor. I totally missed it. Not an ideal start.

11:00 a.m. Pees in kitchen. We race to bathroom but don't make it. I give her the speech that will end up getting LOTS of practice:  "Oh, it's too bad that your big girl panties got wet. You need to tell Mama when you have to pee. We want to keep your panties dry."

11:45 a.m. MADE IT! Sits on potty at my suggestion, pees. We dance, sing, give stickers and Skittles. Life is so good. This is easy. She's totally getting it.

1:00 p.m. Pees on the top step of the stairs on our way up to use potty before nap. Bummer.

1:20 p.m. - 2:20 p.m. Is so jazzed up from sugary apple juice that nap does not happen, even though we read stories and rock in her room for two hours.

2:30 p.m. Starts to pee in the living room. I pick her up and race through dining room and kitchen to bathroom. Pee goes all over my pants; none in potty.

3:43 p.m. She pees in the laundry room. I race her to the big potty. She's already done.

4:35 p.m. MADE IT! After I saw her dancing around, said "It looks like you have to pee" and carried her to the bathroom. We celebrate huge with Skittles, Minnie Mouse Sticker, and dance party.

5:00 p.m. She pees on the f$%^ing couch. Fortunately the couch is leather so it wipes clean easily. But she was sitting on a silk throw pillow.

6:15 p.m. We're back in the laundry room. She has evidently marked her territory because she pees in the same place, right by the furnace.

7:30 p.m. Bathtime. It's possible she pees in the tub, but I don't notice/care.

8:00 p.m. Pees on the bathmat next to the potty. We'll call that effort? I praise her anyway for being NEAR the potty (grasping for straws here, people).

11:00 p.m. I heard her waking in her room, rushed in, and took her to the potty. MADE IT! (She was also half asleep and too tired to resist.)

8:00 a.m. She wakes up dry. Yet, she refuses to sit on potty. "Okay!" I say cheerfully, through gritted teeth, knowing her bladder must be bulging. "Tell me when you need to pee!"

8:20 a.m. Starts to pee in our room, next to Coco's changing table. I rush her to the bathroom, some pee got in the potty. We celebrate this even though I'm actually totally pissed off about it.

(She doesn't drink as much juice this morning. Perhaps she's making connections? I keep encouraging her to drink.)

12:00 p.m. I'm trying to convince her to sit on the potty. She refuses. Then she pees on the tile floor outside the bathroom. She points at the puddle and says, "Mommy! I poop!"

(Could the lack of distinction between pee and poop be part of the problem? I'm pretty sure we've been consistent about calling it like we see it... Not sure what is going on there.)

1:00 p.m. Pees on couch. #$%$!!

1:30 p.m. Getting ready for nap, asks to go, pees a bit in her room, gets some in the potty. We celebrate.

2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Takes a nap. We take turns sitting in her room, waiting for her to stir so we can rush her to the potty. She wakes up at 5:00 p.m. completely soaked. She peed without stirring. Whoops.

6:00 p.m. - We leave her with a babysitter (bad idea) because we are going to dinner with friends to celebrate my friend Beth finishing chemo and I am NOT missing this to sit home and watch my kid pee her pants.

Zuzu has three accidents for the babysitter between 6:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., including once on a PILLOW on our BED. Like a pissed off cat.

Day 3

8:00 a.m. Wakes up dry!

8:02 a.m. Refuses to sit on potty.

9:15 a.m. The dam finally bursts. She runs away and starts peeing in living room, I catch her and we got some of it in the potty. I praise her, and hand over a sticker and Skittles even though I'm pissed off at how stubborn she's being.

10:00 a.m. We're entertaining her and keeping a close eye on her by creating a fort of sheets in the TV room. She pees just outside the fort. We rush to bathroom, but it's too late. I clean her up, David cleans up the carpet.

10:30 a.m. Another pee in the back room next to the fort. We decide the fort we created is actually serving as a restroom for her, so we take down the sheets.

11:30 a.m. She pees her pants in the kitchen. She tells me that pee-pee belongs in the potty. I need wine, but it's not even lunch time.

