Birth & Kids

Potty Training a Stubborn Toddler


I swore I would never post anything on Facebook or any other social media about potty training woes or successes (and I promise no judgement to you if you do!). I did however decide to make a post about it for others who had trouble potty training a stubborn child, does this count as social media? Oh well…

We started reading a potty training book to Miss B when she was about a year old. I decided to start early with the book to help her get used to the concept. But we chose to wait until after Special K was born just in case B regressed any after her new little sister got here (there will be another post later about tips for helping a toddler ready for a new baby). Thankfully we didn’t have any issues with regression but I wasn’t quite ready to tackle potty training along with taking care of a newborn.

After K was a couple months old and B was just over 2 we decided to start trying. I got her a little potty seat from Target and set it where she could see it and start getting used to it. As any mother knows, it is almost impossible to go to the bathroom without your kids barging in on you so B already knew what the potty was for.

I thought it was going to be easy. I read countless posts about how moms had potty trained their kids in 3 days at only 18 months old. At about that age B was already telling me when she had wet her diaper. Great! This will be easy peasy lemon squeazy. Needless to say this was not my experience. One tip suggested that I leave her naked in the house. The first time I did, she begged and cried for a “booty”, what we call diapers. After many attempts to distract her she finally forgot about it. Great, we’re rolling now, I thought. But no, she held it all day until I put a diaper on for bed time and had several accidents on the floor. She screamed and cried whenever I tried to put her on the potty. I tried bribing (I know, not good), which didn’t work anyway. I tried this several times with many tears and frustrations for both of us. After several failed attempts I decided to take a break and try again in a couple weeks. I was almost convinced that she would never be toilet trained, but the thought of changing (and buying) diapers for 2 kids any longer motivated me to keep trying

My cousin who has potty trained 3 girls gave me some pointers that ended up sealing the deal for us. She suggested getting panties for B before she was trained, instead of afterwards like I had planned on. And to ditch the diapers all together, even for bed time (we never even used pull-up training pants). So, with a renewed sense of hope we set out for the store. B picked out a lovely package of Paw Patrol panties. On the way home I talked to her about how she shouldn’t teetee on the Paw Patrol pups and how Sky (one of the characters) would be very, very sad if she was teeteed on.  And to tell Mommy or Daddy if she had to go potty, with much emphasis on how cool the big girl potty is.

By the time we got home she was excited to put on her new big girl booties. We put them on and I must have asked her a thousand times if she had to go potty. We also put her potty in the living room in front of the tv so she would have a little more motivation to sit on it (JW would like me to point out that this was his idea…) Finally a success! She used the potty! We had plenty of dance parties and little treats to celebrate. We took a big risk that night taking her out to an event without a diaper on, but she still kept her clothes dry. I was so excited! I am convinced that having her pick out her special underwear was what made the difference.

The number two issue took a little bit longer to sort out. Miss B is a busy little munchkin, and getting her to sit still long enough to do the deed was difficult. She held it for three days (I was getting pretty worried) and finally, after much bribing and begging (I know, I know) she finally went. Thankfully, I had several little toys stashed away for just such an occasion.

At bedtime we made sure to have her sit on the potty and attempted to limit fluids after dinner, and for the most part she did fine. An occasional bedwetting happened but that was it. She did have to get used to not having her cup in bed, that was a sure fire way to have wet sheets. Obvious, I know, but I guess first timers don’t always think of these things.

We only had one bad experience when we were out and about. The whole family was at the store and B suddenly exclaims, teetee! I gotta teetee! So I snatched her up, mind you I was also wearing Special K in my Ergo. So I ran to the bathroom with two kids in tow. As soon as we got in there B threw a wall-eyed fit. Screaming no, no I done I done! Please sit on the potty, I pleaded. More screaming and crying. More pleading. And finally I gave up. (I’m not proud of how easily frustrated I get). Fine don’t go, I said. Not 5 minutes later, after rejoining JW in the aisle, did she have an accident and pee all over the place. I was pretty frustrated but I realized I should’ve been more patient and talked with B about it rather than lose my cool. That was the only accident in public we had.

After that I was able to come up with a little trick to help her stay on the potty. We would count to 10 several times and that would help her focus and calm down so that she could go.

Since then we have been completely potty trained, about 5 months now! Thank goodness! Sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than changing diapers (she hasn’t figured out proper wiping technique yet), but I am so thankful that it was finally a success.

What were your experiences with potty training a stubborn toddler? Any tips you would add? Comment below!


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