FROM: atassin
CATEGORY: Jo Frost’s Confident Baby Care
SUBJECT: Potty Training


My son will be 3 next month and refuses to go #2 in the potty. He has mastered #1. He is very good at letting me know when he has to go #1 and doesn’t have accidents at nap or night. However, we cannot get the #2 down. If you ask him if he needs to go “poo” he tells you no. He has went #2 a few times over the last few months in the potty and we do happy dances and all. It just seems that no matter what I try doesn’t work.

HELP ME PLEASE..I’m so tired of cleanig dirty underwear.

Any ideas, I feel like we have tried everything. Thanks.


I think it’s really important to take a mental note of when he does actually go for his number 2’s. There is actually a history of when kids go, some do morning, some do late afternoon and some do after bath time (because the warm water relaxes their muscles). How often they go depends on the child. Some go once or twice a day, sometimes more frequently, depending on the food you’re giving them. It’s important they drink a lot of fluid, because that helps flush out the system. So, keep an eye on his history of number 2’s.

Keep in mind that he might actually be scared to go. If one time it may have hurt him, he may be holding it in. If his accidents are diahrrea, then he’s most likely holding it in, but if they’re solid, that’s probably not the case. Or, if there was an instance where he had an accident in his pants and he was told off, then he might be too scared to go and he’s trying to hide it. That may also be part of his control as well, because if he’s told off for it, then he knows he gets attention.

In regards to the “happy dances,” it just needs to be a bit more low-key. Don’t put him up on a pedestal. I think there has been too much emphasis on the potty and going in it. You need to make sure if he has an accident again, you speak to him in a firm voice and tell him “that’s not good when you do that, I need you to use the potty.” Make sure your tone isn’t scolding, but that it shows a disappointment and lets him know he can do this now and that he’s a big boy.

My questions for you are, as a result of the accidents, did you put him back in diapers and is it now confusing for him? Are there any other things he’s trying to control in the house? At his age, gaining control over things become a big factor. Do you notices changes in his behavior? Are his stools solid or diahrrea? If he’s holding it, you’ll be able to tell because you’ll now have been keeping track of when he goes. Look for telltale signs, does he stand still? Does he turn red or hide or slightly move his bum up? These are signs you should take him to the toilet. Is the bathroom cold and uninvited? Is he sitting on the potty in front of the telly (which should definitely NOT be happening)!

Look out for the answers to these questions and you’ll be able to judge from them. Realistically, this shouldn’t take you longer than a month.

Good luck!
Jo x

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