Potty Problems

Received Thursday, March 13, 2008-Perspective & Opinion
Hey guys. I, (jerseyxjacqui) actually have a question...

I have been potty training my charge for about 3 weeks now (she turned 2 at the end of December)...she's doing a great job with me and just recently started informing me when she has to go, as opposed to me just saying, "OK IT'S POTTY TIME!"

The problem is, she won't go for mommy and daddy. Hasn't done it ONCE and almost seems traumatized when they bring the potty up.
I know they're not pushing her too hard and I know they're definitely not making potty time traumatizing in other words, we're all on the same page regarding how we approach the training.
We have made it a fun routine for her...we read a "potty book" and play a little quiet game where we listen closely to hear the pee-pee in the potty. She loves it and I think the repetition is good...When she DOES do pee-pees she gets one M&M as a treat (she doesn't eat ANY junk or candy throughout the day so it truly IS a treat for her). We decorated a little tupperware container for her POTTY M&Ms with stickers and crayons so she had something special to go to each time she uses the potty.
It's working great..ONLY FOR ME though!

I understand the caregiver/charge vs parent/child dynamics are completely different and often times the way the child acts with each is completely paradoxical...still though, I don't want her to become a potty expert with me and only me, especially considering mommy is going to have a baby in a few months.

Her parents are great and like I said, we're all on the same page with the potty training...Does anyone have any suggestions for us? We don't want to have to stretch out the process, for HER sake or make it at all stressful for her.

Not advice, but your post reminded how all of the lovely kids I was lucky enough to have in my life have so loved this video. But be warned, you will never get the lyrics out of your head!-JD


LindaLou said...

did the child initiate the pottying process or did you and the parents? at barely two, maybe she's not ready yet. also, she's likely to regress once the new baby arrives, so i honestly wouldn't even be bothering with it right now. that's just me. i hate the idea of parent lead potty training. i waited until my kids practically begged me to go on the potty (they were all close to 3) and they all figures it out in just a few days. if you start too early, potty training can go on for a year or longer and it can become really unpleasant.

shel said...

we are training here, too. little chickie turned 2 in january and we just started about a month ago. the parents and i had conflicting opinions on how to go about training, so i am just going with their ideas. little chickie showed definite interest, so we are going full steam ahead. we are all doing the same thing (as far as i know) and she's doing well. slowly but surely.

perhaps your little one is still not fully ready. i can't figure out why she'd be SO excited and willing to do it with you, but not with mom and dad. the only thing i can think of is that the experience so far has never been a bad one with you (no negativity, etc.) perhaps there was one (and sometimes that's all it takes) negative training time with mom or dad and she's holding that with her?

A nanny who cares said...

Speaking from experience, I think she is probably still too young. You also mentioned that there is a new baby in a few months. If she hasn't been COMPLETELY potty trained by then, she will most likely regress leaving you and the parents frusterated after all that hard work. I would just leave it alone right now. Or, just allow her to use the potty when she asks.

atl nanny said...

I agree with the others -- if a new baby is due in just a couple months anyway, I'd table it unless she's initiating. Certainly don't deny her if she asks to go potty, but if she doesn't seem ready, just leave it be. She's a little on the early side anyway and sure to regress once the new baby comes.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I also think 2 is too young. I don't understand why it seems some Parents think there's a race for "my kid was potty trained before your kid"! It's so silly.

I agree with 'Shel' ... something negative, no matter how slight, had to have happened for your charge to not be as accomodating to her Mom & Dad as she is with you. Maybe they had a small argument while in the midst? ... or maybe she had a bellyache at the time and equates it with her training with them? ... or perhaps she's upset Mommy & Daddy aren't home with her? ... I mean, who really knows? Maybe you could try asking her why since she seems so comfortable with you?

And I hate to be pessimistic, but there really IS a good chance she'll regress after the new baby is born. (Thanks for that bit of info) - So, I hope the Parents are aware of this and won't be too disappointed and try to pressure her.

Anyway, you seem like you're doing all the right things, keep it up and hopefully she'll come around.

Anonymous said...

My fully trained just turned three year old started hidind in the closet and having potty "accidents" after our new baby arrived.
Just put Pull Ups on her and let her go to the potty when she asks (as somebody else suggested), with all of the perks and treats still attached to that. When she goes in her PUll UP, change her. When SHE'S READY to train, she will let you know and the whole thing will take probably less than a day. She's to young.

just anonymous said...

