Why Does My Toddler Not Want To Toilet Train?

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My little one is turning 3 very soon. Which is great except for one thing – she hasn’t started using the potty yet. We have tried, but she just doesn’t show an interest. I tried over last summer and just before Christmas, but she wasn’t even telling us when she needed to go, so I gave her a little more time. Why does my toddler not want to toilet train?

Why Does My Toddler Not Want To Toilet Train?

Why Does My Toddler Not Want To Toilet Train?

I’ve bought the works. A pretty potty, a toilet training seat. The washing hands step has her favourite “Frozen” characters. My little pony knickers. Even training pants – at £5 a pop. Still not really much interest. We had a few successes over summer (and gave massive praise) but then it all kind of went backwards.

I had always read that the best time to start potty training is when your child can tell you that they are about to need a wee or a poo. Usually this is when the child is over 2, as under this age the muscles around the bladder and rectum aren’t developed enough to be controlled. If a child shows interest in using/flushing the toilet and can communicate that they need to go, then that is a great start. They may also fidget more.

E never tells us when she goes in her nappy. In fact I would go so far as saying that she is in actual denial when she does poop!

So – what if they just are not showing any interest? I asked a few friends their advice.

Put Them on The Potty Just Before Bath Time

Was the advice given to me by one of my closest friends. And she usually gives brilliant advice. It may work for you. But it did nothing for us. We have always let E see us using the toilet, as this is supposed to help her to encourage her to go too. But she did nothing in the potty. In fact, we probably had more accidents in the bath than we’d had before!

Don’t Let Them Wear Any Pants or Nappies Around The House

This was another popular piece of advice. And why we chose to try last summer, as it’s obviously cold around the nether regions to be running around the house with nothing on in winter.

A teacher friend of my gorgeous OH actually advised that we close the baby gate and keep the potty and E in the living room all day with no nappy to make sure that she got the point of the exercise! She didn’t get the point. Just ignored the potty and we had lots of accidents!

If this is a success, it is worth then moving on after a few days to letting your little one have knickers or training pants on, to get them used to pulling these up and down too.

As it hasn’t worked for us yet I moved onto asking…

Do You Need The Potty?

Every 10-15 minutes I asked this. To be told no. And then accidents still happened in our house. Again it may work for you.

After I’d tried this for a couple of hours, I then moved on to trying to sit E on the potty every 15 minutes. This had mixed results. If she did anything in the potty, we celebrated like mad.Some people suggest a reward chart or rewards. However, more often than not my stubborn little girl would rather refuse to actually sit on the potty at all. At which point it does defeat the object of the exercise.

Take The Potty Everywhere

We haven’t actually tried this one. We have encouraged our LO to use the toilets when out and about. But it is also good to take your child’s potty everywhere you go. Stay consistent in the approach. Even if it means going in a lay-by on the motorway.

Have an Older Child Show The Way

We are quite lucky that my brother has a little girl who is 4 months older than E. When my little girl sees her cousin go to the toilet, she does show an interest. Maybe this will grow a little over time. The only unfortunate thing for us is that an older role model isn’t a constant around our house. We see her cousin every few weeks and not so regularly. But I am pretty sure that having an older child around would certainly help.

Never Force The Issue, Or Shout At Your Child If They Have An Accident

This is pretty obvious, but I do think it needs pointing out. We can often shame our little ones without meaning to. And forcing the issue or being annoyed when accidents happen will make the child really not want to use a potty at all.

Be Consistent

And this may be one of my biggest problems. Our little girl goes to nursery 3 days a week, with days off with me in-between. They haven’t really been helping her to train at nursery. So I don’t feel that we are being consistent enough in our approach.

So What Am I Going To Do About My Toddler Not Wanting To Potty Train?

At the end of the day, all I can really do is keep trying all the above techniques and hope that eventually something clicks.

why does my toddler not want to toilet train?

