Potty Training A Stubborn 3 Year Old. I made the mistake of thinking all children are the same. Having had a brilliant potty training experience with Monkey. I stupidly assumed that child two would be just as hassle free. Thinking about it I am not sure why I thought that. Since he is so different on a number of levels including his fussiness with food. Something else we did not have to suffer with Monkey.

In the same way as with Monkey we did not push Kipper into potty training. I judged that I would know when he was ready based on our previous experience. Our lifestyle has changed since we went through the process with Monkey. We now travel a lot more and for me I wanted to potty train when we were at home. So coupled together we got to Kipper being three and seven months and he was still no where near ready. Panic started to set in. He is starting school in September. Having been a parent governor I had heard horror stories for children starting in reception that were not trained. Not my child.

Potty Training A Stubborn 3 Year Old

For the last couple of months we had been trying to prepare him for the process. You can read my preparation tips here. But quite often when we talked about it he would scream no and refuse to talk about it at all. Saying he did not want to go into pants. He was so angry about the whole process I was quite taken a back. Sat here sharing our experience I am still wondering if something went on at nursery. As I know a couple of times they tried to make him use the potty. Perhaps they just approached it wrongly? Plus I know that they had not been consistent in their praise. This realisation and his immense stubbornness meant I knew I had to do it myself at home.

So over Christmas we started the process. I stay started as its not been super quick at all. Over six weeks in he still has accidents now. These never happen at home and only seem to be when he is too focused on play at nursery. Number twos also still can present a little bit of an issue. So how did we do it? Well we just did! My conclusion with potty training a stubborn child is that you just have to get on with it. Accept it is not going to be the easiest of transitions and do what you can to comfort them through the process.


Here are our top tips for Potty Training A Stubborn 3 Year Old

  • Patience, patience, patience – I did wonder at one point if I had enough to get through it.
  • Finding the bribery – Yes we all do it. The what’s in it for them. For Kipper it was chocolate but being the smart cookie that he is. He realised very quickly that he could have a little tinkle and get a mini chocolate bar.  Often quoting ‘I deserve something for that‘ at you. So we did find we needed to move the bribery around. Especially when it came to that first poo on the loo.
  • Constant reminders – For the first three days we set an alarm on our phone each hour. To put him on the potty. If he sat on the potty but there was no wee then he would get a sticker to put on it. As its winter and we are inside it was just not feasible to let hm run around with nothing on.
  • When they change their mind –  The first few days went well. He even managed a small poo in the potty. Plus a day trip out to Lapland UK on day three without accidents. But then his stubbornness kicked in. He didn’t want to potty train anymore.  He purposefully had we accidents and was not sorry about it at all. I think this was partly because he had a fear of having a poo or didn’t like the sensation. Which is not uncommon.
  • You have to be more stubborn than them – I totally agree that if your little one is not ready then you need to stop and try again at a later date. However when they can control their pee well enough to make sure its on the carpet then they are totally ready. You will know. The messaging has to be that we are not going to give up regardless of how much you rebel! Thankfully that phase only lasted a couple of days.
  • Try not to loose it – When you three year old is laughing at you as he’s peeing all over the carpeted floor its really difficult not to shout. At that point we changed the bribery. Realising it was most likely poo related we found a small toy that he really really wanted. After all he was quite happy to wee on the loo. But it was the poo that was holding it back. We looked at it on amazon and explained I would order if he had a poo on the loo.
  • That first poo on the loo – It was two weeks in and we had gone through so many pairs of pants. When he came to find us after taking himself for a poo. We were decluttering in a different room. He was so proud. We made a huge fuss and asked his older brother to do the same. The new toy was ordered which when it arrived the next day allowed us to create the fuss all over again.

Potty Training A Stubborn 3 Year Old

We still need to attempt night times at the moment he is wearing night time pull ups. So I am sure I will be back sharing our experience here when the time comes. Although I am waiting for the better weather incase it involves a lot of washing.  I think the most important thing to remember is that all little ones are different and do it in their own way.

If you have any tips then I would love to hear about them in the comments below.