12:15 p.m. I am nursing baby, I see her doing the pee-pee dance by the Christmas tree. I yell for David, he rushes her to the potty. She throws a fit, "I dry! I dry! No sit on potty! I dry!" He lets her go. She runs and IMMEDIATELY pees in the back room. David loses his temper, yells, drags her into the bathroom. She cries. I ask her why Daddy is upset. She says, "No! upset!" (She's not sorry, though. Not at all.)

1:00 p.m. She goes down for a nap. David notes that potty-training her is just like Cooper. It works best when we keep her confined to a small area and catch her in the act. It's also messy and exhausting and taking for-freaking-ever.

2:50 p.m. Wakes from nap. I'm downstairs writing grocery list instead of diligently watching her sleep (another bad idea on my part). She walks to the doorway of her room, pees. Walks to the bathroom and takes off her wet panties. I make it upstairs, observe this situation, call it progress and tell her I'm VERY PROUD of her for TRYING to make it to the potty.

4:00 p.m. I escape the house with Coco and go to a friends' house. Zuzu poops for the first time in three days. MAKES IT it because David smells that action and carries her to the bathroom. But she doesn't fight him and she poops on the potty. They celebrate with Skittles and stickers.

6:30 p.m.  David answers a phone call and Zuzu takes advantage of his distraction and pees on the leather couch. (Who wants to come over and hang out on our couch? Anyone? Yeah.)

8:30 p.m. She's getting ready for bed. I'm at Target with Colette, who sleeps through the entire store in an obvious effort to secure her position as #1 on the Nice List this year. (It's working.) Zuzu won't settle down, so David leaves the room, says he'll come back when she's calm and ready to read books, and closes the door. She has a tantrum and pees herself.


You guys.

I thought it was supposed to CLICK at the end of Day 3.

I really believed it was all going to be worth it--the carpet cleaning, the couch wiping (thank goodness it's leather and only the bonded kind, not the expensive kind), the positive reinforcement when I really want to scream, the ragey feelings that David and I express by biting each other's heads off since we have to be nice to Zuzu. I mean, I really thought this would work.

But it's been THREE DAYS of intensive potty training (okay, minus the one evening when I left her with a teenager and went to hang out with my friends) and she is NOT POTTY TRAINED. I'm not even sure she is NEAR potty trained.

The problem with this positive reinforcement technique is that Zuzu really doesn't care about pleasing anyone but herself. She is missing the natural desire to please her parents (this bodes well for the future, doesn't it?) And evidently Skittles and Minnie Mouse stickers aren't sufficient reward for the inconvenience of running to the potty BEFORE she starts actually peeing.

I'm too stubborn to go back to diapers at this point (hmmm... perhaps we are witnessing a genetic predisposition at work here?) but it's almost a farce since she just pisses her way through ten pairs of a "big girl panties" a day.

We've GOT to have a break-through anytime now, right?

(David says we're not getting new carpet until Colette is potty trained.)

I really, really, really want only one kid in diapers.

So... I'm waiting for your feedback. BUT PLEASE DON'T tell me "she'll train when she's ready." I mean, yes. Obviously THAT IS TRUE. But it is also NOT HELPFUL for me to hear.

I know she is the one who has to decide to do this. But I need to find a way to convince her to decide that NOW is the time. Because we are DONE with DIAPERS.

Even though I'm second-guessing that decision all the time.

So please, pep-talks only. Nobody tell me to give up and try again in a few months. I only want POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT!

Also, feel free to send wine.


  1. Consequences also work where positive reinforcement doesn't. When you know they are ready and get it (which she is as evidenced by what you said about her and the fact that she's done it right a couple times) then it is just stubbornness on their part to change. A timeout for "on purposes" or when she refuses to go when you KNOW she needs to. Or not letting her so something until she goes. Also, I would sit with mine and not let her get up til she went. She would get bored sitting there and want to play so she would go (yay!). Also I don't understand when you say she "refuses" to sit on the potty.... Uh, you make her! GL

  2. I have no suggestions, because a) we're not there yet, b) I have a boy, c) he's stubborn, d) God help me. But "like a pissed off cat"?! Dying!!!!

