HELP! He Won't Potty Train

This is my kid.   ------------------------------------------>

He's awesome.  He's almost three and he rides a tricycle, can run just as fast as his (almost) 5 year old brother, digs for worms like nobody's business and eats better than my older son ever did.

Seriously, he's great!

But he won't potty train.

We've been trying for months.

Here's the thing: he will go pee...if I take him and make him. But he won't do it in public, he won't do it in unfamiliar toilets (even standing up), and he won't do it if anyone is watching.

But he will never poop on the potty.

He will poop in a pull-up, he will poop in his underwear, he will take off his pants/pull-up/underwear and poop on his brother's bedroom floor. But he will not go on the potty or toilet.

I feel like we've tried it all.

We've been ultra encouraging, done rewards (stickers), offered treats (he loved that but it was a bit counterproductive in-that he only would go to the bathroom for candy), sang songs and did potty dances. We schedule potty time and bought cool Angry Birds underwear. We got him his own little potty (that he loves!), taught him to pee standing, never scolded when he wet or soiled his underwear. Despite the desperation in what I'm writing today, we DO NOT pressure him- ever!

And yet- nothing.

And I know, kids learn in their own time. I've been down this road with my first son. The moment my older son was ready, he potty trained.

But in this case, my almost three year old is ready. He meets every single criteria you can find for potty training readiness.

Even more- I am ready.  I need him to go to the bathroom. I need to be done with diapers and wipes and all that comes along with it... yes, it's selfish but it's true. I have spent months working patiently with him, but I am nearing the end of my sweet mommy voice telling him I'm totally not upset that I'm cleaning poop off new underwear or the carpet for the millionth time. Totally not upset!

But not only that, he is missing out on things because he's not potty trained.
He can't go to the amazing preschool his brother went to until he is trained. He can't go to half-day day camp (which he is so desperate to attend with his brother) because he's not potty trained. And I've seen the embarrassed look on his face when he's playing with his friends and realizes that he's forgotten to go to the bathroom and ended up needing to sneak away for me to change him.

So what am I missing?
Is there a secret to potty training I have yet to uncover?
A way to motivate my sweet little one to pee and poop on that darn toilet?
A magic key to unlocking the I'm not going to go in my pants gene?

Help! He just won't potty train!


  1. It sounds like you have tried everything and more! My educated guess (of course my only experience is potty training girls) is that he will potty train only when 'he's ready'!
    Until then.....keep on keeping on!

  2. I wish I could offer some insight, but unfortunately, we suck at potty training. Q didn't use the potty consistently until after M was born and M only seems to want to use it when it's super annoying and inconvenient for me - like in a public washroom, or half an hour after she goes to be, or when we're in the car. Otherwise, she just announces she's peed and gets a new Pull-Up. She has pooped on the potty, but mostly, she can't be bothered.

    Good luck!

    1. My 1st born was like this. It became such a battle that I finally gave up trying and let him dictate the potty training schedule. Sure it took longer than I would have liked. He was 3 1/2. But it was way less stressful and he didn't go to JK in diapers.

    2. I wish I had the magic bullet of advice for you :( You've probably already tried it but what about letting dad take over the potty training on a weekend? Sometimes it just takes a different person. Or maybe going home straight away when he has an accident rather than discreetly changing him? I'm all for positive reinforcement though we never did rewards like stickers or candy with either since we approached using the toilet as just something we do as big kids rather than something special to be praised for - unfortunately we found letting ours face the natural consequences (wet pants/going home) to be more effective. I'm sure before long diapers will be a very distant memory!

  3. Ugh, my son was the same! We tried everything, and then one day I just lost it, he deliberately peed on his sisters bedroom floor (carpet, of course!) while I was drying her off from bath time. I made him help me clean it up, then I took away his underwear since he wasn't ready to use them (he was pretty upset about that). I completely stopped asking him to potty, told him he could let me know when he was ready and didn't bring it up at all after that. A few weeks went by and then he randomly told me he was going to wear underwear to daycare. I thought 'Ok, sure you are, you've never gone a day in your life wearing underwear', but I just let it happen and he came home dry and has been potty trained ever since. He just had to decide for himself I guess.


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