What It Takes To Break Toddler
Potty Training Resistance

Toddler potty training resistance is actually quite common. While most children show signs of physical readiness to begin using the toilet as toddlers, usually between 18 months and 3 years of age, not all children have the intellectual readiness to be potty trained at this age.


Every child is different, and will respond to the process in their own way. Some toddlers are quick to become potty trained and others have a harder time. That is what this page is about.


Potential Reasons for Developing a Resistance to Toddler Potty Training can include:

  • Afraid to sit on the Potty Chair
  • Believe it or not, flushing the toilet may have scared your toddler from wanting to sit on the toilet
  • Being pushed too early or fast before they were ready
  • Punishment for not using the potty or being forced to sit on the potty
  • Inconsistent training, especially among different caregivers. See My Potty Training Tips page for other helpful suggestions.
  • He may have had a painful bowel movement from being constipated. If this is the case, treat his constipation and wait until he is having regular, soft bowel movements before you begin training again.
  • You may have a stubborn child, whom is involved in a power struggle with his parents and is using his control over where he has a bowel movement
  • Children will enjoy the negative attention they receive from not using the potty or from having accidents
  • Although rare, there are medical conditions that can make it difficult for your child to hold in or delay urinating or having a bowel movement. Discuss with your Pediatrician if there are any medical reasons why you may be having a hard time teaching your child to use potty, especially if he seems to have other delays in his development.


When your toddler begins to use the potty, it is normal for them to have accidents. It is not uncomm0n for them to refuse to use the potty either. The process of being fully potty trained can take time, often up to three to six months for most children. Having accidents or occasionally refusing to use the potty is normal and not considered resistance.

Early on in potty training, especially if your child is less than 3 - 3 1/2 years old, resistance should be treated by just discontinuing training for a few weeks or a month and then trying again. At this age (18 months to 3 years), resistance is usually because your child just may not be ready to begin potty training.

If you have an older toddler 3 1/2 years of age or older then your child may be showing signs of resistance. Potty training resistance usually occurs because your child has had a bad experience at some point during potty training, especially if he was started before he was ready. Other times, especially with strong willed or stubborn children, it may have nothing to do with your technique or timing.

It was effortless for me and my husband. My son potty trained himself. It happened before he was 2 years old. However, I have friends who tell me that they experienced toddler potty training resistance and their children were much older. It really depends on your child. These are techniques that will help out the toddler who is not interested in leaving their diapers behind....:(


Things to Avoid That May Prevent Resistance:

  1. Do not begin the potty training process during a stressful time or period of change in the family (moving, new baby, etc.)
  2. Never push your child too FAST. You cannot force potty training.
  3. Punishing mistakes (treat accidents and mistakes lightly). You should never spank or punish your toddler for having accidents during potty training.


It is important that you discuss with your child what they are feeling. Even your toddler can express why they may be afraid to use the potty. You can help them feel better about beginning the process. Use LOVE at all times. Never make toddler potty training a stressful time for your child. Stress can lead to resistance.






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