6 Ways to Beat Potty Training Resistance

child showing potty training resistanceDespite showing every possible sign of readiness, some toddlers just resist potty training completely. These stubborn children are difficult to train and can test the patience of nearly any parent.

If your child is one of these toddlers, and you’ve exhausted all the tools in your potty training toolbox, consider these expert potty training tips for beating potty training resistance and getting even the most resistant of children to use the potty with enthusiasm:

Potty Training Tip 1: Provide creative potty training incentives and rewards.

Stickers and candy might get your child’s attention for the first day or two, but many kids can get bored with things quickly. When Uncle George gives out lollipops and butterscotch at church every Sunday in exchange for nothing more than a smile, your child probably won’t want to work too hard for candy rewards.

Fight potty training resistance by being creative and giving your child a potty training incentive that will truly motivate her. Think about her interests and hobbies. What is something she would really want or enjoy? Consider buying that and putting it in a high place where she can see it but not reach it. Tell her she can have it once she has earned so many points, stickers, or whatever tally system you use. Seeing the prize in the home every day will keep her motivated to work for it.

Potty Training Tip 2: Equate using the potty with independence.

A great potty training tip is make going potty about independence. Toddlers possess a strong desire for independence. They want to feel like big kids. Use this to your advantage to combat potty training resistance and motivate your child to achieve autonomy in this way. Tell him that big boys go in the potty and praise him for being so grown up when he does it.

Potty Training Tip 3: Break it down into individual tasks.

We all know that breaking any large task down into smaller ones can make it feel more achievable. Focusing on one task at a time is a great potty training tip because it can help you better recognize where your child may be having trouble. Start with the basics– getting undressed. Next, have your child get used to sitting on the potty at designated times throughout the day. Once he has gotten comfortable with this, you can move on to eliminating, wiping, and hand washing.

Potty Training Tip 4: Make prune juice and water your staple beverages.

Keeping your child hydrated will ensure he has to eliminate frequently throughout the day, which gives him more practice using the potty. A glass of prune juice a day can help your child produce regular bowel movements so that constipation doesn’t end up being a potty training barrier.  Potty training resistance can be due to the pain associated with constipation.

Potty Training Tip 5: Use character underwear.

Most toddlers love character underwear, and this alone can be a great potty training incentive for them. They will love wearing their favorite characters, and they won’t be happy about soiling them. This can be great motivation to go in the potty and keep those undies clean and dry.

Potty Training Tip 6: Choose natural consequences over punishment.

Would you punish a child for mispronouncing a word when you’re teaching him to read? Sometimes parents can forget that potty training is a learning process, just like everything else, especially when they feel a child is just being stubborn and resistant. Punishing children for accidents can create feelings of shame, guilt, and frustration, which will only create more potty training resistance.

Accidents are part of the process. Here’s a potty training tip rather than punish him, just let your child experience the natural consequences: “I see you had an accident and didn’t make it to the potty. It is okay to make mistakes, but, you are going to have to clean yourself up. Take off your clothes and hop in the bath. When you’re finished bathing, you will need to rinse off your clothes and put them in the laundry. We’ll try our best to get it off, but your character underwear may have a stain on it now.”

This approach will help the child recognize the extra work he has created by not going in the potty and give him some feelings of independence and responsibility by helping you with the cleaning process.

Additional Potty Training Resources:

Potty Training Resistance Details 

Potty Training the Super Resistant Kid

Brittany Tacket, MA

Brittany Tackett is a psychotherapist, life coach, mental health writer, and mommy to an infant daughter. She currently works part-time as a play therapist at a local elementary school and spends the rest of her time writing, parenting, and running an online collectibles shop. Her approach to mental health is holistic and encompasses all aspects of the human experience. She is trained in a variety of modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, applied behavioral analysis, art therapy, neurolinguistic programming, and positive psychology.

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