  3. You're doing everything right! That's what we did, and it worked day 4ish, then that's been it! She was 34 months at the time, a bit older than Zuzu, right? I half assed an attempt at around 30 months and she was NOT ready. My friends told me to wait a few more months and bingo!

  4. I LOATHE potty training and commend you for not losing your shit! Once Finn was capable of it, I would freak out when he had an accident which I know is not recommended. I just was SO bad about the whole "uh oh, it's ok, accidents happen" bullshit and just saw red. I feel like he took awhile to stop randomly having accidents though, so maybe my tactic was part of the problem.

    I agree,don't go back to diapers - that will send a mixed message. Do you have a friend with older kids who can come hang out for a bit and you can try the peer pressure tactic? "Oh, so and so is such a big girl and going potty!" And then praises the hell out of her and giving her rewards Zuzu should get. Maybe it will make her angry that someone else is getting her Minnie stickers ? Also, that friend should bring wine. You're less likely to scream at your child with company around, right? :)

  5. Also we still have her in pullups urging naps and nighttime.....saving that for a bit later. 50% of the time she wakes up dry. I'm not ready for middle of the night potty time truthfully!

  6. Girls are the worst! They can be so stubborn! I had to find "something" of great importance to my 3-yr old daughter, something that would make an impact on her "accidents", which seemed intentional. SO - each time she had an "accident" I took away one of her baby dolls and put it in my closet. Every time she peed on the potty - she got one back. It worked like a charm. But you have to know in your heart that Zuzu does know what she's doing. Good Luck!

  7. Bribery? Like earn stickers to get a toy? Which is probably hard with Christmas this week.
    That's all I've got. I have helped potty train lots of 2 year olds in daycare but we usually waited until they had peed a few times on the potty and typically were at least 2.5 for most of them.
    For Luke, I completely stopped asking about it or mentioning it for like 2 weeks. Then I said "hey, I am not going to buy anymore diapers. You can either pee on yourself and be gross and yucky, or you can pee on the potty and stay dry". And that was pretty much it-he even would tell me he had to pee. It was so easy. He was a couple months over 3 though. I personally think diapers are way easier than having a potty training toddler with an infant.

    Watch out for withholding poop with potty training. I have seen kids end up with crazy medical issues from severe constipation after being potty trained too soon, when for whatever reason they were scared of pooping in the potty. That was the main reason I didn't push it with Luke (also because I am lazy and didn't want to do the struggle every hour thing.)

    Good luck, I hope it gets better!

  8. Change tactics with bribery. Chocolate didn't work for my girl, but should've because she never gets any. Toys kind of worked but the real clincher was Disney frozen princess gummies. Yes the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup but she would cooperate for those! Also I would work on day training and then night training. I would lose my mind if I tried to do both all at once and that is a lot of change for zu.

  9. Oh and it took much longer than 3 days to be official

  10. Can you find the cloth training pants with plastic on the outside? ( I think I got them at Toys R Us) That way the pee is contained... My daughter got into the pullups that I used at night, and switched the cloth pants for the pullups and had a pee party all day. I had to lock up the pullups.

  11. Lurker here, veteran of two girls and a boy who were each a little different. Pick up a bunch of cheap potties (Ikea had them for something like $1.99 a few years ago) and have one in the room with you so you have much shorter distance to travel when she starts. Also reward her for just sitting on it, reading to her (not just for getting something into it).

  12. Seriously, you are doing it right, it just SUCKS. Although, you might consider leaving the diapers on at bedtime and maybe even naptime. She can still wake up dry, but then you have at least a break at night when you don't have to be the potty police. Night time training has always come a bit later for us than daytime. We've always had a period of suckitude followed by one day when it just works. YOu have the right though by refusing to go backwards. STAY STRONG. And keep lots of wine and paper towels in the house.

