Can You Help Me With My Biggest Struggles?

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In the survey in December I asked you to tell me what was currently your biggest struggle with family life. The range of struggles was vast and I have factored these issues into my content plan to cover many of these topics this year. Some of which I have already done like the issue of balance.

Today I thought I would share what my biggest struggles are – and they are all about training!

Toilet Training

The youngest one has been “toilet trained” since September. Problem is, it is only for number 1s. He takes himself to the toilet and I don’t have to worry about number 1s at all. He doesn’t wear nappies anymore – not even for day or night time sleeps, but we have big problems when it comes to number 2s.

Basically he never goes to the toilet for this. He will take himself off somewhere I can’t see him, squat down and do it there. I have tried a 1000 things to get him to go on the toilet – none of which has worked.

I would love suggestions on how we might move past this stage, as I am a little bit over it!

Puppy Training

I love our puppy Lucas, but he is driving me a little crazy with some of his antics. He is pretty much an inside dog and this is causing me two key problems:

  1. When I show after the gym in the mornings, he frequently comes in and takes my gym clothes and runs outside with them. I know I could put them up and that would stop that, but he will often pick up any stray item of clothing that is lying around and tear out of the house with it.
  2. He climbs up onto the dining table. I can clear the table straight after dinner, let him back inside (we feed him his dinner outside at that time) and turn around five minutes later and he is on top of the dining table sniffing around.

If you have any ideas on the best way to train him out of these habits I would love to hear it. (Special thanks to Jeremy who when I was discussing the problem with him, suggested I use the knowledge of my readers to work out a solution!)

Any training causing you grief at the moment?


  1. says

    OK – Toilet training for the good ol’ number 2…become a Skinnerist (child theorist) and resort to bribery…I am not an advocate of rewarding what I class as normal behaviour, but if you make it a one time thing, and make it something good – it could be all he needs just to inspire him to the toilet.
    You could also try having a little cd player that you can play a cd of his favourite songs on to relieve the boredom factor or sitting on the toilet, because a lot of the time children are reluctant to go to the toilet for a poo because it takes too long in the scheme of their playing. they prefer to play and then just squat where they are are rather than feel they will miss something (don’t ask me why – it just seems to be…lol)..

    As for the dog – discipline and more discipline…It is a fact that a well disciplined dog is a happier dog – so I would be almost cruel in your punishment of the dog for doing something wrong and over the top with the praise for doing something good….I am not suggesting for a moment that beat your dog, but you have to find a way to let him know it is bad and won’t be tolerated…It is a definite case of being cruel to be kind….You may consider feeding the dog inside rather than outside, so he can see you eating as he eats..Also, if you never give him human food, he will never crave it and so should never search it out. (Just so you know, I have had some experience training pointers which we used to work along side a ferret and a shotgun, so they had to be very well trained).

    Hope this proves helpful and not hogwash :-)

    Lou :-)

  2. susan says

    When I was toilet training, I would leave a potty in the main play area and one outside, as my son would not use the toilet for no2. Than I left it, he graduated from the pottly to the toilet on his own accord the pottys were put away for no 4. Regards Susan

  3. Hayley says

    Try putting a ping pong ball in the toilet to encourage doing no. 2 by asking them to try and sink it. The ball doesn’t get flushed as it just pops back up.
    I personally haven’t done this but my Aunty and uncle were having trouble with their son and it worked wonders for them.

    • says

      I remember putting a ping-pong ball in the toilet so my son had something to aim for but some people who visited fished it out because they thought it had fallen in there. I just gave up in the end and my son still mostly sits on the toilet to wee.

  4. Judy says

    Good old bribery – my 3 year old refused to go to the toilet. I would show her the jelly bean and put it in the container where she could see but not touch. She could have it when she did a poo on the toilet. When she poo’d elsewhere it was “OK jellybean for poos on the toilet – maybe next time. Worked within the week with her trying to poo everytime. Good luck.

