Potty Training : Battle of the Wills

Comments (20)

Some children practically potty train themselves, while others struggle and resist against the potty. Potty training should never turn into the battle of the wills. If it does, both you and your child will loose. When dealing with strong-willed child, it's best to turn potty training into a game. Use the following suggestions to make potty training fun and exciting for you and your child:

Musical Potty Chairs - Musical potty chairs, like the Tinkle Toonz, use positive reinforcement by playing a tune to reward your child for a job well done.

Potty Training Dolls - Dr. Phil recommends that parents purchase an anatomically correct drink & wet doll for potty training. Both the Corolle and Aquini potty training dolls can be used with Dr. Phil's method. By helping your child teach the doll to use the potty, your child will learn without realizing it.

Potty Training Charts & Stickers - Potty training charts and stickers can go a long way to motivate your child to use the potty. At first he may need a reward each time he sits on the potty. Eventually you will need to restrict rewards to actually using the potty. When your child uses the potty consistently, stickers can add up to a bigger reward for a specific number of accident free days.

Potty Training Watch - Some children don't want their playtime to be interrupted for frequent potty breaks. However, if you have a fun way to remind your child to take a potty break, he will probably be more receptive. Try a potty training watch, such as the VibraLite, which can be set to vibrate every 30 minutes to 1 hour to remind your child to sit on the potty.

Potty Training Targets - Potty training targets are a great way to teach boys how to aim. They come in a variety of colors and shapes, the potty training targets can also be used to teach colors and shapes.

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About the Author

Danna Henderson started ZIP Baby in order to provide parents with comprehensive potty training information as well as a large variety of potty training products. For more information about potty training, visit Best Potty Training Stuff.


Frustrated-in-TN 06.09.2006. 08:37

Does anyone have any ideas on how to potty train a 3 yr old girl? I've tried everything, a potty chair that makes music, books, videos, sitting her in front of the TV, sitting her in the bathroom, running water, even sitting her on the actual toilet with one of those smaller seat inserts for toddlers, nothing works!! She is in preschool, and the teachers do help with potty training and she will go for them. The thing is that she only goes to school 3 days a week (I can't afford any more than that). On the days she is at home, I am in a constant battle with her to use the bathroom. I try not to yell at her or punish her, but it is so frustrating, especially when I know she can do it since she is doing it at school. Why won't she go potty at home for me? I need help ASAP.


Admin 06.09.2006. 08:37

When I read your question it makes me think that too much emphasis is put on the potty-training. If it were my daugther, I would ask myself what she has to gain from not using the potty at home? Is the time, when she's having her diaper changed the only time of the day when she has mommy completely to herself? Is she afraid to let you down? Is going or not going on the potty the only thing, where she's in charge? You know your daugther, so you can probably think of several other possible reasons for this situation.
Small children cannot control very many things in their daily life - others decide what they shall wear and eat, where they shall spend the day, when it's bedtime etc. One of the only things the child can control (after a certain age) is wheather or not to go in the diaper or on the toilet. Children often experience emotional stress or discomfort as stomach-aches, and often react on such problems by holding back and become constipated or by beginning to pee/deliver faeces in their pants. I am telling you this because a potty-training can become an unresolveable problem, if the child and the parents aren't 'pulling in the same direction'. In these cases - and in your case, as my advice would be, the best way to solve the problem is to stop all talk of the potty and every attempt to potty-train the child. Give the child a break, and when she's ready to use to potty again, she'll let you know. It is not unnormal for a three-yeat-old not to be potty-trained yet. Give her the time, she needs. Best of luck to both of you!


bribri 09.10.2008. 20:28

How do you potty train a three year old that will not listen? My brother just turned three in July and we've been trying to potty train him since he was about two. We started him when he was one and a half and of course didn't work. We tried putting him on the potty every 30 min with underwear but it hasn't seem to work. I just need some answers on what to do because nothing is working.


Admin 09.10.2008. 20:28

Definately a reward system. find his favorite small candy something like m&m's, skittles, smarties etc. You reinforce the good behavior like this. "if you sit on the potty you get 2 candies, if you leave some peepee or poo then you get 5 candies." They pick up the reward concept very very quickly.
The biggest thing to remember is that you can't force a child to potty train. If they don't want to sit on the potty to try then don't force them to, just tell them okay then no candy. Keep in mind that a child will have the urge to go roughly 30 minutes after eating a meal, it's just how the body works.
With the fact that your family has been pushing since he was so little this has very likely turned into a battle of wills. Sorry but a toddler will always win in the potty battle. They will wait until the minute you let them off the potty and go in their pants or will run and hide when they realise they need to go to avoid the potty. You have to change their concept of the potty and make it fun and rewarding.
Make sure he has a potty that he likes and is comfortable with. Ideally it is a potty that they cannot fall into and can reach the floor with their feet. The potty is a big scarey thing to toddlers so anything you can do to make them feel safe and secure is a good thing.
If he likes stickers you can try a calendar sticker reward chart. Walmart has booklets of stickers where it's some normal sized stickers for on his shirt and little ones for the calendar. It's nearly 900 stickers for $3. If he uses the potty for a week he gets to go to the park. Things like that go a huge distance for changing the potty into something he wants instead of something you want him to do.


