Potty training tips for a stubborn toddler?

Sarah - posted on 01/06/2011 ( 36 moms have responded )

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My 2 1/2yr old is very stubborn, and hates change. He understands the concept of the potty, and how to use it. He just really hates using it, and gets very upset when we put him on there. I have tried just letting him wear underwear, and we have used a potty chair and a potty on the toilet. I'm just kind of stumped and looking for suggestions.

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Shaz - posted on 07/27/2012

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My 3 year old son is very stubborn and will not pee or poo in the toilet. I have tried putting him on the toilet every 20 mins and increased to 30 mins but he does nothing. Please help!!!!!



He is going nursery in September so would like to get him trained by then. I tried pull ups and cotton pants but he just has loads of accidents. Has any one tried the 3 day method?

Beatriz G. - posted on 01/07/2011

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I have a 3yo son and the fact is boys are more harder to potty train than girls. He does well when it comes to doing the #2 (poop) in the toilet part & he's able to keep his pull ups dry whenever we go out. But I have to admit, it was a battle to get him to go potty on both ends when we started this training process. The issue with my husband and I at the moment is the #1 & as many of the moms parents that I"ve spoken with most parents (including the nurses in my son's Pediatrician office) that it will take a lot of patience. What we've been doing when he does the #2 is that we've been doing a schedule thing. When our son has finished breakfast, we take him to the bathroom so he can poop and then take a bath. It's worked for us so far and he's doing very well with it. What we're doing with the #1 part of the potty training is that we time him every 30 minutes to go to the bathroom. My mom just bought a potty watch for our son and it tells him when it's time to go (my husband and I used the timer on our cell phone prior to the potty watch). When he does go, we give him a reward such as 1 chocolate when he pee and 2 for pooping. Another thing with the pee is to make it a routine to get your son to go to the potty as soon as he wakes up cause that's when kids pee more. It will be frustrating. But you have to be persistent, be patient, and never make your child feel discouraged

Kris - posted on 01/11/2011

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I feel too much pressure is put on potty training. It will happen. I am a mum of 5 and have plenty of potty experience! I start by leaving the door open when I'm using the toilet so they get familiar, and ask questions. "what are you doin mummy" Perfect now I have their attention."I'm doing a wee, you may try too" Place pottys in most of the rooms. Let them wear undies only. Plenty of encouragement and carry on like an absolute Looney when they use the potty. Even if its just a little sit n nothing happens. Encourage them with an over the top positive reaction rather than material things or treats, and relax. It will all fall into place when the time is right. I'm yet to see a child start school on nappies!

Jeneva - posted on 01/07/2011

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I suggest waiting. Keep the potty out and keep encouraging him to be like mommy and daddy and wear big boy underwear but otherwise, he will do it when he is ready. My daughter finally trained at 34 months and it was her decision which meant she decided one day and that was it, no looking back. He'll get it but if he has a hard time with change you are going to have to be patient and just let him do it on his own. If you push the issue it will take even longer.

[deleted account]

when i had my step son he was like that as well. i had tried everything to get him to use the big boy potty from treats to letting him walk around naked all day lol in the end th eonly thing that worked for me was having his dad teach him to do the big boy stand up potty thing. we put cheerios in the toilet and had him try to "sink" them. it turned potty time into a game and it took about a week before he was doing it full time

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Brigita - posted on 07/05/2012

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My 3 year old (and 3 months) pees perfectly fine and is potty trained pretty well in that sense, but pooping is a whole different story. Every time he gets the urge to poop he gets all panicky, he will start going in his underwear at first, at which point we would ask him to finish pooping in the toilette. This makes things much worse and he would get even more upset and would stop pooping all together - the one thing he fully controls. We try sitting him down on the seat, but he will not have it, not even for a split second. He will cry and keep pushing himself up from the seat and will scream but will not sit down, not even for a second at the time. All this results in him not finishing his pooping and slowly getting constipated. This is our second attempt in getting through with potty training and running into this problem, and I am afraid to see the same situation arising again as this time we can't go back to pull ups.
We do loads of positive re-enforcement, stickers and hot wheel cars, loads of positive reinforcement, going on bus rides which he LOVES, sitting in the drivers seat of our brand new car pretending to be driving, promising pools, zoo, riding trains, Chuck-E-Cheese, we tried it all. It all works well, but not for getting him to sit down on the seat to poop. I even bought a special magic wand for him to use while pooping so it doesn't hurt! I am thinking of getting a special toilette chair for him. Any ideas on good ones for 3 and half year old boys. HELP!!!