    • Kerry says

      Bribery can work well, I think it is important to find what the child likes, what is there favourate thing, and then use that to encourage going to the toilet. All suggestions sound good, one more might be a “Social story” about doing Poo’s in the toilet, and you could talk about how everyone enjoy’s doing there poo in the toilet. You could talk about different toilets and place’s but make it fun and something the whole family could read to encourage little one to do poo in toilet.

  5. Anna says

    We had a similar problem with No2’s. With his nibs just declaring “it didn’t matter” we also tried many things.
    Then went back to first principles reward the behavior you want and ignore the behaviour you don’t want.
    You’ve got to find out what he wants, for us it wasn’t the list of non food items I had purchased but it was chocolate frogs ( the single serve ones wrapped in plastic)! We took his nibs to the shop to buy a bag and then promised one for every No2 in the toilet. I think the key was the no questions asked “here is a frog” aspect, it didnt matter if it was before breakfast it was his reward to eat when he got it. It didn’t even take one whole bag of frogs to resolve the problem, and after two weeks or so he didn’t even remember to ask for one. I’m not an advocate of food as a reward but this worked do seamlessly.

  6. Marco says

    Keep a spray bottle of water handy. Whenever the dog jumps on the table, say “No” firmly and squirt him with it. It won’t hurt him in the slightest, but he won’t like it and will understand it’s better not to jump up.

  7. says

    I don’t have any advice, only solidarity. We saw the GP last week because we are having issues with teaching Bebito to use the toilet at all. I know it’s not totally out of the norm but at 3 & a half he’s yet to “get” it at all and we are now off to the Paediatrician to see whether there are some underlying issues. Looking forward to reading the advice you receive. X

    • Heather says

      Cat, I’m so glad you’ve posted your story – we are in the same boat with our 3 & a half year old, but haven’t gone the medical route yet…. he just doesn’t seem to identify the sensation of urinating or defecating…. I’d love to hear how you go at the Paediatrician.

      Oh & good luck!

      • says

        I’m so glad I read the comments! Cat, we are in the same boat. Chatterbox is 3 & 2 months and shows no interest in going to the toilet at all. I didn’t even think to go to the doctor. Curious to see what paed says. Will email you to chat more I think!

        • Sonia says

          Hi all,
          we were in the same frustrating boat until our maternal health nurse suggested we see a specialist continence nurse. Cost a bit, but we wish we’d done it sooner. (Our son just turned 4 last week.)
          Left the pull ups behind after that first (and only) meeting (Dec 17, 2011) and he’s never looked back. He had (literally) 2 ‘accidents’ in the next week, but that was it…clean and dry, day and night now (apart from the odd night when he’s had an exhausting day)
          Not sure about your rules on this blog re advertising, but I can’t speak highly enough of Elaine, the nurse we saw. Here is their website.

          If you want any more details about our experience, please email me:

  8. Deb says

    I know this may seem like a stupid thing but have you asked him why he does it? I know when one of my girls was being toilet trained, the eldest one thought it would be funny to flush the toilet while sitting on it – this caused a huge problem in getting her back on there and convincing her that she wasn’t going to get flushed down.

    With the dog. I have found they have the most annoying habits until they are about 18 months to 2 years old – to the point where you are ready to give them away to anyone! While there is light at the end of the tunnel, this doesn’t mean you can let them get away with it. You need to be firm but not cruel, have a cranky look on your face, use a deep voice and single words ‘DOWN’ ‘OUT’ ‘NO’, while pointing where you want him to be. Then praise him when he does want you want with a happy face, higher pitched voice. You probably need to start him off with some basic training first, (sit, stay, come etc) with rewards when he does the right thing. (a tiny piece of liver treat worked wonders for our dogs) I’ll warn you though, it is much harder when the kids are around because they all seem to join in and the dog gets confused, so maybe warning them to not say anything or to turn their back on him with arms folded to show disapproval while you discipline the pup might help. Good Luck with both.

    My challenge is to get the kids to not talk to me while I’m ‘trying’ to study. I have signed up for a degree and am finding hard to concentrate on my readings while there is anyone in the house. Uni and the kids must be on separate sides of my brain. I have made funny little signs to let them know that I am studying not just ‘on the internet’ but they forget or think whatever they have to say is more important. We are working on it though.

