Potty Training Resistance: When Battle Fatigue Hits


I’m six months into potty training daughter number two and I’ll be honest: I am so sick of it. It is problematic to wish away even a day of your kids being little, but seriously if I could skip this moment, I’d be fine with that.  potty training for many families is very challenging

I went into this one with some serious reservations after the fiasco that was potty training our older daughter. Zealous, we began potty training at 18 months and fumbled through nearly two and a half years of bathroom-hell. We even had to put off a year of preschool due to her untrained status.

Alas, no one enters high school without being potty trained and our daughter is now an independent five-year-old on her way to kindergarten. If you’re in the weeds, trust that it will happen. Eventually. Whether you obsess and make you and your child miserable or not. 

Still worried? Here is a great article from care.com about potty training resistance.

So what’s a gal to do when potty training fails?

[dropcap]1.[/dropcap] Steer into the skid. And, by that I mean- [typography font=”Montserrat” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#649ed1″]keep going. Keep being consistent.[/typography] We are not just potty training, we are human training. This means there is much more at stake here than giving up the diaper aisle for good. We are teaching our kids how to be decent adults: the kind of people who are patient, forgiving, persistent, and potty trained. 

[dropcap]2.[/dropcap] Go ahead and google “potty training failure”. I’ll wait. Do you see what I see? Lots of pieces by moms like you and I who are also struggling with this whole potty training B.S. We are not alone. Turns out [typography font=”Montserrat” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#649ed1″]Momming ain’t easy and if you are struggling so are 500 other families. [/typography]

[dropcap]3.[/dropcap] Reconsider your prize box. What is something your child REALLY wants? What is their favorite thing?  One of the few things everyone agrees on about potty training is the value of positive reinforcement. [typography font=”Montserrat” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#649ed1″]Positive reinforcement means that if you follow the desired behavior with something highly preferred then the behavior will be more likely to occur again. [/typography] Is your reinforcer strong enough? Is it something you can control and only give when your child makes it to the potty?

a cause of potty training accidents could be constipation

[dropcap]4.[/dropcap][typography font=”Montserrat” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#649ed1″]Consider constipation. [/typography] In his article about bad potty training advice pediatric urologist, Steve Hodges M.D. states that “healthy poop looks like frozen yogurt or mushy blobs, not logs or pellets” and that firm poop could mean your child is constipated and that this may be the source of your potty training trouble. 

[dropcap]5.[/dropcap] Avoid the power struggle. According to Summit Medical Group’s article Toilet Training Resistance, most children under the age of 5 who are [typography font=”Montserrat” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#649ed1″]resistant to potty training “without any other symptoms are simply engaged with you in a power struggle.” [/typography] Which makes sense; there are few things in a toddler’s life he or she can control and we are so desperate for them to comply. The Summit Group’s article also offers some helpful advice about getting yourself out of the cycle. 

Wherever you are on this journey, you’re not alone.

It can be really hard to potty train and it’s easy to feel like a failure. Have faith, have some patience and I promise you’ll get through it.

What are your potty training secrets?