Potty Training a STUBBORN toddler

This Potty Training post is sponsored by Pull-Ups but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Before you start reading, mad sure you follow me on Instagram, where I share lots of our daily life including helpful tips like this potty training post. 

So we didn’t even realize the month of June is National Potty Training Month, and literally by coincidence, we decided to really crack down on potty training Elias. As many of you all know, Elias is ONE STUBBORN KID. I mean, if he doesn’t want to do something, he wont do it. There’s no amount of candy that will convince him. So that leads me to my next point. He was a hard kid to potty train the first 6 times that we tried. He would scream when we put him on. He’d purposely pee himself and not say anything. He’d grab his diapers and tell me to put that on instead of his pull ups or underwear. He was as stubborn as a rock when it came to potty training.

So when I came on Instagram a few days ago and shared our potty training success story, and how we did it in three days…the amount of messages I received was overwhelming. I gave as many tips as I could but basically old everyone I’d create a blog post about it within the week. So here’s my promise. Within this blog post I’m going to share with you all the tricks that worked for us, and why it potty training wasn’t successful the first 6 times that we tried.

Super long but hopefully informational/useful post so please grab a cup of coffee and put your kids somewhere safe because this might take awhile lol


Tips for training a STUBBORN toddler:

Know if they’re ready: This is most important! If your kid ain’t ready, it’s not going to work. Don’t force it upon them and then they develop a negative relationship with the potty and potty training. Introduce it to them slowly, and don’t be to forceful with it. Signs of readiness include (from Pull Ups website)…

Pulling at Wet Diaper– Elias never did this.

Hiding to Pee or Poop– Elias would disappear when he had to poop. Then he comes out of hiding when he was all done.

Interest in others’ use of the potty– Elias was so fascinated whenever RJ or myself would go potty.

Having a dry diaper for an extended period of time– Elias JUST started doing this around March-ish time. I noticed when I’d pick him up from preschool, he’d be in the same pull-up I dropped him off in.

Awakening dry from a nap– Nap time he almost always woke up dry from.

Telling you that they’re about to go, or have gone– He has also been telling us he already went since about February/March time. Before his poopy butt would sit in a poop diaper and not say a word, he;d just funk up the entire house.

Get them excited about Potty training: I took Elias to the store and let him pick out his Pull-ups, his big boy underwear and a training seat (we use this one). That got him a little more motivated to actually use it. We use underwear during the day, and Pull-Ups at Sleep time.

Dedicate 3-4 days to not leaving your house: We started on Tuesday, and today is Friday (the day I’m writing this blog post) and we have not left the house (except once to go to my sister in law’s house) but I encouraged him to go potty while we were there and he refused, but had zero accidents in his underwear! But dedicate 3 days to not leaving your house, so you can properly monitor your child and not have to worry about accidents in public, or messing up a good routine.

Stay consistent: So this was a reason why I think potty training never worked in the past because, we never were consistent enough. I’ll explain more in my “potty training fails” below. But every 15 minutes (I set a timer on my apple watch or google home), so I’d remember to ask him if he needed to go. He almost ALWAYS responds with “No, mommy!”. But I made sure by the 3rd time I ask him, so every 45 minutes I put him on regardless if he had to go or not. And every single time, he’d pee.

Offer rewards: Whether it’s a sticker on a chart every time they go, or a bowl of ice cream at the end of the day. Something to reward them for doing a good job!  Candy is Elias’ love language, So I bought twizzlers and cut them up into teeny tiny pieces, every time he’d go potty I would give him one small piece. I ONLY give him the candy when he remembers lol. Sometimes the second his little feet touch the floor, he’s demanding candy, other times he runs off and doesn’t even ask me for it.

After day 4, go on a short outing: Plan an outing to put their potty training skills to test! Make sure they go pee right before you leave. When you are in the car, remind them that they are a big boy/girl and they’re doing awesome not going pee in the car. (for extra car protection, put a puppy pad in their seat, or a supermarket bag with a towel on top. So if they do have an accident you’re not stuck washing an entire car seat). When you arrive to your destination (depending on travel time), take them to the potty when you get there. Before you leave, ask “do you need to go potty, before we get in the car?”. If you don’t feel confident, take them to the bathroom before you leave. Make sure when you get home you reward him/her for being accident free!

Still use a Pull-Up at night: Make sure you still use a pull-up at night. Even with our first son who was ridiculously easy to potty train, we used a pull-up with him at night for like 6 months after being potty trained. He’d go so many nights without any night time accidents, but the few times he did pee his pull-up, we were thankful it didn’t get all over his bed and sheets. Washing sheets in the middle of the night is never any fun. Because Elias pretty much doesn’t pee himself at all at night now, we are okay with using the regular pull-ups (not the overnight).

Why we failed at Potty training the first 6 times:

We were always in the car: During the school year, we were barely home.  Mornings were crazy, I didn’t have time to put him on the potty right when he woke up, before we left the house, and then trust that he doesn’t pee himself at school. It was just too much. By the time we’d get home from all that craziness, it was time to do something else.

He wasn’t ready: From age 2 to 2.5 he only showed 1 out of 6 signs from the signs I listed above. But I had such an easy time potty training RJ (read that super old potty training post here) that we just assumed, that when Elias was the same age he’s be ready as well. But every kid is different and every kid will learn. Finally I gave up and told myself “he wont be in kindergarten in diapers”. And look, he finally learned!

We made him scared of the toilet (initially): So RJ only used a little training potty for like 1 day. After that he used the big toilet with nothing on it. So again, we just assumed Elias would be comfortable with this, and HE WAS NOT. Still to this day, he wont pee on the big toilet. So when we are out we bring his potty seat with us (in a target bag) so if he needs to go, he will still go! We went to Disney World on day 5 of potty training (assuming he’d pee on the toilet without his seat) but he didn’t because he’s scared and ended up holding his pee for 9 hours! So the next day we went to Disney again, but we brought his seat and he had no problem going potty!

More info about Huggies Pull-Ups:

I’m a 4th time mom, and this is my 2nd time potty training a kid. With my first we used nothing but Huggies Pull-Ups. When we first purchased Pull-Ups it was kind of a no brainer for us. When I think of potty training, I think of Pull-Ups. And then the song “We’re going to do this together, we’re going to stick to the plan, do everything we can, to make it easy and fun. It’s time to potty everyone…” you know how the rest goes.

But after using Huggies with my first, we knew this was something we’d use with Elias. We love…

  • Leakage Protection, with leg barriers to help prevent leaks.
  • Closest thing to underwear. It allows him to easily pull it up (“Pull-ups”…get it?) by himself, and take it off by himself.
  • Refastenable sides, to help when they have some stinky accidents.

But did you know you can order the pull-ups online? You probably did because you can order anything online nowadays. But ordering his pull-ups online through Amazon, has been a total life saver. Since school has been out, I have completely embraced the laziness, and I have barely left the house (unless I’m going to Disney World). Ordering through Amazon, I’m able to…

  • I’m able to save up to $3 on Amazon products
  • You can sign up for Amazon’s subscribe and Save program. That allows parents to save up to 20% (when you order 5 products through Amazon family) and get free shipping.

If you have ANY questions about Potty training or want more clarity about something, please let me know In the comments and I’ll be sure to answer.