  9. says

    I have the same problem with my 3.5yo. She has been #1 trained since Jan last yr but not #2. Have tried all the suggestions above and still no luck. Our health nurse says if she holds on she will eventually lose the sensation of needing to go and this worries me. Am looking forward to more suggestions.

    • Kerry says

      Your health nurse is right, but don’t panic……which can be hard when children are not doing what they are suppose to do. Unfortunatly we can’t make our children always do what we wnat them to. I have suggested ” Social story”, having fun writing up a story about what you would like to see your child do. It could be in the form of simple routine, step by step instruction with photo’s or you could have a go at googling social stories for Tiolet training, which may give you some. I find that when you make stories yourself and let kids jion in, it is more fun and it means more. Soon once you have book, get your child to read it to everyone, hopefully they will feel so relaxed about subject that they will then try Poo in tiolet.

  10. says

    Hmmm – we had a lot of trouble getting Mr 3 to toilet train at all, until a couple of weeks when it just seemed to click for him. He was ready to be a ‘big boy’.

    Maybe try some regression theory – if you can’t do No. 2’s in the toilet then you will need to go back into nappies, because it is yucky and can’t keep being cleaned up for him. This is a family, and you can’t have that happening with other people around, etc, etc.

    We also made sure Ryan understood that he couldn’t go to kindy later this year, unless he was fully toilet-trained, as they won’t take kids in nappies into the big group.

    The thing that really got Ryan to start using the toilet was to put a potty in the lounge room, where he could use it while still watching tv or playing with this cars! Once he got the idea that it wasn’t a big deal, he then moved to the big toilet pretty quickly.

    Good luck! What’s really bugging me at the moment is the screaming – how can I get the kids to stop shrieking at each other, and us, the moment someone bumps them or they are told ‘no’? We have tried working on ‘inside voices’, but no luck so far…..

    • Kerry says

      Sometimes when you talk about inside vioces, you need to counter act vioce volumes with ” this is your outside vioce” and dothis when walking around shops, park, any place, where you can practice all the types of vioces. Have fun with it,” If we where at the football, what vioce would we use”,” if we where at Church, what vioce would we use” etc. Takes time for kids to get this kind of message. Good luck.

      • Kerry says

        I am just looking at how I have spelt Voices ” Vioces “, terrible at spelling sometimes….lol

      • says

        Wow, that is great advice – thank you! I am not good at remembering to counter-balance the lessons with the fun side :-)

  11. Jacqui says

    We love the book The Complete Idiots Guide to Positive Dog Training by Pamela Dennison. The “leave it” command would work well with your clothes or anything else you don’t want puppy to go near. Most puppy school teach this or it would be available on line to google. And the table clearing… well pop something better on the floor (liver treats etc) after dinner and eventually they learn that the good stuff is somewhere else. I like the book as you are rewarding the dog doing the right thing and ignoring the wrong. It’s treat based and my pup learned very quickly. You are not constantly saying “no” to your dog (until it thinks it’s name is “no”! And as with any dog they need exercise and a stimulating environment, toys, bones, games etc to keep them out of trouble. Our puppy is 2 years old now and the effort in training while young has paid off but I still pick up the book when something needs attention. Good luck!

  12. Aly says

    Apologies if my suggestion has already been made as I don’t have time to read everybody else’s comments but for the puppy dog – a water spray with some vinegar worked for a friends cats so I tried it on my puppies and it worked for them too. You do have to catch them in the act and squirt as they are misbehaving but my puppies soon tired of getting squirted in the face and gave up being pests!
    I’m not up to TT yet so no experience there, sorry!