Any ideas would be really helpful at this p oint.

[deleted account]

I have been attempting to potty train my now 3 1/2 year old for over a year with no success! We have tried pull ups, sticker charts, reward system, telling her she can't go to ballet school until she stops going potty in her pants, cutting her off from diapers completely and only using panties, going every time I do, the list goes on and on. I have literally tried every tip and trick I have ever heard of and she still refuses. She will pee and poop on the potty but if I dont make her go she wont go on her own or tell me when she needs to go, and most of the time when I take her to the potty she will say she doesnt need to go and then a couple minutes later theres a wet spot on the carpet. I honestly just got fed up with trying and put her back in pull ups. Its hard because she is the only child in her class at church who isnt fully potty trained and I know she knows what to do...shes just stubborn as all get out! I have just decided to keep offering the potty as an option to keep reminding her of it and just wait til she decides shes ready. But I swear if shes not potty trained by the time she turns 4 I might just go crazy! Potty training has definitely been the hardest part of parenting to date in my house! Her little brother is already interested in using the potty and he just turned 2! Here we go again! lol Good luck mommies!

Cyndel - posted on 01/20/2011

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I didn't have a choice but potty train my son, he had out grown diapers and was in pull ups for diapers and we couldn't afford it. He wasn't ready but he had too. He is still struggling but I learned his schedual and usually got him to the potty on time. After about six months of training he now tells me he has to go pee. But he stubbornly refuses to go #2 and we are struggling with that. He is stubborn and deliberately not telling us he needs to go until after.
If you can wait financially then I would wait, it not you are going to have to pay close attention and be consistant.

Monica - posted on 01/20/2011

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My biggest advise is DO NOT PUS THEM. My 6 1/2 yr old dd still struggles with a condition called encopresis, you can look it up if you want more info, but if your child is stubborn and will only go in thier diaper and they hold it, they are at risk of deeloping this awful condition. My 3 1/2 yr old doesnt want to wear panties because of the fear of what she's watched her sister go through and the counselor has advised us not to push her. We've gotten preasure from the presachool to push her and refuse to do it becaue of what has happend with our first one. Our 3 1/2 yr old has worn panties from time to time with LOTS of encouragement and we have used the 30 min timer and she does great, but after a few hours of that she has a melt down and i just dont want to push it. I'm frustrated because i dont want to give her the powere, but at the same time, i dont want to repeat the issues that we have with her big sister!!! I feel like I'm still trying to potty train both kids and it's a tough one!!!

Catherine - posted on 01/19/2011

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Get rid of the diapers or pullups except for night and nap. Make him responsible for what happens in his pants. If he wets, he changes them. If he poops, he changes them with a little cleanup help. Let him start getting himself dressed. We're still in the middle of this and it seems to be working so far. Also, get some potty movies like Potty Power or The Potty Movie for Boys.

Nichole - posted on 01/19/2011

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at the start of toilet training my son hated the potty - so we put it in the middle of the lounge room floor in front of the tv!! Not very attractive i will admit, but he happily sat on it for a decent amount of time, and more often than not did a wee in it too. 6 months later, still not fully trained but sticker charts and mini oreos seem to be the way to go for him

