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10 Key Steps In Potty Training A Stubborn 3 Year Old Who Refuses
Potty training a stubborn child can feel like an impossible task.
I get it.
I did the “bare-bottom” method, the “potty train in 3 days” method, the “potty party” method,… and my son is still not toilet trained at age 3.
It took my stubborn toddler almost 5 months to know how to use the toilet. I came to realize that there are strategies that will work, you just need to find what works best for your child.
Here are the tips that worked for me and my stubborn 3 year old. Hopefully, they help you too!
This post is all about potty training a stubborn child
Understand Your Child’s Personality And Motivations
Knowing what motivates your child is a crucial step towards potty training success. Every kid responds differently to praise, rewards, and different styles of teaching. Understanding what resonates with your child will help you know when to be persistent and when to back off completely.
For example, my son loves anything with wheels so we got him a paw patrol toilet seat and reward him with car stickers when he uses the toilet.
If you take some time to figure out what your child likes and dislikes, you’ll be in a much better place to help them master potty training.
Determine The Correct Expression For Using The Toilet
All caregivers should use the same language when teaching kids on using the toilet. For example, “go pee-pee or poo-poo”.
This is especially important for multi-lingual families.
Alos, the word for using the toilet may be different at home and at school. It may confuse or delay your child to communicate about using the toilet before they go if different words are used to describe the same thing.
So, communicate with your family members and caregivers. Make sure that everyone uses the same phrases when potty training a stubborn child.
Have All Potty Training Tools And Supplies Ready To Go
Although you can technically put your child on the toilet directly, it is very uncomfortable for them as our toilet is too big for their tiny bodies. Besides, the “hole” in the toilet can be intimating to most kids.
To minimize their sense of insecurity, provide a potty training toilet that is designed for them. You can put their name or even stickers on the toilet so that they feel that the toilet belongs to them.
I have found that most potty training toilets are designed for smaller kids. If your child is too big for the training toilet, try to use a toilet seat instead. Also, put a small stool in front of the toilet so that his legs are not hanging on the toilet. This will give him a better sense of security.
Try not to hold your child while on the toilet as much as possible. This is to establish a sense of independence and self-control in the potty environment.
Having some flushable wipes handy takes the stress out of toilet training. We love the Kandoo flushable wipes because it’s very gentle and wipes much better than toilet paper. The wipes are smaller than your standard wet wipes, making it easier for small hands to use.
Put The Training Toilet In The Bathroom
Placing the training toilet in the bathroom will make the transition to using the real toilet much easier. You want your child to associate using the toilet with the bathroom, not the playroom, bedroom, living room, etc.
Also, if you are unsuccessful with a training toilet, give it some time before you try another brand or switch to using the toilet seat altogether.
Switching training toilets may cause confusion and insecurity, making potty training more difficult for your child.
Make Potty Training Fun And Comfortable
Encourage your child to sit on the training toilet with pants on as a start. Read books, play with toys or sing songs to make her feel that sitting on the toilet is fun. The last thing you want is to have your child associate stress with using the potty.
If there are older kids at home, have your child observe how easy it is to use the toilet. Kids learn best by observing other kids!
Teach Your Child To Associate Elimination With Using The Potty
Encourage your child to take off his own pants and then sit on the potty chair or toilet seat. Try to explain to him that when the diaper is wet, we take off our pants and sit on the potty.
When your child has a soiled diaper, you can throw the poop in the potty to show him where his waste belongs.
Teaching your child to make the connection between their waste with the potty is very important, and many parents ignore this step.
Throwing away soiled diapers immediately will greatly reduce your child’s chance of quitting diapers because she never knows the purpose of using the potty – which is to replace diapers.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
The goal is to have your child use the potty every time he is awake. When he pee or poop in the toilet, give lots of praise! Slowly train your child to tell you the need to go. If he hasn’t peed in the past 3 hours, ask him whether he wants to go. If your child usually has a bowel movement at a certain time of the day, ask him whether he needs to poop.
Potty training a stubborn child can take 6 months or longer. So when accidents happen, don’t get angry or show your disappointment.
Follow Dad To The Restroom When Potty Training A Stubborn Boy
Kids learn best by example. If you want to potty train a stubborn boy, have him follow dad to the restroom. This is especially effective if you want to train your son on how to pee standing up.
We taught our son how to pee sitting down and also standing up during the same time. Through this process, we eliminate power struggles and unnecessary fightbacks. Baby W actually learned how to pee both ways at the same time!
Make The Transition To Wearing Cotton Underwear
During the early phases of potty training, you can have your child wear pull-ups. Pull-ups are less absorbent than diapers and allow kids to pull up or down to encourage independence.
After a few days of successful potty training, transition to wearing cotton underwear. If accidents happen all the time, go back to wearing pull-ups.
Never rush to quit diapers or have your child wear a wet diaper for an extended period of time as a punishment.
Let Your Toddler Help You Choose His Own Potty Training Underwear
Your toddler is more likely to be excited about wearing underwear if she is involved in the choosing process.
Bring her with you when shopping for potty training supplies and let her choose her own potty training underwear. This step can also help kids feel less intimidated by the prospect of moving to a big kid toilet since they’ll see it as a choice that they made.
If you don’t want to spend money on new underwear, finding some special stickers and letting your child decorate her old undies works just as well.
Potty training is a delicate process and can take up to 6 months for your stubborn child to master using the toilet independently. It is inevitable to encounter setbacks, so use your positivity and patience as you support your child in learning this new skill!
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