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Potty training refusal - not sure what to do!

(43 Posts)
tinypumpkin Sat 17-Nov-12 20:26:38

Our 3 year old (3 yrs 1 month) is adamant she does not want to potty train. We tried in the summer and she was interested but we got nowhere. I did persist and went cold turkey but she was starting to get stressed about it. I posted here as I thought I should perhaps give up at that point and try later which was exactly what people suggested. I just felt we were making an issue of it when she had actually been interested originally! I did do the usual things of getting her to choose the potty, relevant books, bigging it up etc.

I have not officially started trying again but she is so resistant and I am getting worried. I knew tonight after bath she wanted a wee but will refuse to even consider the idea of trying the potty or trainer seat. Think full on tantrum. That is not a one off and is pretty much the response I now get if I even mention it. On a better day I just get 'not now, later..'. She is not keen.

I really don't want to make it more an issue but it is hard as so many peers are training at much younger. Stupid to compare I know but I find that so hard. She was prem (29 weeks) and I wonder if that is an issue or whether I am just making excuses. Bar talking (she is gifted in never stopping!) she did take longer to reach all the other milestones. I would say she has caught up bar this now though and the consultant agrees.

Any ideas? I am feeling like the crappest mum about this but truly don't know what else to do. Chocolate buttons are no incentive at all!

OP’s posts: |
QTPie Sat 17-Nov-12 20:49:47


Goodness me it isn't your fault - if your child isn't willing, then you are on a hiding for nothing... sad (we gave currently conquered wees, but don't talk to me about poos - potty training is the most frustrating thing so far for me as a mum, by far! sad ).

If chocolate buttons don't work, what DOES float her boat? Anything?

I think that you are right: if she is stressed, then you have little option but to "step back" (again), for a month or so, then try again, afresh.

Sorry, that isn't very helpful...


CatL Sat 17-Nov-12 22:32:46

No advice, but watching with interest, as you would appear to be me! Exactly the same with DD - 2.10 and again slow in all milestones apart from vocab / cognitive stuff, but totally resistant to potty /toilet, and boy does she know how to resist things!

tinypumpkin Sun 18-Nov-12 14:13:47

Thanks for the replies ladies, I do appreciate it.

QTPie, no incentive seems to work, I have tried others. Buttons do it for most other things!! I guess it is a step back for now. Thanks for the post.

CatL, sorry you have a resister too. Our daughter is very strong minded about this, sounds like they are very similar. Cognitive / vocab has always been spot on, interesting that they are both the same. Good luck!

OP’s posts: |
ConstantCraving Mon 19-Nov-12 21:20:52

Hi - just letting you know you're not alone. We tried DD 3 in Ocober and posted on here about our progress (or lack of it!) - we stopped as she too was getting resistant and fearful... hence waiting - but for how long? My DNeice has just potty trained her DS aged 2.2!!! I'm gutted. DD 3.2 now and no sign of a change of heart from her any time soon!

JoandMax Mon 19-Nov-12 21:31:58

I'm having this with DS2, he's only 2.8 so still young but knows exactly what he should be doing, at home he will happily go hours naked and no accidents or prompts needed. Trying to put pants on him is another matter!! Absolute total refusal, it's naked or nappies........

I've tried stickers, treats, choosing his own pants, matching pants to his brother, matching pants to his daddy and nope! I thought it was just a phase but its been nearly 6 months

elfycat Mon 19-Nov-12 21:39:51

DD1 was 3.5 before she potty trained. We'd had 3 tries at it which she failed to show interest in. Eventually I googled 'toilet training resistance' and then left it about 2 months (so she'd forget our last effort) and gave their advice a go.

Basically you do nothing and leave it up to them, put them in knickers, clean up messes calmly and with barely any comment. I'd remind her in passing that she'd need to use the potty or toilet first thing when the knickers went on. Took a few days for her to get it and that was wees sorted. Number 2s were another story Mr Poo Goes To Pooland was the story and she got that at 3.8 about 2 months ago.

Toddler Led Toilet Training as it was coined on another thread a few weeks back.

DewDr0p Mon 19-Nov-12 21:40:04

Ds3 wasn't potty trained until he was nearly 3.8 blush

He simply refused and I just don't believe in forcing this particular issue.

I think his nursery thought I was being lazy and when he was about 3.3, they offered to have a go. I said I would be delighted grin and I only sniggered a little bit when they admitted defeat grin and said "no we see what you mean, he really isn't ready is he?"

I do sympathise, I felt ridiculous and like everyone was judging me. The whole thing was very stressful and I was even beginning to wonder if I'd get him dry in time to start school!

