Refusing to Use the Potty — My Tips for Success

toddler with arms folded

Do you hear “No” a lot these days? Your Potty Partner can’t help it — saying no is her first step on the road to independence. It sure makes potty training complicated, though. Keep these tips in mind while you’re dealing with a defiant toddler. 

  • Never use punishments or threats. If you get frustrated, take a deep breath and try again later.
  • Ignore accidents and negative behavior. Your disapproval will create more negativity. Try to maintain a neutral reaction.
  • Give your child control. Refusals are about the natural need for control. Giving choices — inside and outside of the bathroom — will increase cooperation over the long run.
  • A power struggle means “Back off.” To help him learn to be in control of his body, let your Potty Partner learn at his own pace. Take a break for a few weeks.
  • Boost fruits and veggies. Constipation is the hidden enemy of potty training, and painful poops can trigger resistance. Healthy, fiber-rich food can help if you think your child might be constipated.
  • Use a little reverse psychology. Try this game: Tell your Potty Partner that you have to go potty, and that you get to go first. She just may try to be the winner of the potty race!

Want more potty-training tips and ideas for Tackling Toddlerhood Together? We've got them here.


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