3 year old daughter not interested in potty training ... - ERIC

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3 year old daughter not interested in potty training after 2 separate attempts, 2 months apart


Hi, I'm starting to worry about my daughter. She turned 3 end of June and about 1 month before, she did her first wee on the potty. We praised her, showed her it goes down the toilet and that we flush it away and said goodbye wee wee.

A week later we tried potty training, for 2 and a half days. It didn't go to plan, she ended up with runny poo and got scared. Refused to sit on the potty and we had the same problem spontaneously offering the potty for 2 months afterwards. This weekend, it has been 2 months and with the summer holidays we thought it would be a good time to do it again, as she goes to two nurseries and we thought there's not enough consistency to potty train during school term time. Day 1, we managed to finally get her to sit on the potty with nothing on, huge progress! Two days later she's still holding her wee and poo, and only doing wee on the potty if she's sat on it but still gets up with it still dribbling out, and she runs away crying and saying she doesn't like it. We try to tell her that she can put wee wee in the potty, but she's not having any of it. It's been dribbling down her leg for 2 hours or more constantly wetting every pair of pants, making a total of 17 pairs of pants wet in 1 day.

Is this normal for a 3 year old not to be interested? Or is there something quite not right with her development? She also isn't listening to us or taking in anything we say, she is just running away all the time and ignoring us playing with her toys. I am yet to meet another 3 year old to doesn't absorb what an adult says to them.

Any advice and your experiences are very welvone! We are becoming concerned now.


3 Replies



Hiya - just spotted you haven’t had any replies to your message. Firstly, reassurance: the fact you haven’t had any replies doesn’t mean this has never happened to anyone else, I’ve seen people post similar issues in the past, it’s just they aren’t on the forum any more, hopefully because they have got through it!

I don’t think it sounds like a development thing, more just she’s very nervous about it, which is so normal. Three is still so little really, no matter how grown up they sometimes seem! For so many children, potties and toilets are scary. Especially for her with the runny poo experience. It can really terrify kids to see what comes out of their bottoms. The fact she is trying to control what happens when she hasn’t got a nappy on means she understands all the signals and feelings (which is 90% of the task) it’s just getting her to relax.

I’d suggest talking to your health visitor if possible but the main thing is to (try to) relax and be led by her and leave it a longer. Leave the potty in the bathroom and offer it to her before bath every night but be clear it’s her choice if she wants to try. You could ask her if she’d like to sit on a nappy over the potty which is a technique suggested to parents of children who won’t poo in a potty.

I’m sure you’re doing this already but just let her see you use the toilet lots, inspect your wee and poo and do the same with any cousins/friends etc. Try not talk about your worries about it in front of her (which I am sure is hard as I bet all mums around you are talking about potty training at the moment) and have faith that she will get there. She will.

There’s another lady who posted on this forum yesterday with a similar age little girl who’s in a not dissimilar situation so have a look at that thread too. Think her user name is pidge69

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