What to Do If the Other Parent Doesnt Want to Be Invovled with Potty Training?

Updated on March 21, 2019
E.A. asks from Dayton, OH
10 answers

My ex and I are divorced and have a daughter that just turned 2. He's not willing to work together with helping potty training. He's refusing to work with the process. Any advise?

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answers from Anchorage on

When I potty trained it really only took 3 days, but for the prep work I just put them in pull-ups when they started showing interest in the potty and just left them to do their thing. After a few months they were using the potty most of the time and only then did we actually "potty train" by going to undies. They both had a lot of accidents the first day, but only a few on day two and by day three pretty much had it down. If you try something like this you could wait to do the 3 days until she is with you.

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answers from Boston on

It's incredibly hard at 2 anyway, unless she's absolutely driving this process herself and desperately wants to learn. But if you start because YOU are ready, what will happen is you will maybe get lucky and have some early success, and then she will get bored with it. You'll get frustrated and blame your ex. You won't know whether it's because he's not supporting it or whether she's just not interested. The tension will make the child more agitated and then it will be a huge pain for everyone. That never works out well.

I'd wait, frankly, until she's begging to do it and is showing a lot of interest. Which might be at age 3 - that's pretty common. They also sometimes follow the lead of other kids in preschool and that can help the motivation.

Do you pack a bag for her to go to your ex's house? If you do, you can include her favorite potty book (there are a bunch of good ones) and her little potty. If she asks him for it or just goes to sit on it, maybe he'll get the idea.

Or, if she's with you for a long weekend, you can try any of the "express" methods such as constantly putting her on the potty and having a fistful of M&Ms or whatever. My experience is, that only works when kids are ready as well. But maybe you can make good progress with her before she goes to your ex's house for the next weekend.

If you train her reliably and he doesn't help at his end, then her wet underwear and outwear will be his problem to launder. Sometimes that takes care of the problem as well.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Personally I think you are starting a bit early unless she is really into wanting to be potty trained and I have only seen this with a younger sibling wanting to be like their older siblings and they pretty much train themselves out of wanting it so much.

Closer to three years old is a much more realistic expectation or even starting at three.

This is just my experience after doing this multiple times. If they are neuro-typical they will not start Kinder in diapers. Good luck!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Well she's 2 and not necessarily ready to start potty training.
Starting too early is a losing and frustrating battle.
I think you should wait till she's older when potty training will be easier and faster.
When she's ready she can be potty trained over a weekend and you won't need help from anyone to get it done.
Chill and choose your battles with ex and 2 yr old carefully.
Beginning training precisely at 2 yrs old isn't a hill worth dying on.

Our son trained at 3 1/2 yrs old and I let daycare take the lead on it.
All the kids in his room were working on it - so peer pressure helped a bit and it was something everybody did, they had these tiny child sized toilets that were non threatening, and he came home from daycare one day and showed me what he could do - all I had to do was follow up with it on the weekends.
Waiting till the right time made it effortless and easy.

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answers from Dallas on

Two is still pretty young to potty train and I'm guessing that your ex must have her half the time? What I would do is wait until she's 3. At 3 you will be able to potty train her in just two-4 days and it will be much easier. Maybe you can do it over a weekend that she's at your house.

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answers from Chicago on

Is he not willing to work together because he doesn't think she is ready, or because he is angry at you? What is he saying to you when you raise the subject? She is young, so if it's the former, I would wait. If he is angry at you, I would still wait.

To assess readiness I would look for signs, like does she let you know when she needs a diaper change, can she pull her pants off and on, is she willing to sit on a potty, like before a bath when she has no diaper on anyway, and can she follow simple directions?

If you are sure she is ready, then I would approach her dad as if he is a reasonable human being, even if he is not. Let him know you are seeing signs of readiness, ask him if he is seeing the same signs? Ask him if he thinks she is ready? Ask him when he thinks she will be ready? If you can't get any cooperation, then you will be on your own.

If this is the only co-parenting issue, great. If not, you might want to seek counseling to develop strategies for how to deal with him. In that case, the potty learning is the least of your worries. When she is older and really, really ready to learn, you can help her learn without him, just explain to her that this is something cool she can learn and show her dad.

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answers from Santa Fe on

There's not much you can do. You just do what you can on your end and you can't really control what he does. Your daughter will eventually be potty trained. I find the easiest way to potty train is to wait till they are a bit older and they WANT to do it themselves. Good luck. PS - there are some kids ready at two! But the majority will sort of potty train that young and then continue to have LOTS of accidents over the next year.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My advice is to stop pushing this. Your daughter may not be anywhere near ready to train, and your ex may very well know that. You seem to want him on board so that you can get traction with your training.

She will eventually show up and go to potty on her own when she is with her dad. Don’t push the process.

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answers from Washington DC on

resign yourself to the fact that it's going to take longer without him helping with it.

it'll still happen, though. stiffen your spine and carry on!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Pick a time when you have your daughter for a long weekend and she's showing all the signs of readiness (essentially, can basically tell you when she needs to go and could stay dry for periods at a time). For us, that was when they had just turned 3.

I wouldn't want to be involved with training a child that just turned 2 either.

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