Potty training resistance

My daughter is nearly 3 and she still refuses to use the potty. It’s been 2 months now, and I am losing patience.

Potty training coincides with the exact developmental time when a toddler is starting to establish individuality and enjoying the power of saying no. And mom encounters what she sees as a rebellion against potty training. Some toddlers are also highly resistant to change and find the transition from nappy to potty difficult.

It’s not easy for mom to continue exercising patience, especially after you have changed what feels like the 5200th nappy. But getting tough will get you nowhere fast either. See if any of these ideas work.

1. “It’s your potty, and you can use it if you want to.” And leave the whole question of potty training for a month. And then start the process all over again. Stop nagging, don’t punish or shame. Don’t force her to sit on the potty when she refuses, or force her to stay sitting until she performs; this can lead to straining and constipation. A parent reports: “My daughter was 3 1/2 when we finally got her potty trained. She wanted to wear panties, but not use the potty. It was a lesson in frustration; nothing worked. Finally I decided I was not going to make a fuss anymore. ‘Your potty is ready for you whenever you want it’. When she was wet I changed her without comment. Three days later she started using the potty.”

2. Potty bedtime stories. There are excellent picture books for toddlers (try ““Once Upon a Potty” by Alona Frankel) about children learning to potty train and what fun it is to use a potty. There is also a “ “Once Upon a Potty” DVD with a delightful song which parents report is a great incentive. But remember to let the pictures do the talking. Don’t moralise after you have read the story. No pressure!

3. Wrap it up as a present, or go shopping with your toddler and allow him to choose his own one. Even better, allow him to personalise his potty with magic markers and let him carry it around or sit on it like a stool so he feels comfortable with it. Explain what the potty is for: “When you’re ready, you poop and pee into the potty instead of in your nappy. We’ll keep it here in the bathroom until you’re ready to use it”.

4. Get granny to help. “At 3 yrs 6 months my daughter still refused to use the potty and, as a result, the local playschool refused to have her. Then, after a weekend with granny, she suddenly came back quite willing to use the potty. When I asked my mother what was different, she told me she had said to my daughter ‘this house doesn’t have any more nappies, so you will have to be a big girl and use the potty’. And that was that.”

5. Throw out the high tech nappies. “One of the best potty training tips I have heard from a nurse is to start using ordinary nappies again when you know your child is ready for potty training. Your toddler will become uncomfortable when wet, which will speed up potty training.”

6. The last nappy. “My son drove me crazy for months, using the potty one day, then insisting on nappies the next. Finally I told him at the supermarket that these were the last nappies we were buying. And we went to buy some training pants ready for when he was a big boy. As we used up the pack of nappies, I reminded him that when these were gone, there would be no more. Celebration day… away with the nappies and into training pants. We had a few accidents the first week but we never looked back.”

There is an old joke that no child ever entered university in nappies, and although it doesn’t feel like it, you child will eventually make this transition. Keep going, and good luck. +27 (0)81 885 4683 

*Important : The information provided is for information purposes only. No medical diagnosis or prescription can be inferred or is implied. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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