How Do You Potty Train A Stubborn Toddler?

Potty Training A Stubborn Toddler?

Potty training is a new transition in a toddler’s life. It is a difficult task but not impossible. Therefore, it is normal for the child to show resistance, though some may be too stubborn even after a long patient wait.

This article helps with your potty training skills, especially if the child is stubborn to begin the process.

Is the child ready?

Before starting any potty training process, you should ask yourself if the child is ready. A stubborn child is more likely to show signs of unpreparedness for the process.

It is advisable that you don’t compare your child to others or make them live up to others’ expectations. Forcing your child into potty training may be frustrating for both you and the child.

Be patient and wait as eventually, the child will get wind of the process.

What to do while waiting

If your child is not ready, it doesn’t mean that you ignore the potty training process altogether. Allow the child to wear the diapers for a few more weeks but at the same time try and prepare the child for what is to come.

You can do the following for the child’s preparation;

  • Read to the child potty training books.
  • Allow the child to potty train their doll to get them used to the potty world.
  • Sing potty training songs to the child.
  • Allow the child to wear underwear over the diaper for some time or even have them stay with their underwear for a while daily.

When you have to potty train 

Some situations may force you to have the child adjust out of the diaper world the hard way. For instance, when the child starts preschool, most parents prefer they use the bathroom independently.

You don’t have to force the child to use the potty, but if the child is too stubborn even as they get older, you need to take the difficult route. It will be a challenging journey, but it won’t entirely be impossible.

Eliminate diapers

The first thing to do is to eliminate the diapers except for the night. Having diapers around will make the child comfortable and have it hard adjusting to life without them.

Up your game

When potty training a stubborn child as a parent, you need to be more engaged and stand your ground. You can start by planning out a potty training method and schedule and print it out for the child. You can then have your game face on and get started.

Increase your rewards

A stubborn child will not give away to the process with a sticker. It would help if you considered incentives that may attract the child, like what the child would like, and keep them motivated.

Do your homework

Potty training a stubborn child will require you to do your homework. Start by researching your child’s primary weakness in the process to give yourself a head start.

Make jokes

The process may be frustrating but remember to stay patient and calm while encouraging your child despite the mess involved.

Also, take deep breaths and make jokes about the situation with another adult so that you can relax and avoid getting irritable.

Be optimistic

The process may be more prolonged than other kids, though the child will eventually adjust at some point. Be ready to celebrate this final step of success and make it a huge deal to encourage the child.

Why is potty training hard?

Transitioning from diapers to the potty is not an easy process for the toddler. The transition is difficult because the children need to step out of their comfort zone and get used to a world they aren’t accustomed to.

It is, therefore, quite normal for the child to resist any attempt to potty train them for the first time. This article breaks down the reasons why potty training is a complex process.

  1. Resistance from the child

Often the resistance comes if the child is not ready to start the potty training process.

You must check for signs that the child is ready to start the process, such as communicating their needs, showing interest in the potty or toilet, staying dry for more than two hours a day.

  1. Accidents

Accidents are a normal part of the process. Accidents make the child feel bad and might lengthen the potty training process. Encourage the child and do not scold or punish them for soiling their clothes.

  1. The child lacks bladder control

Most times, the child may recognize the bowel movement but lack bladder control. Leaking urine is common for potty training toddlers.

The child may take several months to gain complete control of their bladder; always keep that in mind.

  1. Fear of losing a part of them

Some children believe that wastes are part of the body; thus, flushing removes a section of them. It is essential to explain to the child the purpose of waste and the need to eliminate them out of their bodies.

  1. The child is afraid of falling into the toilet

Most children fear falling into the toilet bowl and getting flushed like the contents inside the toilet. To curb this, let the child flush pieces of tissue papers inside the toilet to give them a sense of control.

They also get over the fear of the sound of running water and the sight of disappearing things.

  1. The child regressing to the diaper days

Sometimes the child may regress to the diaper days due to stress, illness, or new development. The regression may take you several steps backward from your progress, but you can always recover.

When you realize the challenge, immediately work it out with the child and return them to the potty world.

  1. Nighttime bedwetting

As you initiate daytime potty training, using diapers for the night can be challenging to get the child to outgrow the diapers. Children ordinarily take a longer time to adapt to nighttime toilet training than daytime potty training.

Encourage them to use the potty before bed, and in case they need to use it again in the middle of the night, advise them that they can go by themselves or wake you up for help.

  1. The child only goes to the potty with one person

The child may be dependent on one person in the early stages of potty training. In this case, you can gradually withdraw yourself from the process to train the child’s independence.

You can accompany them to the washroom but wait for them outside. They should learn to do it themselves as you may not always be around to help the child.

Why is my child afraid to pee in the potty?

Toddlers have many fears when it comes to potty training. Fear is one of the most common reasons why potty training is a tedious process.

A child’s fears may not be as severe as an adult’s, but it is essential to take note of their fears and handle it from their perspective. Sometimes the fear and resilience may be worrying and alarming that you may choose to put off the process.

However, postponing is not a good idea as it makes the child more resistant and legitimizes their worries.

What are the 3 common fears of potty training? 

Fear of letting go

The child may have fears about parting ways with something from their body. They believe that the poop and pee are a part of them and wouldn’t want to let them go, which would make them upset.

Moreover, the child only knows how to stay in a diaper, and the feeling of warmth and the mushiness from the pee and poop makes the child feel secure.

Changing from the norm may make the child frustrated as they try and adjust to the new world.

Fear of the potty

Most of the toddlers do not accept the potty right away. There are many reasons why toddlers fear the potty.

  • It is an unfamiliar place.
  • The potty may also have a hard, uncomfortable surface.
  • The potty hole may be large, and the child may fear falling inside.
  • Lastly, the potty may not be stable, and the child may have fears of tipping over.

Fear of the bathroom area

The toddler has to move from the comfort of their diapers to using a bathroom, and since they are not familiar with that environment and the flashing noises, it may be traumatizing for the child.


No matter the child’s fear or stubbornness, you should be supportive and encouraging as the process is just as hard for the child.

Always be positive and persistent as the child will eventually outgrow the diapers and the process will be successful.

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