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Two Days of Potty Training With No Success

This post is one in my series of 'real questions, real responses' when parents have written to me during the potty training process. This mom wrote because even after following The Potty Boot Camp program exactly as written her son had yet to have a successful pee on the potty.

(You'll find a reference to the "Bathtub Technique" - this is a method we use in Potty Boot Camp when kids are hesitating to pee on the toilet.)

Below is the text of her question and my reply.


My husband and I have adhered to the program, to the best of our understanding, with our 32 month old son, Leo, for two days now. We have experienced no success. Leo was quite compliant yesterday—sat on the potty for the full five minutes every time we tried, took to the cleanup procedure pretty well, and was good natured during the drills. He even seemed excited to be wearing underwear. Today was a bit more challenging. He keeps saying he needs to go to the potty, but he just sits there for several minutes (as many as 10) only to have an accident on the carpet moments after leaving the bathroom.

In two days of trying—timed potty tries, rewards for clean and dry pants, cleanup, and drills—we have had no success. He hasn't yet peed or pooped in the potty—self-initiated or otherwise.

Please offer some suggestions regarding how we can/should proceed.


I'm sorry to hear you haven't made more progress so far. It sure sounds like you have a 'holder' - your son is apparently afraid to 'let go' into the potty and holds it until he gets up. His bladder control will serve you well in weeks to come, but that doesn't help in the first few days!

I think your next step should definitely be the bathtub technique. It is often the 'magic' method for getting kids to release their bladders....and once they realize it's ok/doesn't hurt/gets mom and dad to clap and all become easier from that point forward.

Try that tomorrow and let me know how it goes. And try numerous times if the first try doesn't work...sometimes it takes a bit for it to all click.

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