But we did get there. He just suddenly seemed less resistant to the idea and I decided to go for it. It wasn't instantaneous but it was bearable and actually he became dry at night almost simultaneously too (in fact before either of his big brothers who were still in pull ups at night shock )

Sorry to go on, just wanted to reassure you, you will get there. Maybe just feign total indifference for a while and then try again?

tinypumpkin Tue 20-Nov-12 20:16:21

Thanks so much for the reassurance DewDr0p, that is helpful. That is helpful! I am trying to feign indifference, it is hard isn't it.

I am sorry to hear you are having similar issues too ConstantCraving and JoandMax. They have such power don't they!

Cheers for the advice about potty training resisters, that is a huge help elfycat. I may well try it I think but give it a month or two (coward that I am). I appreciate your reassurance too, it is so hard isn't it.

Cheers ladies. smile

OP’s posts: |
ConstantCraving Fri 23-Nov-12 20:56:32

Guess we'll all meet back up here after xmas and see how we go then!

ceebie Sun 25-Nov-12 15:31:03

This from Penelope Leech: "Do not be in a hurry to start... If you try to insist on cooperation before your child is emotionally ready, you will be trying to impose your will on the toddler's in an area where you cannot win. You cannot make him or her use that pot; attempts to force training invite the child to experience successful defiance".

Otherworld Mon 26-Nov-12 12:00:24


I came on here to start a thread about my son (just turned three), who is very good at talking (and reasoning) but refuses to co-operate in potty training AT ALL.

We started attempt number three yesterday and still didn't catch a single drop of anything. He's in nursery today so we've reluctantly gone back to a pull up. Argh!

I feel like I'll be packing him off to university with his nappies in his bag.

BaronessBomburst Tue 27-Nov-12 14:16:32

Thank god I've found this thread! DS is 2.9 and won't even consider trying the potty/ toilet. Any attempt to get the potty or loo seat out results in a full on tantrum, tears, and then a stubborn refusal to even let me change his nappy. The snide remarks started from the family my mother months ago, but now even DH seems to think I'm doing something wrong and started shouting at DS.

Will look up other threads later as my battery's about to go.

Ginandtonicandamassageplease Tue 27-Nov-12 14:27:09

Thank goodness! DS is 2.10 and I'm having no luck either! Was getting quite down about it yesterday as it seems that all the other children his age are already potty trained. He will do a wee on the potty and I've tried going cold turkey but then I had to wash the sofa covers, rug, carpet etc etc. He just doesn't seem like he's ready and I don't want to make a big thing out of it. He's been the same with lots of things - sitting (6 months), crawling (9) and walking (14) so all slightly later but when he does things he does them perfectly. I'm hoping potty training will be the same - he hates getting things wrong.

Clarabumps Tue 27-Nov-12 14:31:48

I had a nightmare with ds1. He was three and it took 6 months. With ds2 I found potty time with Elmo DVD and watched it for about 3 days. We sang the songs on the toilet, and did the dances etc and by a miracle it worked! He was dry in about a week.every child is different but I found it a godsend. It's about a fiver on amazon so it's worth a go.. Hth. Xx

RosannaBanana Tue 27-Nov-12 14:38:48

Me too... Watching this thread with interest. Got a lovely just 3 year old potty refuser here. Also late on milestones but very chatty- am picking up a theme here?!

litquot Tue 27-Nov-12 14:41:24

Would agree that you just have to be patient and tell yourself that you are not a bad mother. My DD (who was also prem) was completely uninterested and although I left it as late as I could you do get to the point where you feel you should compel them to do it. Why I bothered I have no idea, if she doesn't want to do something then she doesn't - and I could have saved myself angst and cleaning! Suddenly at 3.9 she had a conversion and after that it was all pretty easy. We did completely bypass the potty BTW and went straight to the toilet (get an insert seat).

humblebumble Tue 27-Nov-12 14:51:46

My DS2 is 2.10 and is not keen that keen potty training. He knows exactly when he needs to go. He even has a special place that he goes for poos and will hold off needing to go until he is in a nappy.

He had similar milestones to Gins which I thought were average or even early? My DS2 is not a perfectionist though, he is too laid back ... except when it comes to potty training! I have also had to wash everything when I have previously tried. My DH is keener than me to get going on potty training so I might leave it to him this weekend!

maxmissie Tue 27-Nov-12 14:54:34

I would say to just leave it until she makes the decision herself to use the potty/toilet.

My ds potty trained about six weeks ago when he was 3yrs 3 months. I thought he would never do it, he showed no interest at all, had virtually no idea when he was going in his nappy and showed no interest in the potty or toilet. We had one proper attempt about two months ago which started off in the morning really well but by the evening he was refusing to go on the potty or toilet, held in a wee for three hours and no incentive made any difference.

