EC has been going great and then suddenly, out of nowhere, your baby just won't sit to go potty. What exactly are you supposed to do with that? Tune in to this week’s episode as we troubleshoot questions from three mamas who are going through this exact, super-frustrating dilemma.
You Will Hear:
- What may cause some children to suddenly refuse to sit on the potty
- Strategies for providing your LO with more potty independence
- What it looks like when toddlers are seeking privacy during potty time
- Tips for finding a potty seat and set-up that works for your kiddo
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Mini Potty
- Go Diaper Free Book
- Wrapping Up EC MiniCourse
- The Log - app for iOS and Android
- Easy Start Guide for EC - Free Download
- The Premium Course Pack for EC
- The Bundle - All 7 MiniCourses
- Tiny Potty Training Book
- Go Diaper Free Store
- Tiny Undies Store
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
EPISODE 238: What to do when your child won’t sit on the potty
EC has been going great and then suddenly, out of nowhere, your baby just won't sit to go potty. What exactly are you supposed to do with that? Join us today as we troubleshoot questions from three mamas who are going through this exact, super-frustrating dilemma. This is episode 238, What To Do When Your Child Won't Sit On The Potty.
Hello and welcome to The Go Diaper Free Podcast. I'm your host, Nicole Cheever, Go Diaper Free certified coach and mama to three kiddos who all went through EC and potty training at different ages and stages.
Hey there, welcome back to the podcast. I'm Nicole Cheever with the Go Diaper Free and this is episode 238, What To Do When Your Child Won't Sit On The Potty. When you're finished listening, head to godiaperfree.com/238. Leave us comments, ask us questions, and find the show notes with everything I talk about linked over there for your convenience. Today, we have three questions from parents who are having a little bit of trouble getting their kiddo to sit on the potty. Let's take a listen. First we have Tair from Israel.
Tair: Hi, so this is Tair. I'm from Israel. I'm a mother to the great Lev who is 14 months and my question: is how do I make her fall in love with the little tiny potty again? Because we moved her to a toilet seat reducer when she was about 10 months and ever since she's been doing her pee-pee and poo there and she will not sit on the tiny potty. She started walking at 11 months and since then she won't sit on it. She'll just immediately stand up. So that's my question.
I want her to feel independent so that if there's a potty around, she can just sit on it and do her thing without me having to lift her up because she still can't reach the toilet reducer by herself and also she's kind of stuck there. She might cry that she wants to get down because she's not able to do it independently, so I would love for her to try or sometimes use the potty when needed, but she really won't have it. So that is my biggest question right now. Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing back from you. Bye.
Thanks so much for the question, Tair. This is a pretty common problem at this age. Your child is definitely craving independence. Like you said, she'll cry when she wants to get off the potty seat reducer because she can't do it herself. There are a couple ways you could go about this. One of them is to just keep assisting her with what works right now, which is the big potty. I know as parents it can be really frustrating when your child isn't preferring the method that you would really prefer for your convenience. So it's finding that balance between having the success and having to deal with a little bit of the inconvenience.
There are a few things you can do to help her to be more independent on the big potty, but most of those would probably involve getting a different setup, whether it's a step stool or a potty seat reducer that has a ladder on it. Unfortunately, you may still get to the point where she's now climbing off of it the same way she's walking away from the little potty. So that's just something to consider when you're deciding as the parent if it's better to have her on the mini potty or on the seat reducer.
She also may need a few more tools to communicate. If she's crying because she wants to get off, maybe she needs another way to tell you that she's all done. I like to use the American Sign Language signal for all done, which is both your hands up with your palms out and you flick your wrists, flick your hands out twice you say “all done.” That's really helpful if she's not quite verbal yet. If she is verbal, you can encourage her to communicate with you verbally that she's all done. Some of my kids have said, "All done." My youngest right now is saying, "None," which to her means done. So that's the easiest way for me to know that she's finished. She was fussing until she was able to communicate verbally that she was all done. So that's pretty common.
Like you said yourself, she can't be independent on the big potty, so it's up to you if you want to keep doing this step of the process for her or if you want her to start taking it on herself. So if you want her to start taking it on herself, which it sounds like you do because you want her using the little potty by herself, I would check out the hybrid plan that came with the Go Diaper Free book. That is going to help you put all of those building blocks of potty independence in place in a little bit of a shorter amount of time.