  13. Caroline has a good idea. Maybe you should borrow Frances for awhile. That would add to the overall calmness in your house.:)

  14. I've potty trained two sons and a daughter. First boy and girl were easy peasy before hitting ago two and with the positive techniques you are using. It took less than a day to have my daughter nigbt and day trained and about three days for my son. So I smugly thought it was just "other" people who had pt issues. Then my stubborn third came along. Sounds like Zuzu. Doesn't give a damn about pleasing anyone but himself. Does not possess the parent pleasing gene the older two had in spades. It turns out he needed more of a punishment based method--time out for not willing to try to sit on the potty(when I KNEW he had to go such as upon waking). He was also absolutely confined to two rooms and I kept a potty chair in both(gross but better than a pee couch amiright). Within a couple days he understood that this was nonnegotiable and decided it was easier to comply than fight. Funny how lacking in fanfare it was compared to the older two. He knew what to do but didn't want to so when he finally did it was as if he was grudgingly admitting I won. Many scowls every time he went for weeks. I think you are doing great with the asking but I'd require actual sitting on a potty chair every 15 min. If she refuses, time out(take toy away, etc). Its not fun nor easy but it worked for my strong willed third. Good luck!

  15. God bless you - maybe no one wants to hear about potty training, but you, Brandy, and Caroline are wonderful for bringing the real when it comes to life with toddlers!! And either way, I want to hear about potty training...

    I was all smug about my daughter practically training herself at 2.5ish. I'm significantly less smug as that same daughter decided she preferred pull ups just a year later. The frustration just... Ergh.

    So I had to throw down the gauntlet. I reintroduced major praise for success, but also brought the agony of defeat. I don't know developmentally speaking - tho Zuzu is clearly very intelligent - what sort of consequences would be best, but for my 3.5 y/o, major loss of privileges (favorite shows, books even - but she can totally read her book it watch her show ON THE POTTY - favorite snacks, etc) go away. If we're somewhere having fun and she chooses to pee everywhere instead of tell me / accept my suggestions to try, she's basically perp-walked out of wherever, and rides home with a bare booty. Because my dumbass doesn't always remember extra clothes... This was an accident, (that i didn't have back up clothes) but it made a *lasting* impression. I wasn't about to trash the car seat with her pee soaked clothes, so i stripped her down and buckled her in naked, obviously being careful not to cause any pain. And fwiw, while my own displeasure was fairly obvious, I went out of my way to keep it from being a public humiliation deal. I explained that peeing on the floor in a rather fluffy museum was poor form, other people had to clean up after her, and the people around us at the time may remember her as the girl who wets her pants, but we had that talk when no one else was around, as we rehashed the reasons why peeing in public was not a good choice.

    She hasn't had an accident in public since. I still ask her all. the. time. if she needs to go while we're out, and sometimes I can see the wheels turning... "Am I having too much fun to go to the bathroom right now?..." And I remind her of the reasons why we like to use the bathroom. She has responded well to that, very "oooohhhh yeeeeeeeeeah.. Let's go mama!" So i know that mattered to her!

    Idk if setting up some memorable natural consequences would help or not, but stumbling into them has helped us.

  16. My infant is beating my 2-year-old for first place in my heart right now too. We're not supposed to say that but I lived every day of my life knowing that my older sister was my mom's favorite and I'm fine (ha!). We just bought the books and are getting the training potties today, but at 26 months I don't think we're going to get anywhere anytime soon. So far I think we've had one dry diaper after a nap, and no dry ones in the morning. Changing the diapers is no picnic either with first having to run him down and then having to distract him long enough with something interesting enough to keep him from rolling over and running away, no matter the contents of the half-attached diaper. No one ever talks about this stuff! Good luck and keep going!

  17. Dude, ugh. Ugh for us both. I know people have these thoughts about girls or boys being easier or harder, but I think every kid is different. My kid would never sit on the potty until he goes and he's as stubborn as me and would probably give himself a bladder infection.

    He told me he would not wear a diaper this morning. Maybe because I have been telling him soon they will be gone? Or because he doesn't like the superhero ones I bought?