Kristy - posted on 01/19/2011

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My daughter got the hang of it all on her own. I didn't push the toilet issue. I put pull ups on her and made sure she could get them up and down with her clothes. No buttons or press studs as she just got fustrated as she couldnt get the pants undone. Then she started going to do a wee but no poo. Then she stoped going and decided she would go at daycare only. Then she would go before nap time and bedtime but no other time. She was testing the boundaries and seeing if it was really up to her. She picked out her own undies, i drew a reward chart and she got stickers and when she got ten she got a suprise. She tried wearing undies a few times but had accidents and didnt like it. So i let her wear pull ups again. She could got for 3 hours without doing a wee in her pull ups. Then one day she decided she wanted to wear her undies and that was it. She wouldnt do a poo the first day though. But i told her if she did a poo we would go and buy a new toy so she did it the next day. Once they get over the fear of doing a poo for the first time, they keep doing it. She wears a pull up to bed at night still as she sleeps for 12 hours and doesnt get up to go to the toilet. She was toilet trained at 2 years 9 months and has just turned 3. Good luck and be patient. :)

Tara - posted on 01/19/2011

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I did the three day potty training method found on-line and it worked with my stubborn 27month old. You have to follow it completely but now at 28 months old she is potty trained at night too. She had never wanted to take off her pants and even sit on the potty chair before this. Its hard for just one parent to do though. I suggest both parents participate. My husband did mornings and I did mainly evenings and her teachers at school were amazed. She has only accidentally wet her underwear once at school in the last month.

Angie - posted on 01/19/2011

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Hi Sarah, I feel your pain. I tried potty training my son at 2 and again at 2 1/2 with no results other than me getting worked up and frustrated. I asked his pediatrition for tips and the best advise he gave me was not to even start potty training a boy until 3 - 3 1/2 years old. My son is now 3 1/2 years old and once I we said bye bye to diapers he did awesome only had two accidents and its been over two months. I couldn't be happier that I waited. Yes, I got an earful because he wasn't potty trained before that but all I have to say is "well, at least I didn't have to clean up after so many accidents" Good luck to you and your little guy.

Amber - posted on 01/19/2011

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I am having the same problem with my daugher, who will be 4 in May. She has gone pee and poo in the potty, mostly when I have her do it, but even a few times on her own. It only works when she is running around naked. She can't seem to get it if she has to pull down her pants. The hardest thing is that if she pees or poos in her panties, she NEVER tells me. It doesn't even seem to bother her! She will never tell me if she needs to go, either, but I know she knows it because she has run to the potty and gone on her own before. Any suggestions?

Alyssa - posted on 01/18/2011

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my son was the exact same way...trying to potty train was an absolute nightmare...a couple months after he turned 3 he got a pretty bad diaper rash...and i said " well if you didn't wear diapers you would no longer have a rash...that did it! LOL...I think he was just ready overall...but he didn't like his rash because it hurt when i wiped and he would cry and say "ouchie" He was potty trained in less than 24 hours. :) Some children just want to do it on their time and not when someone tells them..and "makes" them do it. My son hates change and is sooo stubborn, but once he realized his booty wasn't going to hurt no more..and he wasn't going to be wet all day..he loved it. :)

Namasiku S. - posted on 01/17/2011

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keep doing that, dont give up. more than anything he needs consistency and when you stop its his victory. Choose one method and stick with it. Him getting upset wont kill him...

Miranda - posted on 01/16/2011

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Try getting like a cady jar of something small like m&ms and when he goes potty in his big boy potty give him a candy... I made up a song with my daughter's name in it that we would sing together everytime she went to the potty... but what worked for my daughter(who was potty trained by age 2) was spending a day at home with no pants on and i would take her to the potty every hour and if she went I would make a big deal out of it... It worked for me... hope that helps (=

Amanda - posted on 01/13/2011

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After months and months of trying everything I tried this... My son hates change also. He tells me when I do something differently then usual. What you have to do is prepare them. Caden would p but not poop in the potty. We let him practice peeing outside on trees on bushes on anything! (this also helps when you have to stop on side of road quickley!) Then he started going inside. As for the other....Get a package or two or three of pull-ups. Tell them these are the only pull-ups you have left and that you can't or won't buy anymore and everytime you change him, show him how many you have left and count down with him...let him get used to the idea. Let him know hes gonna be wearing Big Boy pants and leave them out in sight so he can get used to that too. I also had a sticker chart which he still loves...i've changed it some since he's 4 now, but it works wonders to show him his progress. Throw a party everytime he uses the potty (inside or out)! Good luck!! (This idea worked for getting him out of his pacifiers too. Everyday we threw one away and let him take control of the situation..get him involved) He never looked back!

