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Potty Training: Why Won't My Toddler Pee in the Potty?

By August 8, 2009

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A mom writes about potty training:

"My son is 2 years old and has been showing signs of potty training readiness for months. He sits on the potty often and always uses it to poop but he will not pee there. Instead, he holds it in, brings me a diaper and begs to pee in it. We take him to the potty, which is by the couch in the living room and have him sit down. Then he just sits there crying and wants to pee in the diaper. Sometimes I put him in cloth training pants and he will go in those, too, but not in the potty. He's been to the doctor so we know there's no infection or pain. We don't know what to do."

I'm so glad that this mom has ruled out anything medical. That's a good first start. I think that some of the problem comes from him possibly needing a little more privacy (some toddlers do not like to go when they're being watched) and he may not want to sit down to go pee.

Read more of this answer or leave your own answer to this mom's question below.

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August 10, 2009 at 2:22 pm
(1) Jan says:

This is quite natural sometimes with little boys. What you don’t see, you don’t miss or question. What we take for granted, can be quite scary for a little fellow. Even though there’s no infection, urine can be fairly warm to hot as it leaves the body. Having something (such as material against the penis, can alleviate the sensation that is natural as one urinates. Small children can’t always relate to watching while the stream of water leaves their little bodies. Getting him to concentrate on something away from his body while urniating instead of the function he is performing, will usually remove the anxiety he is experiencing. A trick that usually works with little men is to make a game out of it. If you are outdoors out of sight of others, let him run around without anything on below his waist. Then find a weed and mention that it needs some water. Ask him if he could use his little hose to water it. You might have to draumatize how dry that little weed is and oh how much he could help by just giving it a little water, but both of you will rejoice once he accomplishes this task and he will. Make a big deal of it noting that the weed is really thankful. Also, if you happen to be the father, you could also play a little game with your son out of the eyesite of anyone else. Place some cherrio’s, etc. in the toilet, the father hits one and then he tells his son to try. Mom, you can do it too. Perhaps you can’t participate physically, but you can reward him with some little treat each time he hits the target. Make sure too, that he either stands on your feet leaning his back against your knees while you help him guide his little hose if he is too short. Also if he feels comfortable doing so by himself, that he has a little stool to stand on. Or, you, not him, holds his little potty up to his body while he performs this funtion. In the beginning, always make a fun game out of it. You won’t be disappointed. I must mention too, that once making the change from diaper to training pants, doesn’t return to diapers, not even at night. For nap or nighttime sleep, just put a protective sheet over the mattress under the top sheet. Put a pair of plastic pants over his training pants for bedtime or naptime. I’m saying this assuming the caretaker is following the procedure for potty training success. Putting a child back and forth from diapers to training pants will send the child a mixed message when potty training. Timing and routine is everything when it comes to potty training.

August 17, 2009 at 10:12 pm
(2) Melissa says:

I run a small daycare in my home and help the parents in my program with potty training their children. I make a potty chart for daycare & for the parents at home. Put the childs name on the paper & the date you started potty training. Make many small boxes on the paper for making a check eveytime the child does something in the potty. I use 2 colored pencils, like blue for pee & brown for poop. After I show the child how to use the potty. I let the child know that I will give them a check on their chart when they go pee or poop. then the child gets to see his or her progress. The child also get 1 M&M when they go pee & 2 M&Ms when they go poop. If the child does both at the same time they get 3 M&Ms. Every time the child uses the potty let the child know what a great job that he or she did. Also let the child know once the potty chart is filed with all the checks the child will get a small gift & certifacate stating their name & good job at potty training. This works really well & the parents just love this way of potty traing & the child feels so prood of themself, but just one thing you just need a little bit of patience and the child will learn how to use the potty.

August 20, 2009 at 11:07 am
(3) Angie says:

Hi, my daughter was the same way, except that she would not poop in the potty either. Just this past Saturday she woke up with a dry diaper and I decided that she was going to pee in the potty no matter how long it took. Well after an hours worth of reading books, singing songs, making faces in the mirror and whatever else I could do to distract her, she finally went. She stood up in the middle of it and some got on the floor, which really upset her, but I clapped my hands and made sure that I really praised her with a big smile on my face. I showed her the pee in the potty and kept praising her and clapping and telling her how happy and proud I was and she caught on and started smiling and getting excited herself. I then gave her a sticker. The next day she went again and it only took about 15-20 minutes and that time she did not get off the potty while she went. I am hoping that now she will start making more progress. I know it isn’t the norm to sit in the bathroom for an hour, but she is almost three and I was determined to show her what she was supposed to do.

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