If you’ve liked this post please follow me on my social media channels:

Mudpie Fridays: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | LinkedIn

Potty Training A Stubborn 3 Year Old

Potty Training A Stubborn 3 Year Old


  1. Carly Belsey Reply

    I do feel for you, my son was so hard to potty train!! with my daughter, I did it in the summer so that I could just leave her nappy off and put knickers on. She did not like the wet feeling on her after she had been so she literally learned within a few days that she needed to go on the potty. Good luck

  2. Priscilla Stubbs Reply

    My granddaughter is in the process of training my great grandson. He is 3 next week and at first he wasn’t co-operating at all but he’s well on the way to being potty trained. She finds it more difficult when they are out and he is playing and too busy to ask for the toilet. He doesn’t like being wet so that helps, He’ll soon get the hang of it. Good luck

  3. Michelle Lewis-Robertson Reply

    I completely understand this, my eldest was quick and easy. However my youngest struggles quite a bit especially because he was afraid of the toilet. Until the age of 5, I had to accompany him to the bathroom due to this fear. I’m happy to say I know have a 14 year old that is confident and able to go to the washroom on his own haha

  4. Excellent tips. Well done on getting there. Hope he is dry at night soon.

  5. I am so glad those days are well and truly over for me! I can’t even remember how we did it lol. These are some fab tips that will come in useful.

  6. THIS STAGE TERRIFIES ME!!! My son is only ONE so we are not there yet but BEFORE WE KNOW IT – WE WILL BE!! Gahhhh! I always joke with my husband that since we have a SON – potty training is ALLL HIS because I don’t have a penis… And the thing is, is that I am not actually joking LOL!

  7. We are fast approaching this stage of parenthood and I am just not ready for it! I think anything that upsets the status quo (and requires more patience) terrifies me. Wish me luck xx

  8. Margaret Gallagher Reply

    I feel for you ! My 3 year old great neice is not happy to copy big sis and her mum ! Patience !!

  9. This is exactly what I need to read, as we need to potty train my middle daughter soon 🙂 I still feel like I haven’t got over how hard it was with my eldest, so I’m really not looking forward to doing it again!

  10. Keep persevering they just do it when they’re ready . I found with my two girls the first was so easy the second was gone 3 and my little grandson was 3 they’re all different but they get there

  11. This is the one thing the ‘having babies’ booking never warned you about! Potty training was – by far – the worst experience of parenthood! I have no idea how we finally got it sorted with our two – but they are 13 and 11 and don’t wear nappies, so I guess we were successful.

  12. This was my least favourite parenting phase, although I cracked it in the end. Now I am an early years teacher and potty train kids all the time LOL

  13. Maartje van Sandwijk Reply

    I’m so relieved I’ve never had to potty train a kid – yet. It sounds really difficult!

  14. We have had some issues with potty training along the way and this bought it all back. It’s my least favourite part of the parenting journey

  15. Very important process the potty training is!
    Not to brag, but my kids were trained for the potty by 13 months.
    I started the training at about 4 months when they went to the bathroom every time I took their diapers off.
    But it is a parent’s choice when to start to potty train.


    I really feel for you it’s not a fun thing to do. I did it 3 times as well. I think it varies from child to child how easy it is to do. Bribery works wonder!

  17. Oh the joys of potty training! My youngest grandson will be starting this soon!

  18. Potty training age is our kids’ cutest age. It’s difficult sometimes but they get there eventually. I always miss my daughters whenever I see kids this age.

  19. Rose Ann Sales Reply

    Nice tips! I love all of them. And yes,it’s so important not to loose your cool on them. We should just be as stubborn as them. I think that would definitely work.

  20. Jhentea De Guzman Reply

    Thqnks for reminding these things. Potty training could be really challenging so we have to be patient.

  21. I feel for you, my son was so much harder to potty train than my twins. It was hard going but he got there in the end! Great tips though

  22. Well done you! You really do have ALL the patience. So glad to hear it’s been going well now you’re over the poo hurdle. I totally agree that when they are ready…. they are ready 😊 I don’t really have any more tips to add apart from making sure you are your little ones biggest cheerleader and tell them how very proud you are of them. Xx

  23. That stage was quite hectic for me and I had to go through that 3 times. My first 2 children during potty training went smoothly but my youngest was quite the challenge for a few days.

  24. Gemma Hendry Reply

    I found potty training hard and we not always bang on with it yet lol

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.