Four Things I Learned About Potty Training a Strong Willed Child

My daughter was immovable when it came to potty training: she didn’t want to go potty, and that was that! She was four and a half and still using diapers, and I was at my wit’s end. During the two years I spent trying, in one way or another, to get her to go potty, I learned four important and interesting things about potty training a strong willed child.

1. You can’t force it. There are two things that you cannot force your child to do. You cannot force your child to eat, and you cannot force him to go potty. So no matter how much I praised, rewarded, begged, scolded, or guilt-tripped my daughter, she was only going to use the potty when she was good and ready. No amount of intervention on my part was going to change this immutable fact.

2. You know better than your doctor. During the two years I battled with my daughter over potty training, I took her to three different doctors and even to a social worker who specializes in children who are potty-resisters! Once we ruled out any physical or medical problems, every single professional I spoke with gave me a different opinion on why my daughter was resisting and what I should do about it. They all agreed on one thing – that my daughter and I were locked in a battle of wills, and I was losing the battle big time. But the advice I received was varied and often contradictory. I came to realize that I knew better than they did, because I knew my daughter.

3. Don’t take it personally. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent angry, frustrated, even in tears, because I couldn’t get my daughter out of diapers. When she reached four and half, I felt like a failure as a mother. Don’t fall into this way of thinking! Your child’s unwillingness to go potty is no reflection on your parenting ability.

4. Eventually, your child will go (all children do). All children master the potty, and your child is no exception. If you have ruled out any physical or medical problems that may be preventing your child from mastering the potty, your child will surprise you one day.

My daughter was fully trained well before she turned five years old, and now that she is almost six, I still find it miraculous that she willingly goes to the bathroom without any reminders or accidents! It will happen for your child, too.

About the author:

Susan S. James is a mother of two and the founder of the website Best Potty Training Tips where you can take a quiz to see if your child is ready for potty training, as well as ask questions and share tips with other parents.


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