Why Does My Toddler Not Want To Toilet Train? I know I shouldn’t compare with others but obviously I will do. And some people have rightly pointed out that it is better to start when she is ready than try to rush it and have accidents.

The final word goes to my Mum. As she said the other day – “She won’t be going to high school in a nappy, so relax. She will just get it when she gets it.”

Maybe for the time being I just need to chill a bit.

Any ideas on why my toddler does not want to potty train? I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or do find me on social media.

Enjoyed this? Why not read Why Is My Toddler Hitting Herself?

or Why Does My Toddler Yell All the Time?

Musings Of A Tired Mummy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

32 Replies to “Why Does My Toddler Not Want To Toilet Train?”

  1. Kim Carberry says:

    Ahh! I would try not to worry. She is still young.
    When my youngest was coming up to three she was due to start nursery and the rule was they needed to be toilet trained. She wasn’t. I tried everything to potty train her and she just didn’t get it. She went to nursery most days and wet herself and still was until she had just gone 5. I think if I had kept her out of nursery and let things take a natural course I think our life would have been a whole lot easier. #MMBC
    Kim Carberry recently posted…Our weekly meal plan. 7th – 13th Jan! #MealPlanningMondayMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Kim. That actually makes me feel a little better. We’ve had another try at staying in all day and using the potty when needed and it just hasn’t been a success. She just doesn’t get it yet! Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  2. Lynn says:

    Both of my boys were between 3 and 3 1/2. The younger one wasn’t influenced by the older one going to the toilet in front of him at all! The nursery was keen on helping with training with both but this didn’t hasten things. The older boy was actually dry at nights for a long time before he was dry during the day, which was annoying in some ways, but it did show that he could do it. In the end I just used very expensive bribes (£15 battery powered Thomas trains), but perhaps they were never going to do it before they chose to, and I could have saved the money!

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Hi Lynn! I’m glad you’ve told me all this. I’m going to try without the bribes. Heck, we’ve already got a living room full of plastic tat!

      Reply
  3. Raisie Bay (@RaisieBay) says:

    Potty training can be so difficult and there is often little information available if you start getting stuck. My first two trained pretty good, but number 3 was an absolute nightmare. She hated the potty even though we bought her loads of colours and novelty potty’s. She even had one like a Princess throne! Eventually we gave up and went straight to a junior toilet seat. She still had trouble though, and when she started nursery at 3 years, she got suspended because they found out she was wearing pull-ups. She got there eventually though. The next two I dreaded training but instead of buying potty’s we went straight to the toilet seats. The youngest was a very slow starter and didn’t walk until he was nearly two, but he went to a pre-nursery where they trained him for me! I think the moral of my story is, every child is different, and toilet training can take anything from weeks to years depending on the child. Good luck and thanks for sharing some great tips. x

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Anne. Like everything, I do realise each child is so different. Again, your response puts my mind at rest a bit. Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Sarah | Mummykind says:

    Try not to worry, you’ll get there! The next time you have an extended period of time at home (no nursery in-between) just try again with the no pants on thing – that worked for us! However she’s ben potty trained for almost a year now and won’t poo on the toilet. She holds it all in until she has a nappy on for bedtime and then does it, usually without telling us. Not sure how to tackle that one yet! #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you for the tip. And always nice to be reminded that there is always another hurdle after this one! Lol!

      Reply
  5. Su (Ethan & Evelyn) says:

    What I have learnt is that every child is so different and unless they are ready it won’t happen. Just go with it and keep trying once in a while and soon it will all be fine. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Su. She definitely isn’t ready. Keep calm and keep trying I guess! Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  6. Jaki says:

    I can tell you as someone who has been there, done it and stressed about it – don’t worry. It sounds to me like she just isn’t ready yet, and that’s okay! My little man was three when he decided he just didn’t want to wear pull-ups anymore. They do it all in their own time when they are ready to do it and this is the best way to think about it. Honestly, when you stop worrying about it, it will happen and it will be the easiest way to do it too. Thanks so much for sharing with #TriumphantTales and a very Happy New Year to you.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Jaki. Hopefully she will just have a time when she feels the same!