Danielle 12.10.2009. 13:16

what age should i try to start potty training? my daughter will be a year old in 2 weeks. shes starting to walk, and i was just wondering how early i can try to start potty training her.


Admin 12.10.2009. 13:16

I started potty training my daughter when she showed interest at about 19 months. She took to it very well and I think its because I waited until she was ready. A lot of ppl want to jump start this process, but it really comes down to your kid. You can be ready, but if your kid isn't ready then its going to be a battle.


Berly 09.07.2008. 03:10

How old should you start to potty training a littel boy? My son is 13 months old is it time to potty train I did my girl this young. So what about a boy. he show some signs.So how old should he been and why?


Admin 09.07.2008. 03:10

You may want to try to start. But if you push it and they're not ready, you will just have a big battle on your hands. My oldest son was trained between 2-2 1/2. My youngest son is almost 2 and we have just started talking about it, but he is not ready yet. Good Luck!


Claudia 29.12.2011. 21:56

When should i start potty training my daughter? she is almost 2 years ? She is almost 2 and I was wondering when should I start potty training her? Is it too soon?


Admin 29.12.2011. 21:56

if she shows an understanding of being wet or dirty, and why, then try her.

if not, she's not ready and it will be a huge battle...


I smile because of them ? 18.09.2007. 17:28

Will leaving my daughter in a wet diaper help her become potty trained? She's 2 1/2 and she can't stand being wet anymore. She cries and cries whenever she's wet for me to change her "Damper" (diaper & pamper mixed together LOL) Anyway if I leav her in the diaper will it hel with tht potty training. I need to get her out of diapers already!! I know she's ready because she hates diapers and just wants to wear her panties but she always pees in them still. I don't even know how to being to potty train!!
I don't mean all day!!!! Come on people!! I mean she comes running to me right after she pees once. I mean to leave her in it after a few times instead of just one pee!!

I smile because of them ?

Admin 18.09.2007. 17:28

No - and not advisable. This is not how the free world potty trains their kids. Sorry! It is a fantastic way to end up with diaper rash though. Probably not what you want.

Here are the steps and it's worked like a charm with all of my four children (some are more stubborn than others, but it was basically easy - easy - easy!)

NO diapers, NO pull-ups, nothing that even resembles a diaper because she needs to be all done with them. If she still needs one overnight, that's fine, but I would wake my kids up in the middle of the night to go and they didn't have accidents.
Go to the store and buy at least 2 packages of panties. Let her pick them out! Also pick out treats (and these shouldn't be candy, but something healthy that she loves and doesn't have very often - something very special)
Take an entire weekend off and dedicate it to potty training.
On Friday, or whichever day you choose, beginning in the AM - take all bottoms off. Tell her what you're doing - no more yucky diapers, she's big! Tell her she's going to go on the potty all day and get treats! She gets to run around bare all day, except for a shirt. If she is taking a nap - of course, give her a blanket.
GIVE HER LOTS TO DRINK! It can be Milk, juice or water - but give her lots. I think I gave my oldest kool-aid (which I never did, but I wanted her to drink a lot, hence, she would have to go a lot). Keep her in a room without carpets, if at all possible.
WATCH HER LIKE A HAWK - as soon as she starts to go (and she will eventually), pick her up and run her to the bathroom. I used a seat that clipped onto the toilet seat. It worked great - I told my daughter it was HERS and she was all happy. As soon as she gets anything into the toilet - she gets a treat. Tons of praise - tell her how proud you are and how big she is!!! Make a huge deal - clap, hug - everything.

