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Ages & Stages

My daughter, now three, is fully trained, but she seems to hold it in until the very last minute, so we have to rush her to the bathroom before she has an accident. How can I get her to tell me sooner when she needs to go?

Your child may not yet realize that she needs to use the bathroom until a minute or so before the need becomes too urgent to control. To help her increase her awareness of this need, talk with her about what it feels like to have to use the bathroom.

Your child may not yet realize that she needs to use the bathroom until a minute or so before the need becomes too urgent to control. To help her increase her awareness of this need, talk with her about what it feels like to have to use the bathroom.

Gently press on her lower abdomen and say, “When it starts to feel a little achy here, you probably need to pee.” When you notice her doing the “bathroom dance”—squirming or twisting in place or holding herself between her legs—say to her, “It looks like you need to use the potty,” and casually suggest that the two of you “try and see.” Set her on the potty (unless she resists strongly) and let her experience urinating in response to these actions.

Creating a long lead-in time is usually simply a matter of teaching your child to link physical sensations with desired behavior.

 

Last Updated
7/9/2013
Source
Guide to Toilet Training (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.