Toddler wants to go potty, doesn't know how? — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Toddler wants to go potty, doesn't know how?

My pretty verbal 19 month old DD has been talking about the potty and underwear for months. We bought a little seat and a potty book because she was asking to go potty. She's young, so we aren't pushing it at all. She will randomly ask to go potty, but she must not get how to physically make anything happen. If I make her get down before she goes potty, she freaks out, so sometimes we are sitting there for 45 minutes waiting for her to pee. Any ideas? She's the one pushing it, I wish we didn't spend so much time in the bathroom, but I feel bad discouraging her wanting to go potty too.
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Re: Toddler wants to go potty, doesn't know how?

  • I don't have any experience with this yet but as I was reading your thread I had some ideas that I would try if I was in your situation. I would maybe have a set time limit for being on the potty. Not a timer or anything but nmaybe say we will read the potty book (x) amount of times and then we will get off the potty and try again later. Of if not the potty book then (x) amount of board books. So you aren't sitting there forever. Maybe model for her? If she sits on her potty and you happen to have to go, sit on the big potty and talk about how it feels or what youre thinking about. haha kind of awkward I know but i think about little boys trying to pee outside for the first time like the movie big daddy. Or maybe a little running water will help ease her. I'm thinking it would only take a few times after going then she would get the hang of the physical part of it. She is pretty young so maybe she is interested but just not physically ready. Hope any of that helps!
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  • I've PT 4 kids at ages 14, 15 & 2 at 17 months old.  Besides always having an open door policy when DH & I went to the bathroom, I started by easing into it at @ 1 years old and would just sit them on the potty when they woke up in the morning, before bath, after nap and before bedtime- if they went they got an M&M.  And I don't let them sit any longer then they want and definitely never more then 5 minutes.  If I'd go to change a diaper and it would be dry- I'd sit them on it.  It wasn't until their age listed above that I just stopped putting diapers on them and we PT (depending on the child it took 2-7 days). 

    To get her more comfortable with releasing & aware I'd suggest getting a vinyl tablecloth from the store (you can generally get a large one for $5 at Walmart- assuming you have carpet) and do naked time for 1-2 hours or however long you want.  You can do it daily, every other day, every Saturday morning- whatever.  Accidents WILL happen- its the point.  It's so she understands that pee/poop comes out of there and this is where it's suppose to go.  
  • I just started researching this. My son is 18 months old and is very interested too. All her wants to do is read the potty books and say pee pee. I've read that sitting for long periods of time waiting is common because they have to figure out what it feels like. Montessori suggests making a little station next to the potty so the child can sit there independently and read their books or play with toys while they "wait."
  • Yes, I think since she's interested, I should probably invest more devoted time to it and then she might figure it out. We have a busy schedule right now and an out of town trip in a few weeks, but hopefully when we come back we can try it. I actually just bought some underwear for the occasion.
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  • OP - have you made any progress? I'm going through this with my daughter right now.   

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  • Yes! We waited until a good week to be home a lot and tried the 3 day potty training method where you do underwear and try potty often. When accidents start, whisk them to the potty. The first 2 days were terrible, the third day she was starting to get it. 4th and 5th days we were down to very few accidents each day, but nowhere near perfect. After 3 weeks, we have had a few accident free days, but typically one or two in the morning around when she needs to poop (which seems to make her uncomfortable and try to hold it). Initially, she seemed to have trouble relaxing and we put her feet in warm water which really helped her go for the first several days. (She was actually dry overnight after 36 hours of potty training and still couldn't go potty, so I was concerned!) Now she can do it on her own. She just turned 21 months and is very excited about her princess underwear. Good luck!
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