    No advice. I started this morning because he wanted to. We didn't throw away the diapers but I think we will tomorrow. Doesn't matter if he doesn't want them anyway. I will change sheet after sheet and clean piss off my carpet, but I'm not relenting. This will be infuriating.

    He had one accident this morning (but mind you, I wasn't pushing liquids) and we caught it mid stream, so I ran him to the potty. We went before nap and currently he is either laying in his own piss or hasn't gone. I am nervous about when he wakes up and possibly assumes he has a diaper on?

    This is maddening. I'll say it again. DAY DRINKING. And also, WHY DON'T WE HAVE EASY KIDS?

  18. My daughter is a HUGE people pleaser so she would freak out when she saw our disappointment with her accidents. She started waking up dry around 2.5 and mastered peeing on the potty within a few weeks after that. Pretty painless, right? Wrong! Pooping took 5 months to master and let me tell ya - I would much rather have to clean pee than the alternative. Worst part was we knew when she was going since she would hide under the table or behind couch (on all fours) like a guilty puppy. She was never a pooping machine (I have friends whose kids go 5-6x per day!) so the trauma of potty training made her go even less frequently causing more constipation which of course made the goal of going on the potty even less achievable. We had her in underwear and she was smart enough to ask for pull-ups to go poop (in her special hiding places). This seemed like a never-ending loop. Finally I decided to add flack seed oil to her diet as my pediatrician recommended it when she went from breast milk to dairy (around 12 months). Once she started taking the oil we were able to convince her to try the potty and within a few weeks we were completely potty trained! Seems that she was in so much discomfort due to her constipation that the easiest way to go was to get on her hands and knees (interesting that this is a position they often recommend during labor) and once her stool was softer it hurt less and she was more than happy to do the potty thing. I know this response is waaay TMI but I wanted to chime in case it was helpful. Good luck! I think you guys are close!

  19. Also, I second the idea of keeping the potty chairs *with you* in the room. The "first time" she trained herself, we had that thing with us all the time, even in the car.

  20. I've got nothing because my kiddos pee and poop in diapers. We've had success with potty training, but it's so freakin' hard. I think I'll try over the holidays it would be awesome not to have to pack diapers for whistler. I'm okay with nighttime diapers though, for now. :/

    I was laughing through this, btw. hilarious. Because it's not me! ;)

  21. I ran across your blog and love your writing.

    I have potty trained 3 kids and it stinks. Here's a couple suggestions that helped my kids. Especially my first who was crazy stubborn about it.

    First, do not go back to diapers. In my experience it was closer to a week before they "got it". Second, I was not above bribing my kids (and so far they are okay). With my oldest and most stubborn I invested in lots of hot wheels cars. If he made it to the potty he got a new car, if he had an accident he had to out one back. It was effective with peeing in the potty and later when he started withholding poop.

    In any case, good luck. She won't pee on your couch forever.

  22. It is soooooo hard! Hang in there! Have you considered appealing to her more selfish nature? Is there an outing or a toy you might promise as motivation? I hope you make some progress soon. I read the 3 day potty training plan and was too intimidated to try it, so you're braver than I!

  23. Both you and David announce when you are using the potty. Then when you have finished give yourself a treat. You can sneak wine but make sure its a treat she would be envious of:) It helped with Natalie. Potty training is a bitch, just saying;)

  24. So. With the older boy, the only thing that worked was being able to "pee on the wall" -- use a urinal. That isn't really an option for you now... I assure you that no amount of candy or stickers worked and we tried for TWO YEARS (on and off) to master the potty skill. It was awful. So I completely sympathize with the usual stuff not working at all.

    With the little lady, it was a bit easier. As some already suggested above, we had to find the thing that really mattered to her. In her case, it was a $10 plastic tea set. She BEGGED for that tea set and I said that tea sets are for big girls who use the potty. So the deal was that as long as she was staying dry, she could use the tea set. If she had an accident it was no big deal, but the tea set had to go away until the next time she used the potty and stayed dry. I tried to stay super-positive or matter-of-fact about it, like it was a natural consequence. It turns out she REALLY wanted to have all-access privileges to that tea set because I think she only ever had two accidents once we started using the tea set motivator. Stickers and candies from before? No effect.