Sometimes these are already built into the EC process depending on how you as the parent are guiding it. If you are teaching little by little and handing over the reins, eventually right around walking or at least somewhere between about 12 and 18 months, your child will have all those skills in place: getting on the potty, pushing the pants down, flushing the potty. But if you haven't been putting those in place yet, the hybrid plan can help you wrap all of that up. It sounds like you're trying to get a little bit closer to completion, so do the hybrid plan. If your learning style is better suited to videos or audio, we don't have the hybrid plan recorded as an audiobook or as part of the audiobook yet, but we do have the Wrapping Up MiniCourse and that can really help you put a button on it and get all of those pieces in place, including getting her to get on the potty independently.
Just keep in mind that some children just have a preference. All of my kids have been different. When my oldest was going through potty training at 26 months, he really wanted to be up on that seat reducer. We used a stool for a while until we got a seat reducer that had a ladder attached to it, and then he was able to do that. My second born still wants to use the mini potty. She's almost four and she still wants to use the mini potty and my husband hates it because he hates cleaning out a toddler-size poop from it. My opinion in general is I'm glad she's using the potty, but as she gets older, we are going to guide her more towards the big potty. Part of the problem is she's got a 19-month-old sister who is using the mini potty a lot and so she's wanting to do what the baby does.
The baby, again, is using the mini potty a lot, but then she even has some days where there's a mini potty there in the room right next to her and she wants to go all the way in the bathroom and use the big potty and be lifted onto it. I'm not always going to be able to do that for her, so she has the skills in place to sit on the mini potty when she needs to because we've just practiced that.
So those are the key points for you, Tair, is to help her on the big potty for now. Keep in mind that she can't have independence on there, so if you're wanting to work more towards independence, either find a way that she can be independent on the big potty (with a seat reducer with a ladder or a step stool) and also try the hybrid plan because the hybrid plan will give you steps to get the mini potty back into play and have her going to it and using it independently.
Now let's hear from Daria.
Daria: Hello Andrea, this is Daria. Thank you for doing this. I am in New Jersey and my baby is 12 months and I am facing the challenge of he does not want to sit on the potty. Because now we're crawling almost walking and so I bought the toilet seat cover for the big toilet, but he's not quite big enough for that and he sits on it if I hold him, but you can tell he's uncomfortable. Do you have any tips for this transitional stage where he can freely get up and walk off the potty anytime he wants and he's kind of too small for the big potty? Let me know. Thank you.
Thanks so much for the question, Daria. Yes, they can just get up and walk off that mini potty and this is something that actually is a great tip for both you and Tair. Your child might be looking for privacy. If you're putting your child on the potty and they're getting up and walking away, number one, they might not have to go yet, so check in with your timing and see if it's just that you were a little bit early with it, and also try to give as much privacy as you can. You can close yourself in the bathroom with the baby and put them on the mini potty or ask them to sit on the mini potty and then turn your back. Fix your hair, mess with something in your drawer, pretend to fix your makeup, whatever you can do to demonstrate that your focus is not completely on your child, you're not hovering and waiting with bated breath for that pee to hit the potty.
I know it can be stressful when you've had a lot of pee on the floor and they've been getting off the potty a lot, but it's really important to be handing over these reins to pass this baton to your child and teach them that it's going to be up to them to get pee in the potty. Many children start to express a need for privacy and a desire for privacy as early as six months. This is a natural, inborn trait. We all exhibit it to varying degrees. Some of us are totally fine with an open door policy, and some of us are nervous poopers where we have to make sure that nobody can hear us from anywhere in the house before we can relax enough to get it out. So your children are going to be the same. They're going to need varying levels of privacy at different times. But in general, when I see a child getting up and walking away from the potty, they're either obsessively practicing that skill because they just learned to stand, or they're looking for privacy, so find some way to offer him privacy.
Also, it may be a matter of you getting either a different seat reducer that is more supportive, maybe has bigger handles, or even I've seen some with a backrest. You might consider getting a seat reducer with a ladder, but if he's tiny, his feet might not touch the ladder. I've seen a few where the step is adjustable, so having something to rest his feet, or at least his toes, on can give him maybe a little bit more stability. You can also get one of those step stools that has two steps. They tend to be high enough for my kids to reach if they're sitting on the seat reducer. They can put their feet right on that top step of that little step stool, and that's not very stable, so it may be just off balance enough where he stays on the potty long enough to pee, so experiment with that.
It would also be great to teach him to get on the mini potty himself, and so the hybrid plan is going to help you with this and teaching him how to recognize when he needs to go potty and move to the potty and sit on it himself. It sounds like he just really doesn't want it to be your idea, either. He wants to sit on the potty when he wants to go, not when you want him to go. So that hybrid plan is going to really help you bridge the gap between you being in charge of when he goes potty and him learning to recognize it himself.