I would give it a break. It's soooooo much easier to potty train in the summer. That way they can run around w/ not as many clothes on and if they have an accident you aren't washing as much.

It's very common for the nanny to have the child potty trained before the parents. During the week the kids are structured and then weekend is relaxation time and their schedule gets thrown off. I would work on meshing her weekday schedules into the weekends (definite meal times and nap time).

h to the K said...

Parents who hire professional nannies know this to be true.
Nannies are better at doing things like potty training, breaking children of bottles, etc.

I am not saying parents are not good parents. Nor do I think the nannies would necessarilly (but they might) be as great with their own kids. I just see in true, professional American nannies that they have such a work ethic that they research everything and follow through on everything with pride in their job.

I hope that makes sense.
Most professionals love to do a good job.

Sue Doe-Nim said...

I have two kids. My daughter was first and son second. At about 2 my daughter showed interest in potty training and we did basically what y'all are doing and she was potty trained by about 2.5 years.

When she was 2 years 9 months old my son was born.

When she was 2 years 10 months old neither child was potty trained.


First potty training became a battle of wills, then I stopped caring and she was trained.

FYI on a Sunday afternoon when my son was 2 my daughter and her friend had a playdate where they played family and my son was their child.

It took me three days to realize that the girls had potty trained my son.

Seriously, he never had a single accident, it was that easy.

I have no insight about the minutia but I do know that being very relaxed about it all is most helpful.

maggie said...

Sue Doe,
Most days I don't care for you as you rub me the wrong way. But after that last story, I have to say, I really love you.

Liv said...

My charge is this way too (she turned two in November). She will not go potty for her parents, but she never has accidents for me. She also no longer takes naps for her mother, but when I'm here she grabs her blanket and runs to the rocking chair for me to put her to sleep. I don't really know what to tell you about why she does that.

About how to handle it, I would just say to follow her lead. Certainly don't push her, especially with a new baby coming, but I wouldn't completely give up either. If she's still telling you she has to go, keep taking her. Keep having fun with her and don't stress too much about it. Also, if I were you, I would try not to associate the new baby with the need for potty training. You don't want her to feel as though she's being forced to be a big girl because there's a new baby. I think if you keep working with her, eventually it will carry over into her time with her parents. She will get there when she's ready.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand why everybody is so negative and assumes that a 2-year-old cannot be potty trained properly. I know quite a few children that were potty trained at least during day time by that age (not mine, though, I am sorry to say) and it certainly did not seem much harder or last longer than for an older child. It is really a good sign that your charge is informing you when she needs to go. If she becomes fully potty-trained with you, and discovers how convenient and pleasant it really all is, she might decide to do the same with her parents. Then again she might not. But it is certainly worth giving it a try.

Anonymous said...

3:22, I also think children might also have more of an emotional bond with their parents, so that separation issues - and you can view potty-training and bottle-weaning as such - are more easily adressed by people who are not in an intense relationship with the child.

Anonymous said...

3:22, I also think children might also have more of an emotional bond with their parents, so that separation issues - and you can view potty-training and bottle-weaning as such - are more easily adressed by people who are not in an intense relationship with the child.

Anonymous said...

Kids younger than 2 are potty trained. My child was 16 months when she started potty training and by 2 she was trained (daytime)
and by 2.5 she was night time trained. My grand daughters were trained like this too and I had no problems with it.
Maybe because there was never a fuss if there was an accident. With the new grand child I am going to use those new pants that let them know or give a warning when they have to go. The last one is a boy and they are not as easy to train as little girls even with the boat to aim at securely tied up in the bottom of the bowl LOL.
We also didn't push the kids but timed them after eating and said we had to go potty and then they would "have to go " too . They love doing anything we do,so it was kind of easy for us.
My sister's kids were all around 3 or 4 when they were completely trained but that is ok too as some kids take more time . But I never made a big deal out of accidents and it seems if we do that they get a little stubborn about it.

