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Potty Training Resistance

My daughter is 28 months old and is fighting us on potty training.  We have a small potty for her downstairs that we keep in her playroom and a small potty upstairs for her in the bathroom.  She has peed in it twice (on her own).  I allow her to run around naked and she does for hours and then begs me for a diaper change.  I don't push her because I don't want to make it worse but I am at a complete loss of how to handle this.  We offer M&M's, stickers and even have a box of toys that we tell her she can pick from if she goes on the potty - nothing is working.  Can you help us?

You are trying too hard. We made the same mistake when we tried to force our first child to potty train. Our initial effort to push the issue only made things worse. You cannot control when your daughter is potty trained. Your job is to create the conditions that would allow her to potty train and then let her do the real work.

If she wants to sit on the potty - let her. If she does not want to go, limit the number of times you ask her. Only ask her once a day as part of your routine. We often ask our kids to go before their bath as the water is running. You can also ask her if she wants to go when she is actively pooping in her diaper.

I’d end letting her running around naked without a diaper. It sounds like this approach is not helping. Simply tell her the she is needs to wear a diaper because she is not potty trained.

Limited treats during potty training can have a positive effect. Don’t go over board 2 M&Ms is plenty. Restrict candy in the home - create a desire. If she gets M&Ms for a snack you are defeating the purpose.

Talk to her during diaper changes. Tell her that you have to change her diaper because it is dirty, but someday she will learn to keep it dry and be a “big girl”. If she claims to be a “big girl” tell her “almost you have to be potty trained first".

Given time and patience she will be successful potty trained.

follow up 4 months later

Things are great! I backed off and let her go at her own pace. Over the last month she really started using the potty more often and now she is just wearing a diaper for nap and bedtime, with an occasional one when she doesn't want to poop on the potty. We even bought her a travel potty for the car which has been great. It's amazing how quickly she picked it up when she was ready! Thank you for the great advice!!

Written September 2011 by
Dr. Gordon, Windermere Pediatrician

Potty training questions

2 year old who likes to be naked

3 year old having accidents

Updated July 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Windermere Pediatrician







gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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