    So I guess what I've learned is you have to find your kids' "currency" -- what is it that makes it worth it for them to use the potty? A friend of mine just recently finished potty training her youngest and the big thing was being able to watch YouTube videos of people opening Kinder Eggs. So random. Maybe she can give you some hints as to what her currency might be? Good luck, mama!

  25. With E I did the 3day training with a friend. Outside. Nudie girls. 2 potties. We watched them like hawks the first day (easier when it's 2 adults) and only let them wear big girl panties when they didn't pee on floor for 3 hrs. Pull-ups for naps & bedtime. I agree with others that you need multiple potties & perhaps a bigger incentive to go along with the smaller ones for when she "really" gets it. E couldn't start preschool until she was potty trained and that was great motivation. Hang in there- you can do this! Oh, and I'd totally hang on your couch ;)

  26. I think you should wait until she's ready-- she just doesn't sound ready. I KNOW you don't want to hear that, but IMO potty training is a snap because I am super lazy about it and wait until the kids are like hey, I think I am going to pee in the potty from now on. I also go straight to the big potty-- no chairs-- with a stool for their feet and a ring to make the potty small enough. I just don't think it should be a struggle-- kids need more bodily autonomy than that, IMO, and I don;t think it should involve tears on either side. I know this goes against the grain of the advice you are getting, but what's a few more months of diapers in the grand scheme of things?

  27. Oh! Have you watched the Daniel Tiger potty episode? It's good-- we sing the potty song ALL THE TIME. Cooper pee trained in like 3 hours, but he still poops his pants a lot. "Poop my pants is best," he tells us, and it's hard to argue with that.

  28. We kept a little potty in the living room with us and that seemed to help a lot. We also used Sofia the First toys that had multiple parts and used those as a bribe "You'll earn one of these when you go on the potty." Although it sounds weird we actually had more success with our oldest (she turned 4 in November) when she didn't wear underwear. We found that she was more likely to pee through underwear so on the suggestion of a cousin, left it off. Fortunately for us it was summer & she could wear all types of dresses & shorter nightgowns. We also had to deal with a broken right arm from the second day we were potty training (that's a whole other story there) but she did well. We also used a sticker chart in one of our bathrooms as well as M&Ms for when she did go on the actual potty. She was 2 years 8 months before we started trying with her because she was so stubborn it would have backfired on us otherwise. She did wear Pull-ups for a while at night and during nap (and also during long car rides) but overall it didn't take long for her to learn. Good luck and hope that Zuzu cooperates!

  29. Oh holy crap!!!! This is another of those "you will look back on this and laugh" (well this post at least)! I was behind so when we have been talking over email and IG about peeing probs, I had no idea. Laughing so hard as I read this--I just cannot imagine! Kudos to you for sticking to it bc I would have given up!! The only thing I can think of is that positive reinforcements may not be the key if she doesn't care. I would try time out (or whatever her go-to punishment is) if you ask her and she refuses but goes right after on the CARPET?!? Omg I die!! It would be like cleaning up after a dog!! But hopefully it sounds like things may be better by now w the play and such?

  30. I'd try a better bribe. We started with chocolate chips and marshmallows and she was like nah. I'm good. You need to find what she REALLY likes. For G it was stories. I'll shamelessly post my tear filled story for you here. I love when my husband tells people how easily G trained. It obviously wasn't him crying with his daughter after she peed on his leg and the carpet after having JUST ENDED a long argument about whether or not she needed to potty. Jerk.

  31. Hang in there. Try reinforcing the notion that big girls don't pee/poop in their pants - does she have any older kids that she admires? "So-and-so NEVER pees/poops in her pants because she's a big girl and you want to be a big girl too"...that kind of thing.

    Good luck - it ain't easy.

