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Ready To Give Up on Potty Training? Don’t!!

Each week I receive numerous emails from parents who are wildly successful in training their children, are encountering some small stumbling blocks, or the occasional few who feel like they just aren't getting anywhere. Sometimes those parents are at their breaking point and just want to give up and go back to diapers. I encourage those folks to just NOT GIVE UP! Think of all that time and energy you have already invested - you don't want it to be for naught. Below is the text of a "question and answer" from one of those emails I received. (Names have been changed to protect privacy.)

Bad news, I suppose. I'm giving up on potty training for now. Michelle was doing so great before bed last night, and she hasn't peed in the potty even once today. She did, however, poop on the carpet and step in it, tracking it everywhere (she, the hallway, I, and the potty looked like we had been hosed down with poop), and then peed in her pants, on the floor, and all over herself 3 times ALL IN THE SPACE OF 15 MNUTES. I can't do it anymore.

Any tips moving forward? She just has a diaper on right this minute b/c I just can't clean up another mess today. I will say that she did learn to recognize when she pees in the past three days, which she didn't know before. I don't know if I should totally forget about it for now, or take some more small steps.

Thanks again for the advice.


Oh my gosh! You poor thing. I totally understand where you are coming from.

I'd encourage you not to give up, though. You've come so far and put in so much work. So, here's what I would recommend from here:

Have her wear pull-up style diapers with underwear underneath. Tell her that it is still VERY IMPORTANT to keep her panties dry, and still give rewards for dry panties. Talk about dry panties all the time. Talk about YOUR dry panties, and Daddy's dry underwear, or her big sister's dry panties...etc. Make a big deal about it. Keep using the Potty Watch. She seems to have limited bladder control, so set it on the smallest interval. (30 minutes, I think?) So that you're not having to deal too much with dirty wet panties, stay sane by keeping a garbage bag in the bathroom. Just dump the excess contents in the toilet and throw the underwear in the bag. At the end of the day, plug your nose, dump the entire bag of wet panties in the washer, and take care of it all at once :)

Are you giving potty training rewards right now? I would encourage using some, and if you need some ideas I can give you a few. Reward for both dry panties AND for going in the potty.

Doing it this way, it will probably take a few weeks...but I think you'll hopefully find that each day you are dealing with fewer wet panties. When you're down to only one or two per day, you can again try to wean her off of the pull-up.

This still means a lot of trips to the potty, but it will keep you from going crazy and you'll ultimately achieve the same end result.

Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.

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