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Failing at toilet training

Community Member

I think this will be a pretty pathetic post but I don't know where else to turn for this advice. I asked Ngala and they just keep brushing it off. 


We have been toilet training our daughter since about January. Yep almost a year. She's 3.5 yo now


We started with the book Oh Cr@p Potty Training. And some principles worked, but not in the 3 days everyone said it should. Or even weeks. Or months. So we bought the Big Little Feelings course and started from scratch. 

But months later we are still having accidents. 


Mostly wees are ok but it's always the poos. 

The worst part is that she just poos and isn't bothered. Doesn't tell us, we just realise when we smell it. 


So our last attempt over a couple of weeks now has been a reward chart. I don't like them in general but we are desperate. 


She starts school in a couple of months! They're going to hate this. 


And because I'm going through a pretty bad (unrelated, though this isn't helping) bout of depression right now, of course in my head this is all my fault. 


We have done everything right, we've never shamed her or gotten angry, we've made sure she understands. She's the most intelligent kid, I just don't know how we can help her get this. 


I'm desperate and just blaming myself so much 

6 Replies 6

Community Champion
Community Champion

hello and welcome.


I'm really sorry to hear that you're going through such a challenging time right now. It's clear that you're doing everything you can to support your daughter in her toilet training journey, and it's important to recognize the effort you've put in.


I will be honest and say that I did a little google search about the issue you mentioned. And I can also understand the pressure you would be feeling when school coming up. The next part I write as a parent, and while my mind might not be able to think that far back about my own children (only 15+ years ago) but my wife was also a swim teacher, and what I did see on google reminded me of a couple of things my wife had said... about kids older than your and toilet training.


Toilet training can be a unique and sometimes lengthy process for each child. And children develop at their own pace, and what works for one may not work for another. The fact that you're seeking advice and trying different approaches shows your dedication as a parent.


As for your concerns about starting school soon, many children experience these challenges, and educators are typically understanding and supportive. Consider reaching out to the school to discuss your concerns and work together to find a solution. They might also be able to point you in some direction for help also?

Take care, and remember that you're not alone in facing these parenting challenges.


Thank you so much for your supportive words, you're very kind. 

It's so hard to find anyone going through this, seems everyone else's kid got it in days or weeks. 


But of course since she is only 3.5 and she is our whole world, I could and would never blame her. Which my brain then turns to blaming myself. 


I mentioned it at the school orientation day and they said they still get kids who aren't toilet trained and it's ok. And her daycare never makes an issue of it. 


But I still feel guilty and like I am doing something wrong. 


I love her so much and want to support her through this. I'm just worried I'll show my frustration and set her back 

Community Champion
Community Champion

I am really feeling for you right now.


And I will also say this ... it's in special moment and when we are vulnerable enough to talk about what really happening in our lives, like you are here. I even think we (wife and I) got some advice from her parents as well. Is there family or friends you might be able to talk to for advice?


And FWIW ... my kids are 20+ now and I get frustrated for a variety of reasons. At the same time, I also have to remember breathe through it. Some things are more important than others. You will get there. I am sure about that.

I feel like I've asked for advice everywhere and it's still not helping. 


I'm starting to become really frustrated which isn't fair on our daughter so I'm not showing it to her. Obviously stressing her out won't help. 

So I'm just internalising it. Along with everything else at the moment

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi LanaKane


Please don't blame yourself for the fact that maybe your daughter's just emotionally switched off from pooing and weeing. Must say, at 53, pooing and weeing isn't a terribly exciting thing for me either unless my bladder's just about bursting and I manage to make it home to the toilet out of a traffic jam that led me to seriously fear peeing all over the driver's seat. Then making it to the toilet can be the most exciting experience of the day 😅. Excitement, peace, relief etc. Some high level mixed emotions there. The old pelvic floor ain't what it used to be.


It's strange how some kids just don't care about certain things. It's like they couldn't have a care in the world, while their parents are just about tearing their hair out. Maybe you've already tried but have you considered making the experience of pooing and peeing in the toilet the most exciting thing your daughter's ever experienced. Sounds a bit out there but maybe something short of a party could be an idea. A balloon, a party popper (with confetti), one of those party blower things that rolls out and makes a little blast when you blow into it or all 3 combined. I smile when I consider my 59yo brother and how my mum says she toilet trained him with the help (bribe) of Freddo Frogs. Without needing the frogs now, he's come a long way 😂. I suppose it's a bit of a Pavlov's Dog thing, conditioning through what becomes a relatable trigger or consequence. When I consider my daughter who's 21, she never felt the need to keep her room clean. I never taught her self discipline in this area. For her, there were just no emotions or consequences associated with a messy or clean room. Now, into a 2 year relationship with her boyfriend, the joy she sees and feels in him when her room clean is her trigger/reward for keeping the room clean. I think unless there's a genuine inability to achieve something (a mental or physical disability, for example), the trigger/reward has to be significant enough as a form of motivation. It's about the motive behind the action of going to the toilet or cleaning the room.


If something like the tiny party celebration works, then it'd be a matter of gradually toning that down/weening her off that strategy, otherwise I can imagine your daughter wanting everyone in her class to celebrate her going to the toilet and her wondering why no one's as excited as her and her parents. Btw, if she's still wearing pull ups, maybe they feel pleasantly dry, even when wet. Discomfort can be another motivating factor.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi LanaKana I can relate to your post with toilet training.My son has autism and is now 11 and still dosnt use the toilet for poos but ok with wees.Your daughter is still young and if you are still worried you can contact a incontinence nurse as I have and this has helped a bit.