  32. Both my kids only got potty trained after we ditched any kind of undies and made them run around naked. When there was nothing to pee into (even just plain underwear) they got the idea pretty fast. Go naked. It's also way easier to do it all outside, but you have to wait for summer for that.

  33. Hang in there. I have had several friends have success with the 3 day method-- all of them confined their kids to 1-2 rooms with tile/hard floor, put down plastic, multiple little potties and left their kids' bums naked. We were advised strongly when our son was ready by several veteran moms to skip the pull-ups because he would just keep peeing in them (true fact) and use diapers for bed/nap and underwear when awake. I definitely can't imagine tackling day and night at once- you guys are amazing for trying. With our little guy he did awesome in the beginning (he was one of those annoying/awesome kids who essentially potty-trained himself at 21 months while we were traveling...). But as he entered the stubborn 2s he actually started crying and throwing a fit every time we asked him to go, so we had to revert to rewarding and start all over (he never had a lot of accidents, but was screaming for 10 minutes and resisting the potty). We had to go to a serious reward for this house- like watching a 1 minute Thomas song or wheels on the bus on youtube on our phone. Food/stickers/etc. were not motivating to him. He had minimal screen/device time otherwise, so I guess that was the draw. We felt uncomfortable and lame about how much device-time he had those first couple of weeks- but we slowly phased it out and narrowed it down to only getting to watch a song for pooping (since that's harder to motivate and higher risk if he started holding- did not want to go there with the constipation) and now he doesn't get any reward and thinks nothing of it. I know this goes against several comments above- but in pretty much everything I have read and heard and any professional-type person I've talked to that you should avoid any type of punishment or negativity associated with potty-training. It sounds like it has worked for some kids- but I have heard of a lot of kids with serious battles of the wills regarding poop withholding (even requiring hospital admission for poop cleanout with golytely... seriously)- so I would personally keep it positive and if that doesn't cut it, wait it out.
    My biggest advice if you ignore the above is closer potties!! Put the darn thing IN the fort. You're training the feedback loop of the feeling of having to go, then going and being successful... so learning the signs and peeing all the way to the bathroom is shooting yourself in the foot. :)
    Good luck though- this too shall pass!

  34. I've potty trained 2 boys and am currently training a 10 week puppy...I'm an idiot obviously. Both my boys were 3 yrs 3 months EXACTLY. I tried sooner and there was lots of couch peeling.
    I was so miserable but my husband fell into the trap of 2 yr olds should be potty trained.some. not all. Not mine. So I'm no help...ready is not necessarily READY. The puppy has sadly been easier.

  35. My "baby" is 28 years old now. I decided to potty train him when he was 2. One of the things I read to do was wake him up once at night to use the bathroom. He got up when I woke him and followed me, but when we got to the bathroom and heard what I expected him to do, he started cussing at me like a drunken sailor. That was completely out of character for him and shocked me. I got lots of advice from people and none of it worked. My son would go outside, dig a hole, poop in it and cover it up. He covered it up because I lied and told him the dogs would die if they ate it. But he would not use the toilet. He never got to go to day care (which is something he wanted to do because his friends were there) because he was not potty trained. I told him that was their rule, thinking it would be an incentive. He thought for a moment and said, "Then I won't go."

    Except for the bathroom thing, he was a fairly mature, delightful child with a cheerful attitude and wonderful manners.

    When kindergarten was only a couple of months away, I was beginning to think the kid would not get to go there, either. I told my son my concerns, and that I didn't want other kids making fun of him if he peed his pants. He just looked at me and said nothing. When school started, he started using the toilet as if he'd done it for years. There were wet beds at night off and on for a couple of years. I showed him how to make the bed himself, and that made us both happy.

    Is this a downer for you? It shouldn't be. I wanted to give you an example of how one of the most inept parents on the face of the earth (me) totally failed at potty training my son. Yet it did not make a bit of difference in our lives in the long run.

    My husband was never any help whatsoever. He did learn to put his boots away because our son, who was running around naked, would walk up to a boot tossed on the floor, set it upright, and pee in it.

    You're doing just fine, Toots.