Potty training for when your kid won’t go

“Remember people: when you see a grumpy person..be nice to them…they could be potty training a toddler.” -mumProbs

I’m starting to potty train my second child, and it’s much harder than the first. You always hear girls are easier to potty train than boys. Girls will be potty trained on average by their second birthday and boys by their third birthday. Well, my daughter is in her third year and still not potty trained.

Here are the signs of potty training readiness.

  • Waking up with a dry diaper
  • Showing interest in the potty
  • Letting you know when he or she has a wet or poopy diaper
  • Letting you know when he or she is going to pee or poop
  • Talking about the potty
  • Going to a corner or stopping an activity and squatting to poop
  • Expressing diaper discomfort

On the first day of potty training, my daughter listed all the members of the family who were potty-going members of society. “Mommy goes pee on the potty. Daddy goes pee on the potty. B. goes pee on the potty.”

I chime in. “Don’t forget MeMe, [her lovey]. MeMe goes pee on the potty.”

“Nooooo, MeMe doesn’t have a BUTT!” J. angrily shouts.

She’s not wrong. Stuffed animals don’t really have butts. The above exchange sums up the strife of potty training on day 1. She had about six accidents that day. I don’t know for certain because I stopped counting. The majority of those accidents happened right after a visit to the potty.

Here’s what we did in my household. It’s informed by counsel from our pediatrician and Internet research.

What you need:

  • sticker chart
  • stickers
  • smaller prizes that are part of a large playset*
  • candle and lighter
  • candy

*We bought this, a Peppa Pig’s Lights and Sounds Family Home Feature PlaySet. It’s a big gift, the kind of toy you’d give your child for a birthday, Christmas, or a successful run of potty training. My daughter J. won’t earn the entire house until she goes pee and poop on the potty.

What you do:

  1. Plan to be home bound and potty train for three to five days.
  2. Set a potty timer every one to two hours. My pediatrician told me bring J. every two hours, but I took my daughter every hour. J. is 3 years, 2 months old for a reference point. The potty timer time will undoubtedly change depending on how old your child is.
  3. Every time your child sits on the potty, he or she gets one sticker.
  4. Every time pee or poop comes out, he or she gets one additional sticker.
  5. You can also award stickers for other things like a) pulling pants down, b) pulling pants up, c) washing hands.
  6. Stay in the bathroom, sitting on the potty, for five minutes.
  7. Every five* stickers earns a prize from the play set. Peppa’s Home (See above.) has thirteen accessories, so your child can pick a bathtub, bed, Peppa figurine, etc. from the house. *You can make this number eight to ten stickers for more of a challenge. That’s the number my pediatrician recommended.
  8. Optional: If you have children who really need coaxing, award candy every time he or she pees or poops on the potty.


  • Take your child to the bathroom twenty minutes after he or she has had something to drink.
  • Bring your child to the bathroom after meals and snacks.
  • Walk your child to the bathroom upon waking up in the morning, after naps, and at bedtime.
  • Visit the potty after strenuous exercise that may stimulate the urge to pee.
  • Have your child blow out a candle on the potty. It keeps him or her sitting on the potty. Further blowing out air naturally pulls the belly button toward the core, which puts pressure on the bladder to make urine come out.
  • Turn on the bathroom tap to encourage your little one to go No. 1. You can even try pouring warm water on his or her crotch. My little one did not like this though.
  • Create a clean underwear chart. After a certain number of successful days, have a celebratory potty party.
  • Keep a portable potty and wipes in your car trunk. You can keep on a potty schedule when you’re out and without a bathroom.
  • Stay positive. I know it’s hard, but it’s the best thing you can do to stay on track and keep things moving forward.


A Final Thought – From the Pillow

Be nice to that grumpy mom or dad who may be potty training a toddler.

So be kind to yourself and to your toddler during this trying time. If you have to stop potty training because your toddler isn’t ready and resume in a few weeks, it’s okay.

How did you potty train? Did you use a program? What tips do you have?

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