  13. says

    I feel for you Nicole. I had exactly the same issue with my 3 yr old and just recently when she started kinder, she regressed and started doing it again. Unless there’s a medical problem I have taken this approach and it’s worked really well.
    1. Talked about the poo and where it goes etc (some kids suffer from poo separation anxiety – don’t laugh, it’s true!)
    2. Started with a favourite treat for each poo in the toilet (a marshmallow in my daughter’s case – your son will have his own favourite like Anna suggested). I know everyone has a different opinion about rewards but seriously who doesn’t reward themselves in some way or another when they’ve accomplished something new. In my experience kids aren’t any different?!
    3. Moved on to the pretty pink reward chart and where she got to colour in a flower each time she did a poo. With a bigger reward in the end. The reward goal posts getting incrementally harder until one day he just does it and doesn’t even bother filling out the reward chart. It eventually does happen but it could be a few weeks.
    4. Applause the moments – some families are more low key than ours but I seriously ‘overdid’ the praise of pooing in the toilet.
    5. Bite your tongue and repeat steps 1 to 4 when accidents or regressions happen.
    I didn’t mean to take over your post here, but this is such a fresh memory and it felt good when we implemented the same plan when she regressed and it took only 2 days to resolve. Good luck!

  14. says

    What an amazing array of ideas I have to try! I will be giving some of them a go soon and let you know how I go with them! Thanks so much for taking the time to give me your advice, very much appreciate it.

  15. bec says

    I can offer suggestions for the dog. Don’t chase after him with the clothes. This will become a game. Don’t even acknowledge him when he takes them – game again. Hopefully by ignoring the behaviour he will soon tire of it. Have you tried feeding him AFTER you eat dinner. Dogs are pack animals, and need to and are more comfortable knowing how they stand in the pack. You eat first (with him outside?) and then feed him when you are all done. Don’t know if this will help, but worth a try!

  16. trish says

    Oh I feel for you re number 2s! It was a year between my son being toilet trained for 1s to 2s. Sticker charts, bribes (lollies and toys), talking about how his ‘poo wants to go to the poo party in the toilet’ all did not work with this kid. Basically we negotiated him doing it in a nappy in the bathroom (he would let me know when he needed to do a poo, nappy on then straight off once he’d finished)… then negotiated him doing it in a nappy whilst sitting on the toilet… then negotiated only using nappies with holes in them (that I’d cut)… then finally doing them in the toilet sans nappy – that was a month a go, and no looking back since. Hooray!! It probably helped that his 20 month old little sister became toilet trained the week before that too. Good luck!

    • says

      My physio, who has experience with bowel issues with children, recommended this tip to us and it worked for our eldest daughter (although I never got as far as cutting a hole in the nappy).

  17. Emily says

    Forgive me if you have already talked about this before, but do you do regular training with your dog? And have the kids involved or at least present – they need to learn what to do too. Pick a puppy trainer that doesn’t use choker chains (or check chains or whatever you want to call them). Regular exercise also helps with any behaviour problem – at least one walk a day, some dogs need 2 while they are still boisterous puppies, and no, running around the backyard with the kids doesn’t count. I think while all the firm commands to get down off the table are fine, the water spray is still punishment and you need to stop him from getting up there in the first place. Once he has a good grasp of sit, drop, stay etc, have him always do these things whenever he comes near the table. It’s a bit of pack animal thing, but the kids also need to get him to sit/drop/stay, to help him learn he can’t get up like that – it’s a dominance thing to want to get up higher than everyone, not just a food thing. Have dog appropriate rewards (not table scraps) to reward him when he sits/drops/stays nicely next to the table. As for the clothes, the “leave it” command suggested already is the best option – it’s worked with our dog. It’s a really important command for whenever they put anything undesirable in their mouth, or when they want to go chase a cat/bird/whatever. (I’m a vet so these would be my suggestions to you if you came to me professionally :) )

    • Emily says

      Just to add, with the treats for sitting next to the table, preferably don’t have them up on the table; maybe in your pocket. Make it so NOTHING nice ever comes off that table in the dogs mind!

      • Emily says

        Sorry, just me again! Another thing – put him out for your dinner, then feed him when you let him in after dinner. He probably wants to see what you’ve all been doing while he was out, if you distract him with a bowl of food, that’s much more exciting for him. If he’s already fed outside then let in after dinner, he’s bored by the time you let him back in. I think that’s all :)

  18. Leanne says

    I havent got any real ideas on the toilet training, but something they have at my daughters preschool is pictures of kids sitting on the toilet, one where the kid is doing a poo and one doing a wee. Not sure if it helps or not, my daughter she was already toilet trained before preschool. Another friend has a reward chart, get a sticker every time they go to the toilet but maybe you could change it to just be for poo, and at the end of say a week they get a small something they wouldnt normally get but really like. Eg a small chocolate or a toy car. Whatever is a bit special.

