How To Potty Train A Stubborn Toddler - What Katy Said

How To Potty Train A Stubborn Toddler

I thought I had potty training sussed, I thought I was a potty training expert, I’m wasn’t. You see, Gracie was potty trained at 2 and a half and it only took a week for her to grasp it. Easy! Except it had nothing to do with my abilities as a parent and everything to do with the fact that she was ready to do it anyway.

Lils is now 3 and it just hasn’t clicked at all. At 2 and a half I tried to start the process but she was having none of it – she couldn’t care less that she was sitting in a soggy nappy. At first I thought there must be something wrong, that I was doing something wrong but after lots of Googling and speaking to friends I realised that she just wasn’t ready. She wasn’t ready and that was totally fine.

If I am honest I haven’t really encouraged it anyway, having a baby threw a few spanners into the works I can tell you! So as much as she hasn’t been ready, I haven’t given her much opportunity to show any interest either.

How To Potty Train A Stubborn Toddler. Tips for introducing potty training for stubborn toddlers

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to sow the seeds, give the suggestion of starting the process without putting on any pressure. I know that if I push the situation she will just push back with her stubborn streak in full force. Nobody tells a toddler what to do but you can definitely make them think it was their idea…

How To Potty Train A Stubborn Toddler

There is plenty of advice out there with potty training tips and signs to look out for but what if they are showing signs but still aren’t interested?

New Pants

All children love to get new things don’t they? We went shopping for some new knickers the other day and she absolutely loves them! Knowing she has some pretty pants ready and waiting for her is making her pay more attention to the fact she is wearing nappies.

Read Potty Training Books

Personalised potty training book 2

Reading stories about other children and their potty training adventures helps to set the scene. Lils has quite a few and loves looking at the pictures and saying ‘me do that too’. We were sent a gorgeous personalised potty training book from Penwizard and the fact that it has her name on it has really grabbed her attention. It is a really lovely book and talks them through the process, normalising it for them.

Use A Potty Training Doll

Baby BORN doll

Getting them to teach a dolly to do a wee wee is a great way of getting them involved in the process. If dolly can do it, so can they! I also find it is a good way of showing them that when drink goes in, wee comes out – making it less of a scary process when they hear themselves go!

Sticker Charts

Personalised potty training book 3

Incentives are a great way to get their attention and definitely worked with Gracie. We have some stickers ready and waiting for Lils – she is so excited to use them! Breaking down the different areas makes it more achievable and less daunting, little rewards rather than expecting it all at once means you aren’t setting them up to fail.


I am not going to sit here and pretend I don’t do it – we all do it at some point. If they are very stubborn you might want to use a further incentive. For Gracie it was sweets – one for a wee and two for a poo! Worked like a charm!

If none of those work then you need to ask yourself if they really are ready. It may seem as though they are being stubborn but it could just be that they still need some time. Lils is showing signs of being ready now, the books and the sticker charts are making her want to give it a go. But if she wasn’t ready then I wouldn’t push it, she will get there in the end. They all get there in the end.

Have you got any potty training tips to share?

If you’d like a gorgeous personalised book for your potty training toddler then head over to the Penwizard website and enter KATY17 at the checkout for 20% off*. 

my sig 2016

*Offer not valid in conjunction with any other offers or discount codes. Available on our personalised children’s books only, not valid on stationery items. Offer valid until midnight Thursday 16th December 2017. 


  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Oh no – I feel your pain. We are right in the midst of this too! With a nearly three year old boy. He is doing really well sometimes and then does things like sits down on the stairs in a local museum in front of crowds of people and wees down the steps. Oh yes. That was a good weekend. Sounds like you’re doing everything right. So hang in there. I am sure it will happen for both our kids soon. It has to. We are all potty trained after all!

    • Reply
      January 28, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Oh my goodness I don’t even know how I’d respond to that!! But yeh, I try and remember we’ve all been there! x

  • Reply
    March 10, 2017 at 5:03 am

    Where can I find this doll I have 2 year old daughter and tells me never goes ti ti

    • Reply
      March 10, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Most toy chains have Baby Born dolls, otherwise Amazon would be a good bet x

  • Reply
    Leah Krieger
    June 21, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Our almost three year olds me showed lots of interest and “gets” peeing no problem. But, she insists on pooing her pants every single day. We watch her like a hawk and put her on the potty if we catch any sign of poo coming, but she will not tell us she has to go #2. When we ask her why she won’t go poo on the potty, she says “because it’s yucky”. Any suggestions? I’d hate to back track and go back to diapers since she tells us when she has to pee. It’s been a month now and no signs of progress with the poo. Haha. Thank you for any tips you can provide 🙂

  • Reply
    November 29, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    My baby loves her potty so much, I didn’t find it hard to train her on how to use her potty but I believe some kids are so stubborn and would need special potty training sessions. This post will be really helpful to parents with such kids. On this matter, lady luck excused from the dealing with kids who hate their “potties”

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