      Reply
  7. Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy says:

    we found it to be a long process with mixed results along the way. Mine didn’t fully commit until she was told that she couldn’t go to pre-school if she was still having accidents. Never had another but it took something that was important to her before she really put in the effort #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Well , certainly she has no real incentive at the moment. Maybe we just need to wait. Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  8. Heather Keet says:

    I think some kids are just not ready and you sound like you’ve got encouraging techniques for when the time comes! #GlobalBlogging

    Reply
  9. Lisa Pomerantz says:

    Don’t worry too much Jo, not many show up to university wearing nappies! Both my Big and my Little waited and waited. It’s neurological. Sit tight, no pun intended! <3 #kcacols xo

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Let’s hope that our little one isn’t planning on being the first! Thank you Lisa!

      Reply
  10. Bread says:

    She’ll get there. We’ve gone the nudity route, and also having cloth nappies helps as they know when they’re wet. Good luck with it. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I do think it is a case of just keeping trying and hopefully she will get it. Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  11. Ross - The Stented Papa says:

    Hey Jo!

    My first time on your blog – loving it!!!!

    This grabbed my attention – ‘it is better to start when she is ready than try to rush it and have accidents’ Why?…..

    … Because we didn’t push it. Our Nip 2 is different to Nip1 in numerous ways. Toilet training was no different.

    She was getting it. In fact she was flying – for a while. We skipped the potty and went for the big girl toilet thinking ‘why double the work load’ and it was working. Wee-Wee’s & Poo-Poo’s went where they were suppose to go….For a while!!

    In the last few days with Montessori back in action, it’s getting back on track. But Christmas messed everything up and she literally stood there, eyeballing me & my wife while pissing &/or shitting herself everyday without fail, numerous times a day.

    Progress. Happiness. Regression. Sad Face. 3 times per night. Multiple changes. Fack all sleep. Parenthood. Love it. Great Post.
    Ross – The Stented Papa recently posted…America VS IrelandMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Ha ha! Loving your blog too! Hope number 2 gets back on track too. Gotta love parenthood.

      Reply
  12. Lana says:

    I tried so hard with my oldest, finally, I back off for a bit. Then one day he told me he wanted to go buy “big boy” underwear and that was it. I think sometimes they have to just make the decision on their own. 🙂 #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      My little girl is currently telling us that she is NOT a ‘big girl’. I think that she truly is in denial of growing up! Lol.

      Reply
  13. Jo - Pickle & Poppet says:

    I wouldn’t worry, there is so much pressure that they need to be out of nappies as soon as possible. I tried to push my first when he wasn’t ready and it was stressful. We then left the potty out and let him go with the flow. We would read books about what would happen and then when he asked to pick pants we did. I washed them and left them out and one morning he took off his nappy and put on his pants. We did the same with our daughter. They will do it when they are ready, just like walking and talking #TriumphantTales

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Ive given up pushing, it really just has the opposite effect. Thank you for the tips.

      Reply
  14. Jenna says:

    Ah hun it sounds like you’re doing everything you can to encourage her. When our nephew was potty training he hated it, he would scream even if he saw the potty, but now he’s 4 and confidently using the loo and washing and drying his hands after.
    lots of love
    #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      She sounds very similar. Hopefully it will just click at some point. Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  15. Shanti says:

    Another older mom here – in fact you and I are about the same age, as our our daughters. The best advice I got was not to rush things…do it on her time. That came a little quickly for me, when at 20 months she decided it was time. We’re good now except for long flights and sleep…but none of it was my doing. She started pulling down her pants and squatting when she saw me or her nanny doing so. I’d say if yours isn’t ready, let her be. I liked this article: https://www.scarymommy.com/dont-rush-potty-training/

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you for such good advice. I have taken a bit of a step back as she was fighting our efforts. Let’s see what happens.

      Reply

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