Terri - posted on 01/12/2011

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With my first she didn't potty train until after she turned 3 we tried multiple times but she just didn't want to so after 3 she wanted to go with Nana and Poppa in their truck but they told her she had to potty train first and two weeks later she was fully potty trained.

Claire - posted on 01/12/2011

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I trained my boys both the same way... It sounds mad but it really worked. Each time you go to the toilet take him with you and blow up a bloon then play with the bloon letting out the air making funny noises(laugh and giggle let him see how much fun your having) Ford is now 3 and still insists on a bloon when he's doing a no2. Insist he can only have it if he's on the toilet... I don't know if it's coz trying to blow up the bloon makes him go or maybe it's just coz he thinks well I'm here anyway- eitherway it worked on both of my boys lol whatever u do make it as fun as poss coz if u don't he may not wanna stop whatever fun stuff he was origianaly doin :-) good luck I hope this helps even if I do just sound mad ha ha

Michelle - posted on 01/12/2011

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I am attempting to potty train my 3 year old at the moment and he doesnt seem to get it at all. He keeps refusing to sit on the potty and if i push it gets upset. We've had loads of accidents and i feel like i am getting nowhere. My older children were both dry at 2 1/2 and we did that by putting them in clothes and underwear and letting them feel how uncomfortable it is to be wet. Doesnt seem to be working this time but i guess they are all different.

NATASHA - posted on 01/11/2011

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Thank you all for your comments as I am going through the same thing. My son is 2 1/2 years old. He'll pee in the toilet, but refuses to poo. As soon as I put on his diaper he hides and does his business. I really think it embarrsses him to do it. I always tell him it's okay to poo but we need to go in the toilet. He just doesn't seem interested in that part yet.

Heather - posted on 01/11/2011

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I am a childcare provider and we do not use pullups. If the parent lets me, I let the child run around without anything on their bottom. Sure there may be a few accidents, but not as many as if they were wearing undies. Some children are just not ready. Don't force them as you will end up with more problems to come. We also use a rewards system. If you potty on the toilet you get 1 tattoo or 1 m&m. We do this all day and usually they get the hang of it after about 1 week. However parents really have to follow the same schedule and be sure that you ask the child to potty every half hour! When they lay down for a nap or to go to bed we use a diaper. Good luck!!

Ginger - posted on 01/10/2011

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3yrs-4yrs is an average age if you keep reinforsing the behavior it finally will work. It has worked for me with 2 of my children and 2 kids I nannied they were all +1 or -1 month of being 3. Now my child with Down Syndrome all together something new she is 4and half and Im so wishing for a magic wand. Naked kids camping works well I hear!! if you get some good answers that work share them please ty

Jenny - posted on 01/10/2011

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My son will be 3 at the end of the month. We just started last week. I put him in underwear constantly except for nap and night. He gets a reward of candy each time he goes w/o having wet clothes first. He will also get a potty party at Chuckie Cheese. I remind him of it several times a day and he is excited about it. Everytime he goes potty he says I go to Chuckie Cheese. I also get excited each time he goes and tell him I'm happy ( he likes it when I'm happy ) I tell him that hes a big boy. We also let him pick out his own underwear at the store and it was the turning point. I have to remind him to go all the time but he his starting to tell me when he has to go now.

Heather - posted on 01/10/2011

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I am also having trouble with my son. He is almost 3 and a half and still not fully trained. I can get him to go pee most of the time by taking him regularly but he won't tell me if he needs to go and he definately won't tell me he needs to go poo. If I think he does I will put him on the potty and he will get very upset and won't go and then about 5 minutes after I take him out he'll go in his diaper. He doesn't even seem to care that he has a dirty diaper either. Any suggestions for this would help me too :)

Lina - posted on 01/10/2011

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My son is about to turn 3 and thank god has been potty trained since he was 18 months old. He got encouraged by seeing his father use the bathroom as well as me. He never liked those kid toilet seats that go over the regular toilet and neither did he ever like potty's. I think you need to take the time to have him wear the underwear constantly, even if he has accidents (because thats the only way he will learn). When he does have an accident just calmly point it out and then direct him to the potty, and when he does use the potty definitly make a BIG BIG deal out of it and reward him some way. eventually by having accidents he will learn that being wet feels unconfotable and hopefully send him in the right track. Good Luck =)

