21/08/2009 11:24 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Your Potty Training Questions Answered

This recent question for Ask Joanne on how to know if your child is ready for potty training prompted a flurry of other questions on the subject, so I thought it was best to group them together. It's obviously a topic sent to vex us!

Trish says: My girl is 3 and we have been potty training for quite a long time now, but we have to put her on the potty, as she will not ask to use it herself, or she will just wee or poo her pull up pants. We have tried normal pants but she does the same. Have you any ideas, as she starts nursery in a month's time and needs to be clean.

Nicole says: A friend of mine has a son who is six, he still wears a nappy at night which is sodden by morning and no effort to get him out of nappies seems to be being made, will this cause further problems as he gets older because they have left it so late?

and Jay asks:

My 2yr 6 mth old boy does not wear a nappy in the day time at home. He urinates in his potty or in the garden if we are outside but will not defecate in the potty at all. He goes on the tiled floor or in the garden! What can I do to encourage him to use his potty for his poo!!

Here's life coach Joanne's advice for potty trainers:

Dear Trish, Nicole and Jay

Thank you all so much for your questions. Potty training is one of those stages in parenting that can seem like a battle at times, but trust me, you'll get there in the end.

I have observed a difference in the way that boys and girls behave around potty training. Girls can often turn it into a battle of wills, or use it to draw attention to themselves. So you follow your daughter round with the potty all day, and the moment your attention is elsewhere, that's when she'll pee.

So Trish, I suspect that your daughter probably is picking up on your anxiety that she needs to be dry in a month, and is showing you that she's her own person and will do it when she's ready. The more you push, the more she'll resist. So be as laid back as you can about this.

What's the worst that can happen if she's not dry in a month? Talk to the nursery and see what they suggest - your daughter won't be the first child they've encountered like this. You still have time to sort out alternative childcare if she's really not going to be dry. And even though she's three, if she's this disinterested, she simply may not be ready, and you may have no choice but to give her more time. But I bet once you back off, she moves forward.

Jay, you may have noticed that unlike girls, boys often don't fill their nappies for effect - they just forget. Little boys get engrossed in playing with their toys, and before they know it they're sitting in a puddle of pee, or worse. So you need to attract his attention, maybe by using a sticker chart or incentive of a small toy if he does a week of pooing in the loo. And if he's just not keen on the potty, for whatever reason, it's probably a good idea to encourage him to use the loo. The "big boy" aspect of it may appeal.

Nicole it's good to be a concerned friend, but doctors generally don't consider night wetting a problem until a child is at least seven. Children need to develop the hormone which limits the amount of urine produced at night, and this happens at different ages for everyone. There's little any parent can do if a child isn't physically ready.

best wishes and good luck to you all


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