Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fear Of Releasing On The Potty: The Bathtub Method

Well, now that I can pretty much say that Adrianne is "potty trained," I feel the need to make a post dedicated to the one and only struggle we ran into throughout the whole process. The reason is because of how extremely difficult it was for me to find any information on the subject whatsoever.

What I did find, however, was a whole lot of moms and dads pleading for help over the internet on the same issue. So I feel it's important to address, for the sake of all those parents out there who need some help.

"She knows when she has to go to the bathroom, but when she sits on the potty she grunts and strains trying to hold it in. She even runs around the house crying because she has to pee so bad but no matter what, she won't do it. Now she is just leaking everywhere because she is past her holding point, but she just can't release on the potty!"

Is that you up there?

That was me while I was potty training Adrianne. She was showing all the signs of readiness. And she was obviously physically ready because she could hold it in for hours! I was so scared and exhausted from chasing her around, trying to get her to pee, that eventually I did the ultimate no-no: I put a diaper on her. That's when I knew I was in trouble, though, because she still would not go pee. She wanted to give up diapers like a big girl, I guess. But it only made me feel even more lost and confused.

Let me tell you, it's not easy watching your baby suffer like that without having a clue what to do. I know what that's like. But I also know that giving up and switching back to diapers is not necessary. At least not until you try this. Backing off of potty training when your toddler is showing the signs of readiness will only send mixed signals and make potty training more difficult when you return to it later on.

Instead, try the bathtub method. This is the solution I came up with in my desperation, and I read afterwards somewhere of a few other people using this method. It worked like a charm for us, when nothing else did. Here is what you do:

Put your baby's potty chair inside the bathtub and run the warm water. Sit your baby on the potty and use a cup to pour the water on your baby's feet and ankles. The sound of the water and the feeling of it will help to force your baby to relax and pee on the potty chair.

With Adrianne, the first time we did this, she strained and whined for a good two minutes even with the water on her feet before she finally couldn't hold it any longer. I could tell immediately that she had gone because her legs went from rigid, trembling boards to soft and relaxed, just like that.

After the first time, the time it took for her to relax after the water hit her toes went down to nothing by the end of the next day.

However, for a week or so, Adrianne would still insist on being in the bathtub to go potty. If your baby does this as well, don't worry. Let her take her time. Eventually, you will be able to slowly ween your baby out of the bathtub. Start by placing the potty chair next to the tub while running the water. Adrianne was completely able to pee without running water and without being in the bathtub within a week or two of starting potty training altogether. This method was a miracle for us.

If you don't have a bathtub that you can put the potty chair in, perhaps you can try CAREFULLY putting the potty chair on the counter next to the sink and doing the same thing. Just make sure you hold on to both the potty and your baby and make sure there are no falling accidents. Or you can try maybe using a large bowl full of warm water in front of the potty chair on the floor and use a cup to pour the water on your baby's feet and make the pouring water sound.

Good luck and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I will do my best to help you.


  1. I'm a child development specialist and this is very interesting to me. Glad it worked!!

  2. We are having this exact problem with my 23 1/2 month old daughter. She holds it for hours and totally cries and screams when releasing on the potty. I'll give the bath tub trick a try but what did you do when you had to leave the house?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That's a really good question and really I think the only answer is that we didn't actually go anywhere with her until she was fully comfortable with just going without the tub, which only took a week or so. We were able to take her to her grandparents' homes, where she was still able to use the tub. Good luck!

  3. Had one successful pee using this method today- however, when I tried it just now before bedtime, all she wanted to do was play with the water- o luck this evening... Did you put diapers/pull ups for sleep? Maybe this is my problem? She is mostly doing her pee then...

  4. OMG i have been struggling the last three days with my son... he knows he has to go pee but when i sit him on the potty he screams and cries and just tries to get up. after he peed in the potty the first day, he realized he doesn't like the feeling of not peeing into a diaper and i've been battling with him. after reading this post, i immediately put the potty seat in the bathtub, ran warm water, and sat him on it. IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. he started peeing right away, no struggle. i don t think he even realized he was peeing. fingers crossed that he continues to do this! thank you!!!

  5. You have no idea how relieved i am to find this, i been looking everywhere and asking other moms and it seems no one has this problem but finally i found someone. I will give your suggestion a try tonight. Im ready to give up but i know deep down i shouldn't. Thank you.

  6. Thank you all soooo much. We just had the same problem starting out. Our daughter would hold it and hold it even when not on the toilet. We were worried she wasn’t ready but we knew she was. As soon as we put her in the tub with some warm water over her feet and legs, she peed a ton. We feel so much better!


Thanks for visiting! I always read every single one of your comments, I just love hearing what you have to say! Please visit me again soon, or even Follow me so you never miss a thing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...