Continue to give lots of fluids - when she has to go - ask her - or wait until she starts going again. With all of mine, they were 2 yrs old and they were telling me by the 3rd or 4th time they had to go - they continued all weekend and by Sunday, they were wearing underwear and telling me when they had to go. Everytime they went, they got treats and it was a big deal.
If she has an accident in her pants - I found by making it unpleasant, they quit doing it. I would say, "Oh NO! That's not good - what a mess!" Hand her a washcloth and make her clean as much as she is able. Try not to help. The more times she has to clean herself (and do not turn this into bathtime with toys - there is no reward here) and take care of the wet clothes, the quicker she'll stop = it works like a charm. I even made the water just cooler than warm. It wasn't cold, but it wasn't pleasant and I would say, "I can't afford hot water for your bath and this all the time. You're going to have to hurry." Oh did my 2nd daughter hate that! She'd cry and whine and I just ignored her and acted disappointed.
You can do it - just do not give in and don't make it a battle of wills. She's ready - take 3 days and get rid of the diapers for good!
Best Wishes!


Drifter 09.09.2008. 02:23

How can I get my toddler to poop in the potty? He has already mastered potty training for pipi. He doesn't even have accidents at night or during naps. The problem is that he will not poop in the potty. I have to chase him down and put a diaper on when he looks like he's going to poop. Any ideas? i have already done the stickers and rewards and stuff and it doesn't work. Anything new I can try?


Admin 09.09.2008. 02:23

Pooping in the potty is very hard for young children, this is something he will master in his own time. All you can do is watch for those signs that hes gotta go, and place him on the potty. "They" say never to bribe a child to go potty, but I found that offering one skittle, or m&M, a sticker, or a stamp often worked wonders when saying no was more of a battle of wills.


Dawg Star 22.10.2007. 16:46

How do I potty train a stubborn 3 yr old boy? My son is getting ready to turn 4 soon and he refuses to be potty trained. My wife and I have been on him for over a year now and have run out of ideas. Just to let you know he is extreemly smart, he know sign language, addition, reads books like a 6 yr old, and has full conversations with adults (He has his mom's brains).

Dawg Star

Admin 22.10.2007. 16:46

It sounds like you have gotten yourself into a power struggle. This is a battle you cannot will because it is something only your son can control. I suggest you let it go for a few days and then try this:

Take him shopping and let him pick out some ?Big Boy? underwear. Count out the remainder of his diapers with him and say ?10 more diapers left. When these run out you get to use the toilet.? Let him use the adult toilet. It is usually easier to train boys first while sitting down to eliminate confusion (standing up for #1 and sitting for #2). If he is not comfortable using the adult toilet, get him a stool like this http://thepottystool.com/. Make sure he is in clothing that he can get on and off without your help. When you think it is about time he should go or if you see him doing the potty dance say to him ?It looks like you need to use the bathroom.? Don?t push it or he will resist. If he is successful reward him by saying things like ?You did it!? ?You must feel so proud!? ?You used the toilet!? If he soils himself, say to him ?It looks like you need to change.? Keep calm. Let him take care of as much of the clean up as possible. He can remove his soiled clothing, put them in a bag and into the laundry, clean himself (take a bath if necessary), and put on some clean clothing. It won?t take long for him to learn that it is much easier to use the bathroom. It will be much easier on all of you if you put the power into his hands when it comes to training him.

Hope this helps and happy training!


Christy R 07.02.2007. 18:55

How do I get my 2 year old to potty train?? My 2 year old refuses to potty train! I have been trying for months to get her to use her potty. I have offered her treats and rewards for using but she just is not interested in the potty at all. What should i do to help the process along?

Christy R

Admin 07.02.2007. 18:55

you can encourage her by showing her books, videos, dvds that have the little stories about it...

I found, only because of how many times I have done this, that it becomes a struggle, almost a battle of wills when I have tried to force the issue..... so, my best advise is to not let it get to that point....

the rest of anything I can tell you... might work, or not.. each child is different... I am working on potty training number five here and having done this five times? I can say only that I had to get creative and come up with five different ways of getting them to give up the diaper/pullups.... doesn't sound too encouraging, but it is actually a pretty easy thing to teach our children.. once we find incorporate our own child's preferences... reasons.. etc...

some toddlers are afraid.... pure and simple.. fear is ugly, as we know.... and a fear of something we do not understand that is happening in us, that we do not even have to to describe/explain to anyone... well that is more so.... pediatricians, teachers and those child "experts" have all agreed that toddlers first response to doing a #2 is to think a part of their body is coming out... kind of gross.. ok.. very gross really... but? it is what stops a toddler at first sometimes... they can ready, want to.... able to understand, and have enough of the control needed and everything else is in place to get them taught and on to the next thing? but they get on there... and... well... they get afraid... halts the process.... that could be the first and only obstacle in your daughter's path.... is understanding the "process" so the stories, silly songs might help her.... or just you and she talking... it does not have to be gross.... but after you try next time, if you get down to eye level with her, and tell her it is ok... no big deal... and ask her if she understands/knows what is happening that makes her need to do #1 or 2... see how much she grasps so far... and take it from there as to how much/little to tell her and whether you want to just give her the "stinky" facts the way an adult would? or as a kid... I always have gone with putting it to the individual child's level... in comprehension and terms... but straight facts.... for all serious things that pertain to them.... that is a personal choice though....