It's going to be a little bit of a road, obviously, until he's able to do that reliably. And until then, you can also just rely on your easy catches. Make sure your timing is right. You can use The Log app to reassess his natural timing and really just offer when you know that he's probably going to have to go potty, and use that back-up for what it's intended for: as a back-up. Because you're right at a year and he just learned to walk, you're at this precipice where you can let it go with EC like this and really probably only catch the easy catches until he's around 18 months, and then put a button on it with a potty training experience, or you can be passing that baton this whole time. Which again, that hybrid plan and the Wrapping Up MiniCourse are really going to help you get through that phase.
Thanks so much for the question, Daria. And the last one we have here is from Rochelle.
Rochelle: Hi, Andrea. My name is Rochelle and I'm in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I have a 15-month-old son and he is getting more independent by the day, and I can see that our EC journey is getting closer to coming to an end. However, I still have to hold him in the classic EC position when he goes to the potty. He doesn't like his seat reducer or using the little potty. I'm not sure how to help him be independent if I still have to hold him. Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks, Rochelle. A few of my suggestions are going to be the same as they were for Tair and Daria, and that is check out the hybrid plan, try to give him more independence. I don't know what's happening right before you're holding him in the classic hold. Is he telling you he has to go potty and then you're picking him up? Are you just noticing it's potty time through one of the four roads, whether it's your intuition, or you noticed a pee-pee dance of some kind? Depending on what's happening right before that, check in with the whole process and see: am I still heavily staying in charge of the pottying process or am I letting the reins go as I see it's developmentally appropriate?
You said he's becoming more independent and this is happening to me right now with my 19-month-old. She's been wrapped up. We have been diaper free during the day since she was about 13 months, but, little by little, I've been handing over the reins of how we handle potty time. So up until about a month ago, she was telling me every time that she needed to potty and I would pick her up and take her. And at one point I realized I don't want to be doing this forever. So little by little I've been saying, "Okay, let's go." And just letting her lead the way. And a few times I've had my hands full and had to say, "There's the potty. Push your pants down. Go right there." And she wasn't really happy about that. Even though she is independent, I think she was really liking the fact that I was babying her and I was taking her to the potty, but I'm not going to be able to do that forever.
So encouraging him, little by little, to take on more of that responsibility is going to help free you from having to hold him in the classic hold. Maybe it's not that he won't sit on the potty or the potty seat. Maybe it's either that he needs the privacy, he doesn't want it to be your idea, or he really loves you holding him like you used to when he was a baby. So check in with that, see which of those feels like it's most right.
If it's really just that he is uncomfortable and hates the potty and hates the potty seat and is not going to have it, you could maybe try a little mini urinal. They have these really funny ones that look like frog mouths with a spinner inside that goes around like a water wheel when the urine hits it. So daddy might have to demonstrate this. An older sibling or a friend with a potty-trained child that has great aim. That's definitely a risk. You might need to have some towels around, but that standing may be something that he really wants to and needs to do. My son, when I potty-trained him, was definitely really interested in standing. So we encouraged it and we just tried to teach him accordingly how to get it in the potty.
But if you're seeing that it's just that he doesn't want it to be your idea and he needs to take on more of the reins, wrapping it up, using that hybrid plan, putting a button on it with the potty training experience is going to go a long way for you. And then again, I'm going to recommend privacy as well. If he doesn't want to sit on the mini potty, is it because you're standing right there or is it because it's really uncomfortable? So play around with it.
There might be some pee on the floor. A miss is not the end of the world. It's a great learning experience for both you and your child. It's a way for you to figure out what's working and what's not. It's a way for him to see that it's going to be his responsibility now to get the pee in the potty, that you're not going to hold him anymore. And of course, with anything, especially at 15 months, he's becoming more and more of a toddler, it's going to be met with resistance. You can probably expect some tears. So if you can stay calm and confident and get through that, then you will get out the other side successfully. That's where the hybrid plan and the Go Diaper Free book is really going to help you. Or again, if your learning style lends itself more to video and audio, check out that Wrapping Up MiniCourse and that will get you through it.
Thanks so much again, ladies, for your questions. I hope that was helpful. For all of you listening, let us know: what strategy did you use when your baby just wouldn't sit on the potty? How did you find success? What did you change and what did you learn? Head on over to godiaperfree.com/238. Let us know in the comments there. And next time we're going to be talking about what to do if your baby poops in the highchair or car seat. Until next time, I'm Nicole Cheever with Go Diaper Free. Thanks so much for listening, and we'll see you then.
Want to catch your first pee today? Grab Andrea's free Easy Start Guide and do just that. It's only one page and it will change your world. Get it at godiaperfree.com/start. We'll see you next time.
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About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)