Toddler Doesn't Recognize Urge To Pee?

Jan 18, 2023 | 2.5 Minutes Read

Knowing when it’s time to go is as important as knowing where to go! Here are some helpful ways for you and your toddler to master this key skill.

Recognize The Urge

Learning to Identify the Feeling

Figuring out what your body feels like when it’s time to go potty can be a tricky skill for a toddler to master – they are toddlers after all! Here are a couple of tips to help practice identifying that feeling:

  • Set a potty timer. Every 30 minutes, help your child get in the habit of going to the bathroom. This way, they’ll know what an empty bladder feels like and be able to recognize it faster when it’s not empty.
  • Talk about the feeling of when you have to go. Tell them about how your belly feels a little full and heavy, and you have to squeeze your tummy from the inside to make sure it doesn’t get out until you get to the potty. Sometimes it helps to put your hand on your tummy to check, and if it tickles a little bit then it might be time to go!
  • Talk about the feeling when you are going on the potty. Tell them that once they sit down, they can stop holding their tummy tight and let it all go. Explain how it feels (ahhh) when you let out the pee or poop.
  • Use potty training products that fade when wet. With any Pull-Ups® product, there is a special icon that fades when it gets wet. Showing this indicator to your child might help them understand how their body feels and what’s happening when the icon does disappear.

How to Talk About Going Potty

Depending on your child’s personality, they might be more receptive or more understanding with different words, tone and descriptions.

Tips & Scripts for Shy or Cautious Children

  • Help them identify their cues. “I see you’re crouching down. I think that means maybe your tummy hurts, and you want to push out a poop. Does your tummy feel like a poop might be coming?”
  • Try suggesting without pressure that they try to go on the potty chair. “When you’re ready, I will help you try.”
  • Some more reserved children may want privacy. They may be going under the table or hiding in another room to pee or poop in their training pants. “I see you like to poop behind the sofa. I like to be alone sometimes, too. I’ll stay close by in case you need me, but let’s put your potty chair back there in case you want to use it too. I will sit over here so you can poop in private.”

Tips & Scripts for Eager-to-Please Children

  • “Good try! It’s okay that nothing came out yet. We can stay here and read a book for a while and see if something comes out, or we can try again later. What do you think?”
  • “Wow! I saw that you noticed that your Pull-Ups® picture disappeared. Good job. Do you want to sit on the potty to see if any poop needs to come out, too?”
  • “I feel my tummy getting tight, I think I need to use the potty. Want to come with me?”

Tips & Scripts for Free-Spirited & High-Energy Children

  • When your child is wearing any Pull-Ups® product with graphics that fade when wet, you can ask, “What do you think your design looks like? Is it disappearing yet? Let’s go have a potty party before it fades away!”
  • You might want to skip fussy clothing like tights or overalls at this stage. This will help your child to get onto the potty in time when they’re ready. Free-spirited kids tend to come running in at the last minute.
  • Set a timer for every 30 minutes to take your child to the bathroom so they don’t get so busy having fun that they forget they have to go.


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