I use a combination, especially if I do not know which one my son likes or is motivating him... I use "smiley/star chart" he gets a smiley everytime he uses the potty instead of having an accident.... and if he goes the whole day he gets to put a star on the chart as well... we have not gotten to use the stars yet... I bought a new potty chair for each child... they helped pick it out... it is their's.... it helps at times when the child gets to have a say, or participates in shopping, buying... my youngest daughter (now four) wanted to potty train so young... I wanted her to be encouraged, motivated.. I was impressed! she was only twelve months... she had been walking, climbing though since four/five months... trying to toddle after and keep up with her older brother and sisters.... she started indicating that she wanted the potty... she was afraid of falling in (she was and is tiny) that slowed her.... I was hestitant about starting so young... after all they say once you start.. do not "end" it and re-begin down the road... but slow it, take cues from the child... well she would look so upset, act embarrassed and did the hiding in corners when she needed to "relieve" herself... so I knew she was giving me all the cues that she wanted and needed to be taught how to... I took her shopping, I had already bought her one.. but she did not seem to like going near it.. still do not know why.. nothing wrong with it.. anyway..... my daughter loves to shop... she picked the one that is a "throne" and plays music... it had a princess and prince book... she carried that everywhere.. everyone HAD to read it to her.. she read it to everyone... within a week she was accident free during the day.... she was 18months by then... I had done treats, gifts, surprises... rewards, stars... I was ready to pull my hair out... then it dawned on me that she likes to control her environment as much as possible... she prefers to pick out her own clothes, and even then had very defiitive tastes.. likes and dislikes...and she is all "girl" so... she shopped and found one.. and her "reward" was a new dress each week her chart had all stars.. she loved that... for the whole month of the chart her "big" reward was her nails done as well.... not sure if your daughter is similar... I have three daughters and my eldest just decided she did not like the feeling of the wet, stinky... and fifteen yrs ago diapers were not as absorbent... so that was her motivation.. one day she decided to.. but since the drs had said let the child lead on potty training, I had waited.. she was not interested till she was four.. talked about it before.. went no where... my second daughter; she wanted to be like big sister....

one of the things helping now is my four yr old... lol.. she is a very assertive young lady and tells her brother like it is. "just do it.. sit there and make a face like this.. and it happens.. no big deal" is what she was saying last night to him... they have potty chairs next to each other... and every night she helps to try and encourage him... his is fear.. since we have done all the explaining and continue to remind him that it is okay... his is more of a matter of timing for that.... I have to have him "ON" the potty when he can not (excuse the bluntness?) hold the #2 in anymore.... so he can see for himself that he had nothing to fear... you know... patience and time for that one...

I apologize if this is long-winded, I wanted to give you as much info to assist as possible... every child is different remember.. so just keep at it..be patient... consistent.. and use what you know about your daughter... what her favorite anything/everything is... the rewards are and will work along with that...
good luck


Doris 19.01.2011. 16:03

How to potty train twin boys? Our twin boys are 2 1/2 years old. They do not seem very interested in potty training at the moment. Our daycare is working with them and claim to be having more sucess then us. My husband wants them in underwear and plastic pants when home (except nap and bedtime). At this point I am doing ALOT of laundry and getting highly frustrated. Anybody with some advice on how to approach this issue?
Thanks in advance for any constructive advice.


Admin 19.01.2011. 16:03

I can tell that you're frustrated...My twin daughters were 3 when they started potty training-and I had a 6 month old baby. I didn't push the potty training because we were around at home a lot. In your situation, I'm wondering what the rush is? If it's just because it's "time" to get them trained, you may be fighting an uphill battle of wills. If it's about money, and you don't want to buy anymore diapers (I can relate) there is a book on potty training in one day that I've heard works well. I'm sorry I don't know the title off hand. If you're still quite frustrated, then take a break and re-evaluate it with your husband. I'd encourage you to be on the same page with your husband. Answer a few questions together: What's frustrating about this situation (it's good to state the obvious)? What does it look like to have toddler twin boys who are ready to potty train? What is the potty training plan we'd like to have in our home? How can we share the responsibility of the laundry? Would it be okay to take a break from potty training? Are you willing to take a break from potty training and wait until the boys express interest on their own? Hope this helps! They will learn to go on the potty without accidents in time!


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