  19. Alex says

    ok so the dog problem I can help with I hope!
    Get a water spray bottle and anytime he grabs your clothes or jumps on the table spray him with it! They don’t like this at all and you can put different smelling things in there too! Plus the reason that he is taking your stuff maybe that it smells nice to him! Tuck a new dog toy under your pillow for a couple of nights OR down your shirt (while you are at home, or u may get some strange looks! ;) and then give it to him as HIS toy, not for anyone else! Hope this helps! Sorry I can’t help with the other one! I have a 2.5yr old who is still refusing to sit on the potty so….not much help here!

  20. Jacquie says

    One of my friends had number 2 issues with her daughter. She isn’t allowed much TV time but when she sits on the toilet to do a poo she is allowed the ipad or the portable DVD player to watch a movie! Sounds a bit gross but it worked for her. My 4 1/2 year old is the total opposite – he’s been fine with number 2’s since he was 3 but still has accidents with number ones all the time and no amount of star charts or rewards or anything else made any difference. We are off to the paediatrician next week for some help (hopefully!) Our 2 year old labrador is still the same with grabbing things and running off with them so I don’t have any advice about that! I’m going to try all the other dog advice above though.

  21. Naomi Liddelow says

    Hi Nicole,
    I’ve been having exactly the same no 2 issue with my 3 year old. I recently grabbed the microphone at a shopping centre appearance with Tizzie Hall and shared my poo problems with the world!
    Tizzie said a few things that have worked:
    1. For poo holders bribes/rewards/usual toilet training things don’t work so forget them.
    2. Kid’s often won’t poo on the toilet or near Mum due to shame or fear. All the screwed up faces, reluctant nappy changes and big negative reactions when they poo in their pants = ‘Mum doesn’t like it when I poo’ conclusion AND/OR they’re scared of the feeling of letting the poo go into mid air.
    3. FOR SHAME: She said get really happy and really excited when they do a poo (in any situation, even in their pants at the shops), talk about how wonderful that their amazing body has made a poo and force a smile on your face no matter how disgusting the clean up.
    4. FOR FEAR Offer them a nappy to poo in if they want, but they sit on the potty while they do it.
    After thats worked for a while, sabotage the nappy tabs “oh no, the nappy is broken, I’ll just put it in the potty under you”
    Work your way up to removing the nappy from potty all together.

    I was sceptical but these strategies worked for us. After a few days of over the top excitement, he started proudly rushing to tell me he’d done it…then rushing to tell me he needed to do it.
    Hope that is some help
    Don’t envy you training a puppy at the same time!!!

  22. says

    Put a potty in the place where he does go. Or just make sure it’s a private place… Also bribery work for me too.

  23. Tracy says

    Im not much chop on the toilet training ideas, BUT dogs are my thing so:
    Definitely go with the ‘never chase the puppy’ option! The water spray could work for the dinner table option, but for the clothes stealing your choices are Ignore (and pick up later when hes doing something else), or if he starts chewing them, instead call/lure him to you and trade the clothes for a toy of his own. This will plant in his mind that it is much more fun to bring it to you than run outside with you chasing after (this is usually an attention seeking game for dogs, and it works! They get chased, which is the game they are looking for!) So, dont chase, call puppy or lure to you, have a game with their toy (after they hand over the undies), and pop yours away. From there you can get him to fetch them for you as well!!! They do stop of their own accord eventually, and in the long term it is so much more fun to have a dog who hasnt been told off for picking up and carrying stuff, coz then its easy to teach them to fetch and carry. My dog picks up pegs I drop when Im hanging out the washing, (and brings them to me), brings me my shoes (and other family members), and will pick up anything if you point to it and say ‘pick it up’. This is a really fun game for kids and dog to play when he is older and more trained. This si possible simply by not telling off for the gathering behaviour, but encouraging any found items to be brought to you to exchange for a bigger reward!
    For the dinner table, firstly make sure that when he comes in there is NEVER anything interesting up there, then the jumping up behaviour will fade out (after an initial increase (known as an extinction burst)). Make it difficult for him to hop up – if he is using a chair make sure they are all tucked in, if he jumps straight from the ground have an obstacle there (eg clothes horse/drying rack) when you cant be supervising so you will hear his attempts and be able to reinforce the ‘no’ straight away. (Big growl when you catch him in the act of jumping up). Consider having him inside while you have dinner, so he gets used to being around with food on the table and not being allowed to get up (may need to have him tied to leg of lounge/fridge/nearby furniture initially). And like someone else said, then when you are finished, he gets fed while you clean up – that reinforces his pack order as well as buying you some cleanup time to prepare for his after dinner onslaught! When clearing table, use a spray & wipe type lemon scented product to reinforce to him that the table does not smell yummy (and that there are defintely no gravy smears left from the kids).