Kimberly - posted on 01/10/2011

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My daughter is 3 in Feb, and she just potty trained a month or two ago.Still wearing night time diapers. She would cry and cry to me to put her diaper on when we tried at first, but I just stuck with it. When we were home she was in "big girl panties" then when we left the house I put her in a diaper. She rebelled and rebelled but after so many accidents she wanted to use the toilet because it was a hassle for her to have to be showered after each accident. I hated it when we first started because it was pee pee pee everywhere, but it only took her a couple days of that before she decided she was just gonna do it.

[deleted account]

I would try to implement a chart and for each time he uses he potty add a sticker if he gets up to let's say, 5 times using the potty give him a treat and so on and so on. The treats could be a lollipop, a trip somewhere fun etc. etc. maybe he will see value in using the potty and look to using it!

Heidi - posted on 01/10/2011

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Don't push it. My daughter understood the concept when she was one year old - but didn't get trained until she was three. Something will usually trigger the "want." For mine, she wanted to go to ballet lessons. I told her she had to get out of pull-ups first. It took less than a week.

Beatriz G. - posted on 01/08/2011

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Sorry, I forgot to post the potty training tips that one of our friends gave us. Again, everything else worked for my son except the pull-ups over the underwear. It did the opposite effect on him. All kids are different and maybe it will work on your son. If you're planning to put your son in preschool, then it's better to have him potty trained ASAP because most preschools won't accept kids that aren't potty trained. It's been 3 days since we used the potty watch on him and so far it has worked. They sell the potty watch at Babies "R" Us.

Potty training tips from a day care provider:
hen you are home put on underware, clothes and then a pull up over his/her clothes! NO MORE diapers or pull ups (only at nap time or bed time) Ask him/her every hour if she need to go potty. Take him/her potty every two hours. I give m&m's or stickers if they try! If they go I give them both. We do a potty dance over here (kid's name) went potty he/she a big girl now yea!!! anything just to let them know how proud we are!Talk to your child and let them know how big they are and how they should go potty on the toilet like Mom, Dad, etc.! We have the kids say bye bye to their peepee or poopoo and then flush the toilet. It useually takes 2-3 days of the kids hating to feel wet before they get the hang of it! Be perpare...there will be lots of laundry the first few days! But it works and they don't peepee everywhere with the pull up on over their clothes. It reminds you to ask if he/she has to go potty on the toilet. Only start pottytraining if you are going to be close to home for a week. I WOULD NOT put a diaper or pull up on if you are run to the store...take a change of clothes. I would have him/her try and go pee before you leave the house, then when your at the store ask him/her if he/she has to go potty. Once you put a diaper back on them they get so confused! I use a toilet ring and the kids love it and it is less messier. It usually takes 1-2 weeks to click!

Moni - posted on 01/08/2011

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We used 3-day potty training with my daughter and it worked beautifully. I agree with the other moms though that pushing if your little one isn't ready just won't work. What I liked about this "program" was that it was mainly guidance for me and putting the control in my daughter's hands. Encourage, praise, get really excited when he does decide to use the potty. We had to invent a special song and dance, totally cheesy, but my daughter loves it!
Find what motivates him. My daughter likes stickers, so we had a sticker chart. When we travel, we use an M&M. I've met so many moms who have used "potty candy"...whatever motivates :) Good luck!

Frances - posted on 01/07/2011

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At daycare they have them on a schedule, eat breakfast, go potty, go to the playground, go potty, eat a snack, go potty, take a nap, go potty. Its about having a schedule and sticking to it. We do this at home in the evenings and on the weekends and it works. Good luck

Beatriz G. - posted on 01/07/2011

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PS. My husband and I got some potty training tips from one of our friends who works at a daycare provider. Everything else worked except for the pull ups over the underwear didn't really work on our son. But you can give them a go :o)

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