Help! My Child Refuses to Sit on the Potty.
The ads make it all look so easy, don’t they?
An adorable toddler in pull-up style potty training pants proudly shows that he needs to visit the potty. The little one sits on the training potty and…success! He lifts his hands in victory.
So why does your little one refuse to even sit on the potty –– much less perform the desired function on one?
First of all, I’d like you to know that you’re not alone. Toilet training a toddler has a long tradition of being full of unwanted surprises. For some youngsters, sitting on the potty and “going” is a piece of cake. But others struggle.
There can be many reasons a toddler has difficulty learning to use the potty. And getting your toddler to sit and stay on his training potty is a surprisingly common one.
Today we’ll discuss why this happens and how to fix the problem.
Is Your Child Ready to Potty Train?
The first thing you need to discern is whether your little one is ready to potty train.
There is no one age when every child will be ready to use her potty. Some start at 15 months. Some start at age two and a half. Some are even older.
But barring some issue (like the ones we’ll discuss below), a typically-developing child should have the physical, mental and emotional ability to start potty training somewhere between 18 and 24 months.
Look for these signs:
Your toddler has fewer wet diapers during the day, spread farther apart
Your toddler wakes from naps with a dry diaper
Your toddler shows interest in you or siblings using the toilet
Your toddler has age-appropriate language development
Your child can understand and follow simple commands (“Please go get your shoes”)
“Why Won’t My Child Sit on the Potty?”
If your child checks off all of the above, she should be ready to begin training on her very own potty. So if yours won’t go near hers, you may be wondering, “What’s going wrong?”
Here Are The Most Common Reasons Children Won’t Sit On The Potty
Is the Toddler Potty Comfortable?
A toddler potty should be comfortable for your child to sit on. Some training potties have hard seats or “pinch” at the opening, where your little one is sitting.
Make sure the potty has a soft, comfortable seat and is large enough to accommodate your child.
Does the Potty Look “Fun” and Welcoming?
A potty with your child’s favorite characters on it, or that is his favorite color, can help your child want to be there.
If you purchased a plain training potty, try stickers your child loves. Let her put them on the outside of the potty. Then announce that this potty is her very own. Nobody else can change how it looks except her.
This will help your child feel both happiness and pride when she approaches the potty. And that means she’s more likely not to jump right off it after a minute or two.
Does Your Child Act Scared of the Potty?
Children can be afraid of toilet training for a number of reasons. For the purpose of this article, we’ll ask you whether you have ever noticed your child being afraid of the potty itself. For more information on other fears, read our potty training fears article.
If the potty is too high and her legs dangle, or if the opening to the seat is too wide, she may be afraid she’ll fall. Look for a child’s training toilet that fits your child’s age and size.
Has Running From the Potty Become a Game?
Now here’s something you may not have considered: is jumping off the potty and having Mommy chase her, too much fun for you little one to pass up?
Although you should try to make the experience as pleasant as possible, running, chasing, begging, or popping your toddler back on when she jumps off could be making things worse.
If your little one jumps off the potty, ignore her. Go somewhere else. She will soon realize it’s actually boring to jump right off the potty!
Is Your Child Bored?
Some children just don’t want to sit still for periods of time. In fact, most kids don’t like having absolutely nothing to do. (At least from his perspective.You know what you want him to be doing!)
Give your child a favorite book to look at while on the potty. An interactive book with lots of fun buttons to press may hold his attention. If your child gets off the potty, take the book away and say in a casual voice, “That was great! You can have the book back when you’re on the potty again.”
Should My Child See a Doctor?
If your child seems excessively afraid, if he simply does not seem to be “getting it” after several months of potty training, or if he seems to be in pain on the training potty., call the pediatrician and ask for a head-to-toe checkup.
If the problem seems to be emotionally based, ask the doctor about that, too.
Trust me: the pediatrician has heard it all when it comes to toilet training woes. Speak up and take the pressure off both you and your little one. There may be an easy solution you never thought of.
The “Bottom” Line
Above all, potty training should be a positive experience for your little one.
NEVER force your child to stay seated on the potty. And don’t harshly scold her if she has an accident. Things are almost guaranteed to go in the opposite direction if you do. Worse, your child may not trust you anymore.
If your child is refusing to sit on the potty, check out my EASY, CARING and EFFECTIVE way to potty train your little one! I’ve helped countless families make potty training a success –– and I can help yours, too.