23 answers

Potty Training a Strong-Willed Toddler...

We are slowwwlllly trying to potty train my almost-three year year old daughter. She is very strong willed, so it has not been easy, but I have been taking the advice of lots of other mamapedia moms and am not pushing it. I know she will potty train when she is ready.

She will almost always tell me "NO, I don't want to." So I just tell her okay, maybe we can try later, and then we move on. She will sit on the potty every few days, but she has never peed or pooped on it yet. Although once she thought she went pee and she was so excited :) And this past month, she has asked to sit on the potty a few times. Yay!

Lately, during her bath, she will all of a sudden tell me she wants to use the potty, and I am realizing that she doesn't want to pee in the tub. But by the time I get her out, it seems she has already gone. But this sign is encouraging because it tells me she knows how it feels to have to go pee.

And then yesterday, she called for me from her bed after waking up from nap and wanted to sit on the potty! Exciting, until I realized she had already pooped in her diaper so it was too late anyway. I took her to the potty regardless. I put her poop from the diaper into the potty so she would get the idea that poop goes in the potty. She thought that was pretty cool. So I am hoping we are on an upswing now with potty training.

So here are my basic questions for you mamas:

Should I encourage her a little more firmly to try the potty every day? Even if she says she doesn't want to?
Should I start some kind of reward system for her?
Should I switch her from her diaper to a cloth training pant? (I hear pull ups are a waste of money and they aren't an effective potty training tool.)
Should I wait until she is more receptive to the whole thing?

And then my poop questions:
How do you all clean your potty? After I put her poop in it the other day it was really yucky. I dumped it in the toilet, but was not thrilled about washing it in the sink or tub. What do you do?
How do you wipe their bottom? Do you use toilet paper or wipes? Do you flush the wipes? I hear you are not supposed to and I don't want to clog the toilet.

Well thanks Mamas! didn't realize this potty training process would be so complicated! I appreciate your help!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Why does she need to be potty trained right now? I always waited for my kids to tell me when they were ready and it was very smooth & never had any accidents. Getting kids potty trained should be when the child is ready not the parent.

As far as potty chairs maybe you can get a potty seat that sits on top of the toilet, much cleaner that way. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

The answer is on Mothering magazine Expert page. There are two of them:


More Answers

I think you would be smart to let her continue to lead on this.
Cotton training pants might speed the process (Pull ups for nap & night only).
Use/flush only flushable bathroom wipes, never baby wipes!
I always cleaned my potty in the laundry tub. It is gross--a good case for going right to the toilet instead of a potty chair.
Does you daughter like horses, spaceships, etc? Tell her she can sit backwards on the toilet like she's riding a horse and use a potty seat ring. I think they feel more secure that way since they can rest their hands on the tank of the toilet & balance.
And yes, great idea to start the bribes--ummmm---I mean----rewards! One m&m for pee, 2 for poo! Or a sticker chart! When she gets 5 stickers she can pick a prize from your stocked and stashed potty-basket!

1 mom found this helpful

My 2.5 yo daughter has just regressed and no longer will use the potty, sadly. Don't know what shifted, because she was using it 3-4x/day (at home). But, what worked for us while the going was good:
- having a potty book from the library, and I would agree to read it to her if she sat on the potty
- whether she actually went or not, she got a "potty prize" (a freeze-dried strawberry from Trader Joe's), as long as she sat on the potty while I read the book, wiped with toilet paper, and washed/dried her hands
- she got a "poop guy" if she pooped/wiped/washed/dried hands. A "poop guy" is one of those little capsules that you drop in warm water, and the capsule dissolves giving way to a spongy little animal. I get them at Target - 12 capsules for $1
- I didn't force it - entirely her choice

I think what might have turned her off is that she LOVES wearing diapers. Cloth, disposable - doesn't matter. She is not ready to give them up. I let her pick out her own 'panties' at the store and she was excited to buy them but doesn't want to wear them. I told her that big girls who use the potty get to wear panties, just like mama, but she said she doesn't want to wear them. She will readily wear pants without a diaper, but I don't want to go down the commando path and then later have to explain why all of a sudden panties are required.

Regarding cleaning the potty - I was also wondering what other parents do. My process is:
- dump potty contents into toilet, using toilet paper if necessary
- pump some hand soap into potty, then fill 1/3 way with hot/warm water (temp depending if my daughter is still in the room)
- dump soapy water into toilet
If poop, then continue with...
- repeat 2x
- spray with vinegar/water or a very diluted bleach solution (as in, 1 capful of bleach per spray bottle of water
- dry with toilet paper

1 mom found this helpful

Why does she need to be potty trained right now? I always waited for my kids to tell me when they were ready and it was very smooth & never had any accidents. Getting kids potty trained should be when the child is ready not the parent.