  24. Justine says

    Hi, some thoughts on the dog – reiterating what other’s have said. We use some strategies from ‘bark busters’ & from the ‘dog whisperer’ (the sydney-based guy, but also the cesar milan dog whisperer – they all have good ideas) – you can get their book / call them, which includes a loud, deep “bah” at the dog when he’s naughty & then we put him in the laundry for time out punishment. The laundry has nothing fun at all for him in it, most importantly we’re not in there!!! You could try that for the table thing & the clothes thing.
    Similar to what others have said, I would also try rewarding him for doing the right thing instead of the wrong thing. So perhaps you could train him to sit next to your clothes while you shower by giving him doggy treats. This will be a pain in the neck for you the first few times while you have to pop in & out of the shower to keep rewarding him for ‘sit’, or for the ‘leave’ command. You might need to keep him on a lead to do this so you can control him to achieve the positive behaviour. Similar with the table issue. I agree with the comments above about nothing good coming from the table, also about the dominance issue of him being up high & feeding after humans eat (lower in the dominance chain!) We don’t have a perfect dog by any means, but he knows what’s expected of him generally. He also puts himself in the laundry now when I rouse on him for being naughty, which totally cracks me up!!! You might also need to keep the clothes up (gym clothes & other stuff for a while) – our dog ate our socks for a while (yes, he really did & it cost me quite a bit of money at the vets!!!) so we had to be absolutely vigilant at first about him grabbing anything he could consume, now, a year later it isn’t a problem any more, so he will settle down. It will probably take a bit of compromise on your expectations in the short term as well as some inconvenience with the training, but it will be worth it in the end. Most dogs are pretty clever, and food is such a great reward for them. Try the liver treats & pigs ears (if you wanted suggestions) but just their normal kibble is great too.
    Our dog is also much better behaved when he is getting enough exercise & interaction/stimulation – he gets naughtier when we don’t walk / play with him.
    Sorry, I haven’t got ideas for the toilet training apart from rewards – I did find that with our daughter we had to buy the reward/toy first & have it sitting somewhere obvious in the house to entice her to work for it. Buying it afterwards wasn’t nearly as effective. We also didn’t expect perfection – just improvement towards the goal. I also don’t like using rewards much either, but I feel they help in establishing new habits with children. Then I phase them out. (in a perfect world of course ;)).
    Good luck!

  25. Justine says

    PS. Tracy, your ideas rock!!!
    Wish I’d known about rewarding the gathering behaviour. Could be so useful!!! Will start on that one now! :)

  26. says

    the easy one, the dog!! keep a squirty bottle handy & every time the dog misbehaves, squirt him with water. it doesnt hurt them & they get it fairly quickly. at the same time, introduce a command word like ‘leave it’.
    the 2nd issue. use the squirty bottle & squirt him… KIDDING….im not sure im an expert to answer that one b/c my miss E has been toilet trained for over 12 mths & is still having no#1 accidents. you i have tried everything. she has no issues at daycare, kinder or anywhere else, just at home she gets pre-occupied with toys or tv & ta-da…accident. we have just started dance lessons & the threat of wetting her beatiful pink leotard might just be the threat we have needed. unitl then no bribery/con/promise/beg/plead worked! it may well mean she wears that pink thing ALL the time.