LindaLou said...


i do question whether a young 2 y.o. can be potty trained by my definition. to me, *potty trained* is that child goes potty on their own, without reminders, removes their own clothing then gets dressed again independently, is able to wipe, flush, and wash, etc... most *potty trained* young 2s really just have vigilent caretakers who remind, remind remind, dress, undress, wipe, and supervise washing. that's something that didn't appeal to me. those kids are fully independent at around age three, they just took a year to learn what my kids learned in a few days. i do realize there are some exceptions, of course. it's kind of a joke at our co-op preschool that when any parent claims their young 2 is *potty trained*, you're going to get peed on.

mimi said...

oh dear god...I wish I had parents trying!!! I spent a whole week potty training one of my daycare kiddos only to have the dad ask me at the end of the week "so this is going well, when do we try this at home?" WTF ?? You HAVEN'T tried at home! I coulda killed him there on the spot!

mimi said...

Oh...and as far as "too young" is concerned. My husband was potty trained by 9 months...seriously 100 percent trained! His grandma had him all the time, and being old world I guess started him on a butter bowl when he was weeks old. Apparently some noise she made let him know to go, and he made a signal when he had to go....All way to bizzare for me to ask g-ma more questions...that takes more time than I will ever have!!! But I just thought it was interesting!

chick said...

Well, I do think that since you've started the process, you should continue it, and delve a little deeper into what is happening with mom and dad and your charge. It'll boil down to a control issue, of course, since pottying is the ultimate control battleground! :-)

I would absolutely NOT assume she will regress. I think our attitudes can influence the kids, even when we don't say anything. If she does regress, and you have been using pull-ups for training, keep using them. Going back to diapers would really throw her for a loop!

My just turned 3 yo charge has been using the potty for almost a year. She chose to wear princess panties and use the potty about 3 months AFTER her sister was born, and she has never looked back. Frankly, I think I just got really lucky with timing and interest level. I think the key with her was that I (and her parents) were positive without going overboard, and totally laid-back and neutral when she did have one of the few accidents she had. Again, attitude is a huge influence.

Good luck, and congrats on having a new charge in a few months!

Anonymous said...

My two year old (birthday was last October) boy has been potty training by his own will for about a month. He wears underwear, knows when to go to the bathroom, uses it himself, cleans himself with flushable wipes, flushes, and washes his hands...even at night. I would say the accident rate is about 3 times a week. He is very advanced.

My 5 year old girl, was not potty trained until age 3. It all depends on the child.

You have to assess each situation individually.

I also don't think you should push it too hard. Keep pull-ups around, in case their feeling sick. Don't stress. Most kids will figure it out in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for all the REALLY good advice...I'm definitely going to discuss a lot of these things with them on Monday.

I personally don't think she's too young and in my opinion, she's ready. Like 9:16 said, a lot of it depends on the child...
She's at the age where she is testing her limits, especially with mommy, so I think a lot of it may have to do with that too...It becomes almost like a game, at least from what her mother tells me...Like a lot of kids who are with caregivers during the day, she kind of RELEASES the day's stress when mommy gets home...Maybe that has something to do with it too...

Again, thanks for all the awesome suggestions. :-)

Anonymous said...

They might not be making it traumatizing for her when you are around to see, but possibly on the weekends and weeknights, they are too lazy to go through the whole read a book/treat/congratulations, that they rush through it and she doesn't want them to take her anymore.

Sue Doe-Nim said...

Um Maggie.

Thanks... I think.

nyc mom said...

There have been a lot of great opinions offered on this thread already, but I'll add my two cents of personal experience. My first two kids were very early at some things including walking (8.5mo), potty training (18-24mo for daytime), and reading (letter sounds by 18months, books by 3rd birthday). On the other hand . . . they were very late at other things including talking (first word 13-14mo), nighttime potty training (6yo before we avoided accidents altogether), and math skills. Still waiting to see what #3 will do!

Guess I mean to say that I agree with those who have said that potty training is so dependent on the individual child. No harm in offering the potty, instructions, and some basic positive reinforcement at 18months. Just would not have any expectations beyond a mild interest and maybe you will be happily surprised at the results. It really does sound like OPs charge is ready to give it a good try IMO. She'll come around for her parents when she is ready. Maybe you can schedule a day or two of overlap where you work and mom or dad is home so the child will get double praise and see you are working together. Congrats to you jxj for being so invested in the little one and for having such a mutually respectful relationship with the parents! I hope that is what we all strive for.