As far as potty chairs maybe you can get a potty seat that sits on top of the toilet, much cleaner that way. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter (she is 3 years and 3 mos) is VERY STRONG WILLED! She used the toilet at 2 for the first time and a few times then wanted NOTHING to do with it. I knew we were sending her to preschool at 3 (her bday is in July) and NEEDED her potty-trained. Here is what worked for us:

In February, we started a sticker chart- I bought stickers with her FAVORITE stuff on it (Disney princesses and Dora/Boots - little ones) and also colored stars. The chart is a whole poster board and we set it out into 6 weeks (ended up expanding it to 12 as it took her 4 to get used to the concept). For each "try" on the potty she got to pick a colored star. For each Pee, she got 1 disney or dora sticker and for each poop she got 2. If she had more than 7 combined stickers at the end of the day she got a small treat (like a SMALL cookie or fruit popsicle). By the end of 12, we told her she was a big girl and didn't need the baby chart anymore since she had gotten so good. She was in underpants all the time by then (even at night).

We tried so much forcing, and coercing and everything else before the chart. You have to know your kid and figure out what makes her *tick*. What works for one family or one kid might not work for the next. we are currently working on our 23 mo old son....we will see how it goes. I am DUE in May with #3 and would love to just have 1 kiddo in diapers at a time :)

Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

I have just finished up potty training my 3 year old. She turned 3 in June. We started potty training around 2 when she was showing signs of being ready but then I was put on bed rest so things went down hill quickly and once I had the baby she did not want anything to do with potty training. What worked for us was having her sit on the potty for 2-5 minutes every 2 hours (per her ped.). Strangely, she was excellent at pooping but not so great at peeing. We put her in undies/training pants and that helped so much. She didn't like having to take the time to get her pants changed if she wet them. We started off using wipes but now my daughter wipes herself with toilet paper (she has clogged the toilet a few times using way, way too much so we still have to watch her). My husband flushed wipes a few times and they will indeed clog the toilet so just save yourself the trouble and toss them in the trash if you use them. Finally, when she was still working things out we told her if she went 7 days without an accident we would let her look in a box that we kept on a shelf above the toilet. It just had little dollar store stuff in it but she loved finding out what was in there. Oh, and lest I forget, my daughter hated using a "little potty." She wanted to use the same toilet we use so we just got her one of those toilet ring things and a bench and things went better after that. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I was a student when I faced toilet training the first time. My psychology professor was talking to the class about parental hang ups when he asked us, "How many adults do you know walking around untoilet trained." This brought forth gales of laughter from the students.
I talked it over with my mother and one day I went to Macy's and bought some training pants. I told my daughter when she wet herself she would wet her socks.
She was very excited about the training pants. In the morning she proudly put them on. A couple of hours later I heard a distressed call from the bathroom. I reminded her that when she wet herself she would wet her socks. I changed her without any complaint and that was the one and only time she did not make it to the toilet.
It was about seven months later that she told me she would not need diapers at night anymore.
Aim for the poop in the toilet as it is easier to discern that urge to go for children. Worry about her being dry later.
Urinating and defecating are two different tasks even though we flush both.
I did not use a potty chair. We had a ring over the toilet and a step to get up.

Naked...is the key....keep her naked when at home. This is the only thing that worked for our guy. He would only poop on the potty when he was naked. And don't make any kind of deal about it, just let him know where he needs to go, very causal, no big deal. Otherwise you may be instilling a fear or unintentional anxiety in him about the potty in general. Just let him know that it's okay if he has an "accident". He'll get it soon.

When I had my first child, the best advice I was given was that there were three things that you can not make a child do, eat, sleep, and pee or poop when and where you want them to. And boy did I learn that.

My son was still four when I went to introduce him to his four year old preschool teacher before the year started. I told her that he was still in diapers. She told me while he was within ear shot that she did not usually take children who were not potty trained.

Well, all his buddies were going to that class, so there was no way that he was not going to that class.

No way. He was trained in a day.

Easiest thing I never did.

I think you are doing the right thing. She seems to be training herself pretty much on her own. Step back and support her. Offer no rewards except praise and encouragement.

She probably will not be consistent for a while because she is so young, but so what. She's little. Let her learn this new skill on her own time. Just like you would any other new skill.

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