  27. Gin says

    For the boy – time.

    My oldest son was like this – he did his first poo in the toilet a month before he turned 4, and was fine from then on. My youngest son is 3.5 and is the same.

  28. Jennifer says

    We had a similar problem with our daughter – but her problem was that she held onto her no.2’s and in the end I resorted to putting her in a nappy as I was worried about her health….
    We tried everything the treats/ rewards, potty in different locations, watching us (!)…
    The root of the problem was that she thought it was all pretty grouse and felt that if she held it in after a while it would stop happening !! So we went down the trail of teaching her all about how all animals do it, how and where (the mole who knew it was none of his business – book helped). Then just by prue chance an older child that she idiolised happened to go to the toilet and we quizzed him about it. “Of course I do poo’s in the toilet” he told us – and without another word on the matter, from then on so did she :-)

  29. Michelle says

    My 5yo was potty trained for both really early… then early this year he suddenly stopped going in the toilet and started going wherever he felt like it outside, and being sneaky about it… I think it was just experimental, but it was driving me a bit batty… I finally stopped it by making him clean it up with me, emphasising what a yucky job it was, and how much easier and cleaner just to flush it… only took one time of having to clean it up himself to stop that…

    The recent episode where he accidentally swallowed his loose tooth & insisted he had to get it back for his “bone and crystal” collection was a whole other story… thankfully I managed to convince him that with two younger siblings who did not share his mania for collecting things, he was likely to have a whole lot of spares available!!!

    I am not one to discourage scientific curiousity… but there are definitely times when a creative workaround is in order!

    My current problem with my 3.5 yo is number 1s – Daddy told him it was ok to “pee on a tree” in order to start him going standing up… now he insists on going over the edge of the deck, which leads to a lot of smelly splashes on the floor… I had success for a while with a wee target in the loo but the novelty of that soon wore off… if only this rain would stop, I would just point him right outside (we live on acreage, so that’s a viable option)!!! In the meantime, it’s a lot of mopping and disinfecting, which I can’t get him to help with as it just spreads the mess more, so maybe helping to clean up his own No2 mess is not so workable with a younger child? Depends on the boy, I guess.

  30. Ellen says

    Is your new puppy a whippet? We have a 2 and a half year old whippet and he is the most beautiful dog:)

  31. says

    Thank you so much for all the tips! I haven’t been online much the last couple of days, apologies for the delay in responding!

    I have been trying some of the suggestions and we are having some wins with the puppy:
    – the spray bottle of water is working well, I think he is getting the idea of what he can and can’t do from this.
    – not chasing him is working well when he takes stuff from the house outside. I don’t know why I didn’t work out of course it was big game. Since we have been ignoring this behaviour he has done it much less.
    – feeding him after our evening meal also seems to distract him from scavenging around the dining table.

    I wish I could say we were having as much success with the toilet training. No progress there yet to date. I am taking the advice of some readers though and trying to worry less about this. We will see how I go with that….

    Thanks so much again for taking the time to give your tips and ideas, I truly appreciated it.


    • Kay says

      Hey Nic, I paid my nearly 5 year old niece $5 for every poo I saw in the toilet. I gave her a $5 note after each time and 4 days & $35 later she was sorted. I think it was because I was her aunty, might not have worked for her mum? Just got our own puppy but he is definately an outside pup, we have found dog toys and walking each day (glad I have a 12yr old for that) have helped him and for a bit of time out you can’t go past the pigs ears – they will do anything for one of those!