Cherri said...

Children can certainly be trained to go potty at age 2. However, many of the instants are lead by the caregiver/parents. There is nothing wrong for parents/caregivers to intiate potty training, it just will take MUCH longer for children to make the connection. Also, give FOOD as a reward can cause protential problem as you are misleading the child in the potty training process. Children need to be REWARDED WHEN THEY ARE DRY not when they go pee/poo because the whole process of potty training is to have them stay DRY. Giving them food when they do business in the potty will ONLY CONFUSE them and they will not differ is staying dry that's important, not going potty ( For those who are familiar with child development and psychology will understand what i mean). My charge started potty training when she was 2 years a 3 month and was trained during the day in the first week and NIGHT TRAINED 6 weeks into the training. The point is: SHE was READY and she initiated the process. Her parents and I are SUPPORTING staffs and followed her lead. I have been taking her to go potty with me (I am the one that goes while she plays next to me) since she was a baby. She was introduced of a potty because she wanted to have one, although she never did do business in it till the day she initiated that she wants to be in her underwear. One Thursday afternoon on our way to our playdate at the park with her best friend, I had to stop to go potty before leaving the house. She asked me: Cherri, where is your diaper?, I answered her with confident: Because I am a big girl and I wear underwear. She said to me: I have underwear. I asked her to show me where they are and she got her first pair of underwear on that afternoon. We had to stop to change for 7 times from 5-7pm, but everything was a blast after that. Like i said: When your charge is ready, she'll let you know. There's nothing you can do to speed up her training unless she is ready.

Anonymous said...

10:33, I understand what you're saying...but my gut tells me that's probably not the case. They're SUCH good parents and laziness is not even an issue. They're attentive, involved and surprisingly knowledgable (but not in a neurotic, anal way) considering she is their first child.

Cherri, GREAT point about the reward only when they go on the potty. I never ever considered that...Very interesting. Should we stop the M&M rewards (I only do that because when I worked in daycare, that's how we potty trained and always seemed to work)....

I know it sounds corny, but I honestly can't wait to discuss all this with my charge's mother on Monday, haha.

Anonymous said...

I thought nyc mom made an excellent post. All kids ARE different, and girls typically earlier to train than boys.

The m&ms worked GREAT for our family. (We called it "peepee candy." Pretty, I know.) But when they figured out they could get an m&m by going potty in the toilet, they were eager to squeeze out anything they could manage and come running to show me what they had done.
And the superhero/princess underwear were also a great incentive. After all, who wants to go potty on their favorite superhero, or a pretty princess? My kids were mindful that there was somebody special there that they didn't want to soil. (Of course, if they have an accident, you have to be sure to let them know it is OK and that you will wash Cinderella or Batman up and they will be good as new.)

Anonymous said...

Usually, potty problems are a control issue. Even a 2 yr old is aware of who is in control and this time, it's her! The fact that she'll do it for you and not for her parents says a lot to me (I'm a grandmother). Since she's only two - back off the potty training for a while until she is ready to actually BE potty trained. That will include going potty for Mom and Dad. Just tell her that we're going to stop potty training until she is ready to go pee-pee all the time - not just for you and then DROP it. Don't admonish her - just forget potty training for a while. Then, when it's initiated again - let Mom begin it- not you. If you allow a 2yr old to have control in this situation - it will begin to happen in other areas. By, stopping, I mean for a month or so - not long term. Tell her she's just not ready yet for big girl underwear until she'll go potty for Mom and Dad or anyone else.

Anonymous said...

I actually think 3:10 is a good suggestion, but in this way ...
I think once you tell your charge that you're not sure she's ready for big girl undies because she won't go for mommy & daddy, I bet she'll change her mind and be very eager to do it for them.

Hey, it's worth a shot.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Lucy and I'm a grandma with two adult children and one grandchild. I agree with the other ladies in this blog, that two years old is most often too early for full bladder control. Obviously there are exceptions but most little ones just cannot tell early enough, when they have to "go" to be able to get to the bathroom in time.

My advice; talk about it, read fun little "potty books," but don't push it. When it is time, the child will easily transition into this new phase of maturity. Also, number one seems easier to learn than number two. Just be patient with it.

ro said...

love the vid JD
sheryl crow would be p'd at the surplus toilet paper.