Potty training problems : Hi there, new on here!! My... - ERIC


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Potty training problems


Hi there, new on here!!

My son is 4 next month and potty training is a real problem. I have tried different ways to encourage him to use the potty like making up a song, giving him a sweet if he goes. I have always given him loads of praise but it seems to be getting worse rather than better. Now he sometimes won’t even tell me that he’s done a wee or poo. Any help would be amazing as I’m a bit stuck with what to do next!

14 Replies


I’ve been having the same with my daughter who is 4in May. I contacted Eric before Christmas and they sent me some amazing advice! She was doing a daily 5second sit an getting a sticker for her chart every time. Bearing in mind she would have a meltdown if I even mentioned the potty....she was sitting on it happily after a few weeks-never did a wee but she got over the fear of sitting on it which was a huge thing! I then got stuck in a rut. However, three weeks ago, my daughters nursery asked me if I’d mind them putting her in knickers for the day! I didn’t hesitate, but explained that I can’t even mention the word knickers without her going crazy. To cut a long story short, that was all it needed. She let nursery put knickers on her and told them when she needed to go! Hasn’t had a single accident & loves wearing big girl knickers now!

I know this may not be physically helpful but hopefully it will be for your peace of mind. I honestly thought my daughter was going to be in nappies at 25yrs old- she is so stubborn! If your son is at nursery, ask them to get involved & maybe do the same- put him straight into pants one day- he’s not going to like feeling wet...so might encourage him to use the loo/potty! Make a sticker chart with him, let him choose some stickers at the shops, ask him to choose some pants he likes and continue with the major praise! You will get there I promise. But I know exactly how you feel...just keep going! X

Aw thank you so much for your reply.

After posting yesterday I took him to Pre school and the headmaster said they have a nurse coming in that specialises in potty training which is amazing. We’ve tried him with pants but he doesn’t seem too bothered if he soils them so in the end we had to put him back in pull ups. Reward charts didn’t work either but I haven’t tried for a while so might just try again.

I’m so glad your little one is doing well and yes definitely gives me hope that he’ll get there. Thank you

Oh that’s brilliant they have that nurse going in- hopefully she’ll be able to help you. It’s such a frustrating thing- especially when you know how much he’ll love being in big boy pants rather than a pull up!

Have you contacted Eric directly? I did find their info really helpful. I can copy & paste it here if you like x

That’s really kind of you, I’m going to call them today and hopefully get some ideas.

It can be frustrating because the more I try to ask him to use the potty the more he backs off to the point that if you ask him if he’s done anything he’ll say no when he definitely has!

I’ll let you know what they say after I’ve called them later. Thanks again

That’s ecsctly what my daughter would do!!

Has he ever had a bad experience with the potty? I was trying to work out why my daughter was so against it because she’s so independent I thought she’d do it straight away! But I think when I first introduced the potty to her just before she was 3, she must have tried to sit on it & it slipped & scared her or something! So when we were doing the fully clothed 5sec sits, I was holding her hands & sitting on a step in front of her to make her feel secure...which seemed to work!

Good luck with Eric...I copied my email in for you to read anyway. Yes, let me know!

Natalie x

He’ll happily go on the potty morning and evening and when I put him on the potty or toilet during the day but he doesn’t ask to go. Bless him, he’s at pre school and also goes to childminder, my parents and his dad’s so there’s a few different environments which I’m sure hasn’t helped. We all work together which is great, we’ll get there but just need a bit of help!

Here’s the email for you to read anyway...

Thank you for contacting ERIC. We’re sorry to hear that potty training isn’t going so well at the moment. Constipation often plays a part in potty/toilet avoidance. A big, hard or painful poo will scare the child, and to stop it happening again they simply hold on. Look at ERIC’s Guide to Children’s Bowel Problems for information on how to recognise if your child is constipated. There is lots more information on the Flowchart for Constipation. Make sure any constipation is really well managed before attempting to change toileting behaviour.

Some children are frightened of the toilet/potty itself. This fear will need to be overcome before they can start learning to sit on it. If your child is scared of the flush, start by flushing it while they stand by the bathroom door, then gradually ask them to come a little closer. When they are near enough, encourage them to put just a little bit of toilet paper in the toilet to flush away.

If they are worried about the water splashing back when they use the toilet, show them how to put a layer of toilet paper over the water in the toilet bowl.

Create a game with a few bottles of food colouring! Add a few drops to the cistern, then ask your child to guess what colour the water in the toilet will change to when they flush.

To start with, sitting on the potty/toilet should have nothing to do with pooing/weeing. The emphasis should be completely on relaxed, happy sitting – when you ask them to do so. To start with this may be a five second sit, once a day, fully clothed. That’s fine! Reward them for sitting (have a look at our Toileting Reward Chart), and resist the temptation to mention wee or poo!

The key now is moving forward gradually, so each little step forward is an achievable goal. You plan when the toilet/potty sitting should take place – aim for 20-30 minutes after each meal as that is the best time to poo, and before bed. To work out how long she can go between wee’s it can be useful to put a piece of good quality kitchen roll inside her nappy so not only can you work out when she has wet, she will also be getting that damp sensation which is important when we are toilet training. A sign that she s ready to be trained is if she can go 1.5 to 2 hours between wee’s. Make sure your child’s bottom and feet are firmly supported – see the section 'How to get the poo in the loo' on ERIC’s Guide to Children’s Bowel Problems.

Over time you’ll build up a regular toileting programme, with your child sitting on the potty/toilet for a few minutes several times a day. Keep a bag of special toys in the bathroom ready so they look forward to exploring what’s there whenever they sit on the loo.

Remember to reward every potty/toilet sit with your agreed system, perhaps a chocolate button or something small and inexpensive. It may take a little time but she will get there.

Great thank you

Hi. I can imagine how difficult it must be for you both. You don’t say whether or not he has suffered from constipation and therefore may be afraid to poo.

Our consultant paediatrician, after ruling out physiological problems, prescribed “more stick than carrot”. I couldn’t believe it and didn’t even know how I would do that to my dear daughter 😳. As we walked from his office along the hospital corridor to the exit he said, “sometimes I am horrified when parents tell me that what got the success in the end was to lock the child in the toilet and insist that they poo or they won’t come out!” I couldn’t believe he had just told me that.

In desperation I tried (a gentle version of his prescription) together with nursery rhymes on the phone, and setting a timer by the end of which she must have done a poo otherwise it would be nursery rhymes off and bed time (she used to soil her nappy everyday without fail overnight so concluded she was a night time poo’er”. We sat her on the potty about 20 minutes after dinner.

Two days or so after trying this she started pooing on the potty or toilet - but it was a struggle as she was so tense because her issues started after constipation.

This was end of January this year and she hasn’t soiled herself since.

I hope you find something that works for your son.

Mumatwalnut in reply to Bmcz

Thank you for your reply, luckily he doesn’t suffer from constipation but him starting to withhold because he doesn’t want to use the potty is a worry for me hence wanting to get ideas before that could potentially happen.

Bmcz in reply to Mumatwalnut

Fingers crossed and best wishes.

Mumatwalnut in reply to Bmcz

Thank you so much

I am so happy I bought this! I have bought potties but my boy was not interested but since the day I got this he’s been out of nappies with no accidents because he loves it so much! 2 1/2 and dry! He is my third and I only wish I’d have bought this for my other 2!

From here : lazyours.com/pages/potty-tr...

Mumatwalnut in reply to lina43

Great, thank you. Will look into it.

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