I was constantly comparing him to dd who was out of nappies when she was two by just telling me she didn't want to wear them and that was that and why couldn't ds do the dame.. So I was convinced it was never going to happen with ds, made worse by knowing after our first attempt that he could go but he was deliberately not going.

Then we had another attempt that went the same way as the first...and by the end of the next day he was completely out of nappies and now looks like he might not need them at night.

I don't think the attempts we made before made any difference to when he stopped wearing nappies, he was just ready. by comparing him to dd and other kids I was sure he should be ready and needed some help when with hindsight I should have stopped worrying, knowing the chances were he would do it when it was right for him.

specialknickers Tue 27-Nov-12 14:59:46

I've got another potty refuser right here - sitting happy as larry in his pull ups aged nearly 3. He wasn't prem, hit all the other milestones spot on and is a happy, confident, chatty kid. He just likes his nappy.

I did try, but after a week of being under house arrest he started nursery and I didn't want to make a big deal about things so back to nappies we went. Probably a mistake? I'm not sure.

Keep any other tips coming please, we're going to give it another go soon and I'll give anything a go if it means I'm saving £7 a week and can get rid of the stinky nappy bin...

thing1andthing2 Thu 29-Nov-12 12:20:56

I would say, wait wait wait.
I waited and waited with DD (who is a bit younger at 2.11). MIL and nursery were going on about it. We tried over the summer (well DH did because I was preoccupied with newborn DS), and after two weeks had complete potty refusal and not a single wee in the potty. I just left it till I felt I could take control of it myself (was planning to start in December).
I read the gina ford potty training book, which apart from being ridiculous about what age children are ready, was quite good. So we did the offering the potty at nappy changes/bath/ getting up time thing and eventually a week or two ago she was willing to sit on it and very occasionally produced a wee. A potty trained little friend came round and she wanted to copy sitting on the loo. Last week she asked to have her nappy off which I did and she willingly sat on the potty 4 times before asking to have her nappy back on to actually do a wee. So I took the plunge at the weekend and took away nappies completely and she was dry in the day in 3 days. I still only offer the potty regularly, never try to force the issue, so it's sort of like she's taking responsibility for when to use it.
I am still in shock to be honest but glad I waited it out rather than force the issue. I can't see how you can get any where with an unwilling toddler? Maybe say in your mind, I will try again at age 3.6 unless she is willing sooner? That takes the pressure off. I had a friend with twin boys who had some learning delays (born early) and she waited till 3.6 and it worked out quite well.

lewishammomma Thu 29-Nov-12 23:00:39

It is really reasurring to read all of these posts. My DD will be 3 in 2 weeks and has been refusing to use toilet or potty. We have had a few gos at the potty training over this year with no success, all with her giving us a very clear message LEAVE IT, I WILL DO IT TOMORROW.....I have blamed myself for not giving it enough attention due to having a new baby and generally being crap mum not on top of things, but actually just don't think she has wanted to do it.

I kept her home from nursery as a last resort to try reward chart/potty prizes a few weeks ago as I felt we needed to give it some attention and try out a new strategy as life in pull ups was just getting too comfortable for all of us!!! ( I am really anti pull up now but she still wears them to nursery, and we have not moved on because what do you do when they won't actually use a potty or toilet at all??)

I learnt a lot from that week and it was tough, but although she still will not use the toilet it did get her actually sitting on the loo which she was very afraid of. Actually though what worked more than the rewards in terms of just getting her over the fear of sitting on the loo was spending time playing and making up games in the bathroom so we now have quite an elaborate range of fun stuff we do when she is on the loo (radio on, sunglasses on, special songs I have made up, jigsaws) she also enjoyed looking at happy pictures of other kids on the loo in my no cry potty training book, we also put happy photos of her on the loo seat and around the toilet. A good game to get her on the toilet was ready steady swap seats. So I would sit on the loo and she would be on stool or other removable loo seat and a soft toy on anther and then we would all move round. That actually got her sitting the first time.

She has not yet done a wee or poo on potty or toilet and holds on a lot when in pants, but I think there are some signs she is getting there and I have actually started to feel like one of these days she just might do it, but all your posts have reassured me that if she has not done by her 3rd birthday I am not a complete failure so thank you.

BranchingOut Sat 08-Dec-12 08:25:20

Signing in here, will share some very minor success that will hopefully encourage others.

trixymalixy Sat 08-Dec-12 08:28:52

DD refused to potty train aged 3. We had tried many times before, but she just refused. What worked for us was sheer bribery. She loves angelina ballerina and I said she couldnt go to ballet lessons unless she was out of nappies.

YerMaw1989 Sun 09-Dec-12 02:09:57

I'm in the exact same position OP , its really rough you just feel useless and judged. markling my place OP.

my 3 yr old ds is scared of the toilet its just so hard.

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