Q&A: My toddler is suddenly losing interest in potty training. Help!
My daughter is 22 months old and I think she is ready to potty train. She tells me when she has gone pee and poop. One book said to start out by saying, "Time to go potty," and putting her on the potty seat every three hours or so until she eventually goes.
She was excited at first but I've been doing this for three weeks now and she has never gone. Plus now it's a struggle almost every time I want to put her on the potty. I don't ever force her to sit on it but she is definitely not excited to do it. Should I put the potty chair away and try again later? Or just take a different approach?
The most important component for successful toilet-training is a child who is truly ready: developmentally, physically and emotionally. Otherwise, the process can become a long, drawn-out battle. So, I’d focus less on how to train (although this first step that you are using is appropriate), and more on the signs of whether she is ready or not.
The readiness cues are:
- A fairly regular pattern of bowel movements.
- Periods during the day when her diaper remains dry (which signals the bladder’s ability to hold urine).
- The interest in imitating others (specifically, an interest in watching the toilet habits of the same sex adult).
- An ability to follow a simple instruction.
- Some ability to signal the need to go.
This last is important. She needs to show you that she has to go, by running to a corner or some other behavior, in order to have enough time to get to a toilet.
If all these cues are already present, back off for a little while, then try again. If not, wait until your daughter signals that she is ready. Most children have passed their second birthday before starting the process in earnest.