October 17, 2020

We have all been there, you know when your toddler shows all the signs of being ready to potty train, but yet refuse. You have tried all the potty training methods you can think of and still nothing is working. Your child won’t have anything to do with it. So how do you potty train a child that does not want to be potty trained? We are sharing 7 expert tips to help you with your potty training dilemma.

What is potty training refusal?

Potty training refusal is when a child refuses to use the toilet. They either go hide in the corner to take care of their business, pee their pants, or they hold in their bowel movements. All of these are different forms of potty training refusal.

Why do toddlers resist potty training?

As a mom of kids that resisted potty training, this was the number one question I always asked the pediatrician, “why won’t my kids use the potty?”

Their answer?


It is the one thing in their life that they can control.

There are a few other factors such as fear of the toilet (falling in, the loud flush, or their pee and poo disappearing like that), but the main reason is the control aspect.

So how do you get these stubborn toddlers to potty train?

7 Tips to Potty Training your Stubborn Potty Trainer

Stay positive

Potty training will probably be one of the most frustrating things you will do as a parent. By keeping a positive outlook and encouraging your toddler to use the toilet it will make them want to do it because it makes you happy. In turn, positive praise brings positive action with kids.

Work through struggles

Pooping on the potty can be scary for kids. If your child expresses such fear validate and encourage. Talk with them about it at their level. Help them understand that using the potty is a good thing. Let them express their fears and help them overcome them whatever they may be. 

Have the right tools

Have the right tools for your child. Let them pick out their favorite potty training underwear, buy a small potty, some fun books only for the potty, and get an Oopsie Heros to help at night. Having the right tools will greatly increase your chances of a positive potty training experience for your kids.

Eliminate diapers

I know you might cringe when I say eliminate diapers, but seriously this is key. Toddlers know that diapers are for going to the bathroom. I mean they have used them for years. So get rid of the diapers so that they don’t think they are an option anymore.

The same goes for pull-ups… I mean they really are just glorified diapers to stubborn toddlers with cooler pictures. 

Give rewards

Kids of all ages love rewards and treats. When you are potty training a really stubborn toddler you might have to up the rewards a bit.

For kids who refuse to sit on the toilet, reward them for sitting on the toilet with a small treat. If they pee give them a few more, and if the poo then it is time for the potty dance, lots of candy, and a big celebration. You want your child to know how proud you are of them and what they accomplished.

If this doesn’t work you can try a treasure chest.

With our most stubborn toddler, this was the only thing that worked. I grabbed a bunch of $1 toys and every time he used the bathroom he got a toy out of the basket… I am happy to say he was 100% potty trained in 2 days with this method and he was the one that refused the most out of all my kids.


Moms and dads, sometimes we just have to laugh when potty training stubborn kids. If we don’t we will cry. So laugh at the mishaps and just know that you will get to look back at this time and think remember when… (insert funny potty training story).

Give it time

There is nothing worse than potty training a child who refuses to be potty trained. This will lead to bathroom trips every 15 minutes, lots of accidents, and you on the floor wanting to pull your hair out.

Go ahead and try to potty train your child. If it doesn’t go well and they refuse then take a couple of days off of potty training and then try again. Just remember it takes time and patience.

Potty training a stubborn toddler can be a difficult task, but as you use these expert tips you will be able to help your toddler overcome any potty training challenges that are holding them back. What tips would you add to the list? Share in the comments!

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