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Do These 7 Things To Get Your 3-Year Old Potty Trained

There are many things parents can be anxious about and a 3 year old not potty trained yet is definitely one of them. I had a hard time with my boy. We bought him a potty with a frog design on it when he was about to turn three. A year and a single poop later, we decided just to give it away.

He’s five now and uses the toilet on his own. We also just laugh about that old potty seat nowadays, but I can still remember how my spouse and I would get frustrated because our child would simply sit on it and not actually use it. If you can relate to my story, I feel you, and that’s the reason for this post.

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Possible Reasons A Child Won’t Use The Potty

I know a lot of parents who would blame themselves for their kids not using the potty. It could be our fault in one way or another, but in most cases, there are reasons that are out of your control.

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Possible Reasons A Child Won’t Use The Potty
He’s Scared Of The Potty

Kids can be afraid of just about anything. The dark, the ‘monster’ under the bed, and even the cold white “seat” in the toilet that has a hole in it leading to who knows where. Perhaps it’s the design of the training potty that’s scaring them.

​If you notice your toddler climbing on you every time you tell him to go to the potty to pee or poop, you’re probably just dealing with a scared child.​

He Feels Things Are Stuck

​It’s common for toddlers who are being potty trained to experience constipation. Aside from being afraid, their minds might be too busy, and so they hold it. Your child may also be a picky eater and don’t get enough fiber, or probably don’t drink enough fluids.

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He’s Not Yet Ready

An average child won’t be physically and emotionally ready to use the potty for training until he’s between 18 months and 3 years old. If your child is a bit stubborn and won’t go near the potty or gets preoccupied when sitting on the potty, he’s probably not ready to train yet.

Common Potty Problems

You need to realize that you’re not the only parent dealing with a 3-year old who won’t use the potty. All over the world, moms and dads are dealing every day with common potty problems such as the following:

  • Child only uses the potty when placed on it.
  • Child pees on the potty but doesn’t poop on it.
  • ​Child is potty trained but still wets the bed at night.
  • ​Child uses only the potty at home.
  • ​Child won’t approach the potty at all.

Signs Your Child Is Ready For Potty Training

The good news for parents out there is that there are visible signs that your child is ready for the potty. Most children don’t start until they are 2 1/2 years old. This happens when daytime bladder control is much more reliable.

However, there are also a lot of kids who are not interested in potty training at all until they are 4 years old. If your child has reached the 2 1/2-year mark, you can start watching out for these signs:

  • Your child is coordinated enough to walk and run steadily.
  • ​Your child urinates a fair amount at a time.
  • ​He has regular, well-formed bowel movements.
  • ​He pops at predictable times.
  • He has dry periods at least a couple of hours.
  • ​He doesn’t wet the bed during naps.
  • He can sit down in one position quietly for at least two minutes.
  • ​He can pull his pants up or down on his own.
  • ​He starts to feel uncomfortable wearing a diaper.
  • He shows interest in your bathroom habits He exhibits a desire for independence.
  • ​He generally cooperates with you.
  • ​He already understands the signals that mean he has to pee or poop.
  • ​He can hold his feeling of having to go until he’s seated on the potty.

These Steps Will Get Your Child To Actually Use The Potty Successfully

Once you recognize that your child is ready to be potty trained, you may go through these steps to encourage him to start using either his own potty or the toilet in the bathroom.

1. Decorate His Training Potty
  • One of the possible reasons mentioned earlier that kids won’t use the potty is that they’re scared of the idea of sitting on a weird-looking seat. One way to get them comfortable is to have their potty decorated. Some models of potty you can get on the market have plain designs.
  • You can make your child’s potty look more attractive by either painting it or adding fun stickers to the sides. Alternatively, you can buy him a potty with interesting features. This model, for instance, comes with a “flush” that produces a twirling water action, and some musical ditties when pressed.
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2. Let Him Choose His Training Pants

Take your child shopping so that he can choose his own training pants. For boys, underwears with superhero designs are always popular. If you have a girl, you can spark her interest with underpants that feature her favorite cartoon character. Moreover, talking up the outing ahead of time usually works in getting toddlers excited.

3. Be A Role Model

Young children quickly learn when they’re rightly guided. If you have a boy, talk to your husband and encourage him to show your little one how it’s done. I also encourage the fathers to be the one to accompany their child when using the toilet. It’s a proven fact that kids flourish when their dads are more involved in their lives.

4. Encourage Him To Do Fun Things While Sitting On The Potty

Going to the toilet is supposed to be pleasurable, and it should be fun for your toddler, too. One way to encourage your child to use the potty regularly is by allowing him to do fun things in between trips to the potty or while he’s sitting down doing his thing. Some parents play educational games such as illustrating to their kids how peeing and pooping works.

Others let their kids wear their Superman cape while using their Superman-themed potty. Some parents let their children read books while they’re at it, or, like in the case of the video below, read aloud “Once Upon A Potty” to keep their child entertained.

5. Reward Him Properly After He Successfully Uses The Potty
  • The keyword here is “properly,” because your child might get self-conscious if you make a big deal of every successful trip to the potty. You can celebrate a milestone by giving him a small reward like decorating his shirt with stickers. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to reward your child.
  • A couple of privileges some parents use include bedtime reading and a time to play outside. You can even use singing as a reward if he’s musically inclined. Incorporating songs to his training will help support your child’s learning.

If you’re wondering what types of songs to reward or teach him, here’s almost half an hour of potty training songs:

6. Pick A Good Location
  • Toddler toilet seats that go on top of the toilet can be intimidating for your child to use right away. Not to mention that he may need a stool to reach it on his own. In that case, you can start with a potty chair that your child can easily get comfortable with.
  • Initially, you can place it in an area in your house where your child spends most of his time like the living room or his play area. Gradually move the potty closer to the bathroom, and when he starts to get comfortable with the idea, you can then work your way up to a toddler seat for the toilet.
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7. Choose The Best Method For Your Child

Each child is unique, and what may work for another person’s child may not work for yours. For this reason, you would want to pick a method that works best for your little one. If your child is more comfortable adjusting to changes gradually, then use a routine that would allow you to train him progressively over a period.

But, if none of the tricks you’ve tried worked, you can simply go cold turkey on him. Pick a day, put him in his regular underwear, and wait what happens. There will definitely be more than a couple of incidents, but you need just to keep on changing him and tell him that he needs to use his potty instead.

Over time, he’ll get the hang of it and will be potty trained within a couple of days. He will still have occasional accidents, but the once-and-for-all switch can be considered a huge success.

Be Patient And Don’t Think About It Too Much

If your little one isn’t getting the hang of it or still continues to resist using his potty even after weeks of training, it’s okay to take a break. Perhaps he’s not ready yet, and you will need to try again in a month or two.

Finally, be sure not to allow yourself to get too stressed about the entire process. Be patient and persevere, and you will eventually see your child succeed. After all, I have yet to see a child who has gone to high school in diapers. How about you guys?

How did you potty train your 3-year old? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, tips, and questions with us through the comments section below!

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