If your child refuses to go to the bathroom? A what-to-do guide

When it comes to potty training, it’s all about getting the timing right. Get that right and they’ll be dry before you know it. After you’ve had years of buying disposables nappies, you probably can’t wait for your little one to be potty trained. But don’t rush into it because the more planning you do, the better your chances of success.

The secret to success is to wait until your child is physically and emotionally ready. Follow their cues and don’t be put off by other parents talking about how their children learnt to use the potty a lot earlier than yours. Many children start at around the age of 2 but each child differs from the other, so the key is to stay calm and don’t rush them into it.

Teaching your little one how to use the potty will require time and patience on your part, and a reasonable degree of cooperation and motivation from your child. The key to stubborn toddler potty training success is starting when your toddler is interested, willing, and physically able to. While some kids are ready as young as 18 months, others may not be prepared to learn until well past their third birthday.

Some experts even suggest that boys tend to a stay in their nappies a bit longer than girls because they’re generally more active and may less likely to stop and take the time to use the potty.

 This has been mentioned before but it is all about time, when trying to potty train your stubborn toddler.

It is also important to bear in mind that most children learn to control their bowels well before learning to control their bladders. An Infant Step by Step Potty is an ideal option to have at home to help persuade your toddler to learn how to start going alone.

By age one, most babies have stopped doing poos at night.By age two, some children will be dry during the day, but this is still quite early. By age three, 9 out of 10 children are dry most days – even then, all children have the odd accident, especially when they’re excited, upset or absorbed in something else. By age four, most children are reliably dry during the day.It usually takes almost twice as long for children to learn to stay dry throughout the night.

Although most learn this between the ages of three and five, up to one in five children aged five sometimes still bed wet. Below are some tips to aid you in finally getting your stubborn toddler potty trained.

Turn Potty Time Into a Magic Trick Time

Boost the fun factor of using the potty by giving Reusable Potty Training Reward Stickers. This works when you put a blank sticker into the base of a potty. Then all you have to do is get your toddler to pee in the potty, and then watch as an image of a train, flower, fire truck, or butterfly appears!

After you empty, clean, and dry the potty, the image disappears, ready to be used again and again for up to six weeks. This also comes with a goodnight sleep chart.

If your toddler refuses to use potty - Potty Train in Sessions

The book Potty Training Boys the Easy Way: Helping Your Son Learn Quickly–Even If He’s a Late Starter by Fertleman, Caroline, Cave, Simone (2009) Paperback by Caroline Fertleman and Simon Cove suggests starting off with potty training sessions. This means that you’ll want to train your child in the morning and afternoon for a few hours at home.

Let him eat, drink and play as normal, but every 15 minutes put him on the potty. At the end of each session, put your toddler back into a pull up nappy and go on with your day. When you get home for work, have another session. If you leave the house, have a spare potty in the car or visit places you’re sure have public restrooms.

Potty training – Buy the right equipment

When your child is sitting on the potty, it’s important for him to be able to lean slightly forward with his feet on the ground, especially when he’s having a bowel movement. Most experts advise buying a child-size potty, which your toddler will also feel more secure on than sitting on a full-size toilet. (Many toddlers can be afraid of falling into the toilet, and their anxiety can interfere with potty training.)

If you would rather buy an adapter seat for your regular toilet, make sure it’s comfortable and attaches securely. You may want to pick up a few picture books or videos for your son, which can make it easier for him to grasp all this new information. Everyone Poops, by Taro Gomi, is a perennial favourite, as is Uh, Oh! Gotta Go! and Once Upon a Potty, which even comes in a version with a doll and a miniature potty.


Get creative and Give a Reward

Stickers, bubbles or a single M&M are all good potty prizes. Food prizes like a pizza party for dinner or ice cream sundae bar for dessert (set out sprinkles, gummy bears and cherries in bowls, and let your child create his own sundae) are also great ideas. If you don’t want to spend money, look around your house for an art project you can do together and display it so he can show off his “potty prize.”

Heap on the Praise

The key to this is to pick a praise style that’s consistent with your parenting style. For many parents rewards are not an option, where lots of undivided attention, positive reinforcement, love, affection and pride were successful. Celebrating small steps of progress is key.

The method – Each time your child uses the potty correctly, sing his praises. If you have family around then ask relatives to fuss over your little one as well.

As always, praise is your child’s best teacher. Say something like, ‘You were a big boy/girl to use the potty,’ but don’t make a big deal of it. Ignore the odd lapse and never tell them off for failing to use the potty or having an accident. The plus side to this method is that internalised rewards build self-esteem, and kids usually relish attention more than any toy.

Motivate with cool underwear

Get your stubborn toddler focused on the benefits of being potty trained by going on a special shopping trip together – buying underwear. Let your toddler know that they get to choose whatever kind of anti-leakage underwear they want (animals, super heroes or trains, whatever appeals).

Show Them How It’s Done

If you have a stubborn little boy, it can be an obvious challenge for single moms, teaching how to stand and pee. Sure, you can pop him on a stool and tell him to go for it, however a visual is much better. Have a male role model like grandpa, a godfather or uncle show your son exactly what to do. Make it more fun by giving him things to aim at, like bright Fruit Loops or Tinkle Targets. In no time, your son will be standing and peeing on his own (phew, since public facilities are so germy).

Celebrate triumphs

Your little one will undoubtedly have a few accidents, but eventually he will enjoy the accomplishment of getting something in the potty. Celebrate this moment with fanfare. Reinforce the idea that your toddler has reached a significant milestone by rewarding him/her with a “big kid” privilege such as watching a new video or a longer stay at the playground. Try not to make a big deal out of every trip to the potty, or your child will start to feel nervous and self-conscious under the glare of all that attention.

Set a Deadline for Bedtime Drinks

Lay off milk and juice at least an hour before bedtime to help your child stay dry at night. One way to do it might be to serve a late dinner so your child’s full and doesn’t need more food and drinks right before bed. Remember, night-time training often comes later than daytime training; you might want to focus on one at a time so you’re both not overwhelmed.

It is okay to start your toddler off sleeping and napping in a pull-up.

You’ll be surprised how likely it is for your little one to wake up dry if you slow down on the drinks, and soon you’ll be ditching the pull-ups and using underwear instead.

Ditch your stubborn toddlers pull-ups and nappies

By the time your little one ready to say goodbye to pull-ups altogether, you would have both come a long way and accomplished a lot. Acknowledge this and reinforce your child’s pride in their achievement by allowing them hand over any leftover nappies and pull-ups to a family with younger kids. If you’re in a really ecstatic mood, you may want to join him/her in a joyful jig around the house and call it the “no more nappies” dance.

Good luck.