  32. says

    I have been reading all the comments with great interest as we are finally doing some toilet training with our second daughter who will be three next month. She has been showing signs of being interested for ages but to be honest, I haven’t been rushing to do it because we had such a lot of difficulty with our first daughter! She withheld her poos for months and it got to the point where I had to medicate her to help her go or else it was just awful for all of us. She usually responds really well to reward but this was a much bigger issue and she realised there was a control issue around doing poos and it became a terrible battleground. Funny that she chose the five days when I was out of the country with her baby sister attending my Mum’s suprise 60th to finally use the loo for her poos…. so lots of control issues to do with me and hence my reluctance to start toilet training this time around! Anyway, lots of very useful advice and suggestions…… also, just wanted to add, I have had lots of laughs reading the comments about your puppy problems and thinking they were talking about toilet training for a minute! I nearly filled a spray bottle with water and vinegar to squirt my toddler the next time she had an accident! Good luck and let us know how you go!

  33. says

    Hi, We had a similar issue with no. 2s, our son would just hold it until he got his night time nappy. We used a rewards chart (he collected stickers for hot wheels cars and got one sticker for a no. 1 and two fora no. 2 in the toilet). We also made sure he came with us to take the dirty nappy off in the toilet and see that poo belonged in the toilet and was flushed away. Other things we did were making a big fuss about his older brother going so quickly and easily on the toilet and we let him see the process with his brother as often as possible. Once we really focused on it he got the message in a few weeks and one day just started going by himself. Hope the day comes soon for you!

  34. Kathy says

    I can so relate to your challenge of toilet training with no 2s. By 3 years old, my son was toilet trained with no 1s all at his own pace. He even went straight to the toilet and standing to do so (which I guess didn’t help with no 2s).

    After throwing out heaps of undies, switching between undies and nappies, and getting over cleaning up. We sort help from a family friend who was a child psychologist.

    She suggested having him sit on the toilet for 3-6 minutes, 15-20 minutes after breakfast and dinner. Even if it was with his pants on to start off with. The idea was to get him used to sitting on the toilet and for a period of time. Reward with a sticker if he succeeded – we rewarded with a few Smartie as he didn’t value stickers.

    We also hung a poster of things he liked on the back of the toilet door, read books to him while he was on the toilet, and basically made the experience enjoyable. Eventually he was happy to sit on the toilet without his pants or company for 6 minutes. I’m not comfortable with rewarding with materialistic things but had resorted to it out of desperation. We told him that when he does a no 2 on the toilet, we would give him a mini wheelie bin (he is obsessed with them) and repeated it every time he had an accident or sat on the toilet.

    Then one day, about a couple weeks later, he did it. We made such a fuss over it that my almost 18 month daughter wanted to sit on the toilet! To encourage the continuation of the going to the toilet for no 2s, we gave him another wheelie bin after 5 times of going without an accident. It worked and we haven’t had to reward him since. Now that my daughter is toilet training, which has been a breeze, he says that she gets a wheelie bin for doing no 2s (she did so about the 4th time sitting on the toilet) :)

    Good luck!

  35. Tamara says

    The longer my 3.5 YO son holds back from completing his toilet training is another month of learning that someone else was in exactly the same boat. 

    What every success story I hear has in common is an ‘ah-ha’ moment – most of them from somewhere other than the mother. And after that mental switch was flicked – months of #2 troubles were over.

    And so I try to patiently wait for our ‘and in the end….. and that was all it took’ moment – but testing out new ideas can never hurt. Thank-you for being so open and asking your breadth of readers for advice. Since reading the comments I’ve had some success with nappy sabotage, and my 20mth old sits on the potty eyeing off jelly beans.

    Since I haven’t had success yet I can’t really give advice but one thing which does help me is to think about it this way: – I would find it very hard to change FROM using the toilet. I honestly don’t think I could make myself go any other way – even if a situation demanded it (I thought of lying in a hospital bed trying to use a bed pan.) Just thinking about it as such a big change does help me to understand a little more – even though I haven’t been able to translate that understanding into an end to stinky nappies!

  36. nepj says

    The toileting issue is a tricky one. We got very desperate one night with our then almost 3 year old son. My husband resorted to making up a story about the poo that wanted to go and be with his friends in a special land, and not be put in the rubbish bin wrapped up in a nappy (my son always asked for a nappy to do no.2 despite being day and night trained for no.1). It worked instantly and he never looked back! Only in recent months did we realise that he had been quite scared of the toilet when he said “remember when i was little and I thought that snakes lived in the toilet?”