Skip to content

Why babies resist the potty: Potty resistance and what to do.

GDF Podcast 42

Today let’s explore why babies resist the potty and what you can do about it.

When your baby resists the potty while doing elimination communication, it can be a frustrating experience. You might be wondering what is going on, and if there is something that you did to cause the resistance!

Don't worry. Potty resistance is normal, and I'm going to help you get through it.

You will learn:

  • Reasons babies resist the potty and what it might mean
  • How to let go of self-doubt and see the whole picture
  • Questions to ask yourself when your baby resists the potty
  • How to help your baby adapt to change
  • Information about developmental leaps
  • How to help your baby through a potty pause
  • How to get in touch with your baby's changing rhythms
  • How to offer your child privacy

Links and other resources mentioned today:

Download the Transcript

If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?) and read the transcript here:

Transcript download: Why babies resist the potty

Watch the Video Version (new!)

If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:

Thanks for Listening!

To help out the show and help more parents find out about EC:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes
  • Share your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments section below!

Has your baby ever resisted using the potty? Please leave a comment below with your experience!

I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

xx Andrea

Andrea Olson

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.)


  1. Avatar Fiona Whitehead on May 14, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    We have just started training our 22 month old son. Day 2 & not going well. He used to be fine on the potty, but since we’ve gone without nappies, it’s as if he knows what we’re trying to do and has decided to reject it. He won’t go near a potty. It feels like the desire for more control. But I don’t really know how to deal with it. He’s going everywhere except the potty…. I’m also finding it a challenge to know when he’s about to pee. He has cold and cough at the moment, so not 100%. Can’t bear to think that day 3 will be as bad!!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 16, 2019 at 2:06 am

      Hi Fiona! This is very, very, common. You are absolutely right, he is testing you to see if you are going to stick with this. You might try bringing the potty to him instead of taking him to the potty, it can help. xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Colleen on May 15, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Thank you!! I’ve been so confused by why our 6 month old all of a sudden started resisting his potty chances. We’ve EC’ed since 2 weeks and never had a problem until now when he does everything he can to twist and turn and squirm out of the potty hold. Now I have a much better idea of what to look for at the cause(s). This came at the perfect time for our family.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 16, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Colleen! I’m so glad it was good timing for the information! xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Maiken on May 15, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Oh my, now I know why😅 baby has the chicken pox (we don’t vaccinate against that here, so every child gets it at some point). She just had her first two tiny teeth. She is working on learning to crawl. And she’s just a few days shy of the fith leap😅 I guess that’s why she’s not very cooperative at the moment

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 16, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Oh goodness, that’s a lot going against her. I hope she’s feeling better soon!! xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Mandy on May 17, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Andrea, we are on day 1 and my 21 mo old is refusing to even sit on the potty now- she was this morning but after nap she’s screaming and clinging to me whenever I try to bring her to the port or the potty to her. It’s like she’s afraid of it now. It’s already clicking some as she notices when she pees or goes uh oh when starting, just can’t get her to sit on the potty. I have read your book. Any suggestions? Thanks :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on May 18, 2019 at 12:56 am

      Hi Mandy! Resistance can crop up in the beginning because it is new and they’re testing to see if you’ll stick to it. If you feel that she is fearful, I would do some potty play. Play with her toys/dolls and have them “go potty”. Cheer them on, be silly, have fun. Really fun distractions like bubbles when she’s on the potty will help too. xx Andrea

  5. Avatar Coco on June 9, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    Andrea, I am back, my last question was April 7 in podcast 37, but here I am trying to get back on track and this is step 1, I did it back in April and it literally saved my life.

    The baby was resisting more and more after doing amazing in all aspects. It made no sense at all and nothing… NOTHING has changed. I zoomed out and payed attention to me, a few days in I noticed my heart would race every time I was bringing her to potty & she screamed and arched until I set her down to go back to play and inevitably pee in the living room…. I went to the dr bc the racing heart was odd, especially since I have been so into EC and potty training early with major success til then. After months of testing I got my answer last week. My heart was responding to random brain signals nearly killing me. I had 186/111 blood pressure chronically and was on the verge of a massive stroke. I started my heart meds Wednesday of last week and my crazy heart has levelled out.

    As of today our little one is back to telling us and taking us to potty 99% of the time and more into it than ever. My rascal’s potty training turn truly saved my life.

    I hope that others can zoom out and see that ANY difference is noticed by these kids, mine was 15 months old and knew before I ever could have dreamed that I was in danger. Yay for potty training! My life saver!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on June 13, 2019 at 2:46 am

      Wow! I am so relieved to read your story and I never even imagined you could zoom out to something on this level. Definitely adding to my current update of the book as a possibility – check yourself out! Thank you for sharing! Would you mind sending me a pic of you and your little one and giving me permission to share this on Instagram? This is so touching and so needs to be heard by others. Sending you well wishes for continued recovery!!! xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Danette on July 30, 2019 at 10:04 am

    Been having about a week of pause with our 6 month old. She does appear really ready to pop some teeth though (increased fussiness and wHItE gums). Trying to be patient and continue to offer as we did before.
    Also, we often miss a lot of BMs. She must really like the position of her car seat for pushing out those BMs. Any recommendations for emulating a car seat position over the toilet? I’m usually in tune when she needs to go #2 and offer but many days she just prefers to wait and go when we are in the car. Trying to stay positive.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 11, 2019 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Danette! You can do the classic EC hold over the toilet, or sit her on a low potty like the Tiny Undies mini potty. That will put her in a similar position. Offering the potty before and after a car trip is a good idea too. She will learn to use those opportunities. The car seat can often be the last hurdle, so just keep at it and don’t stress! xx Andrea

  7. Avatar Maiken on December 5, 2019 at 7:46 am

    We have been through so many pauses with our little girl. She’s tuning one next week, and I thought we were through with the latest pause. She just started walking last month, but for a few weeks got more cooperative after mastering that. But now she’s resisting again. And Im sure she wants privacy. She will always go to her ballpit or her playroom to eliminate. I can offer the potty, she might sit (usually not) and do nothing or completely refuse, and then go to be alone and do it. I had just taken her diaper off, offered the potty, she got of and straight away went to pee in the ball pit. While i moved that to the bathroom to clean later, she went to her playroom, pooped on the floor and started playing with it 🙄😬
    I want to give her privacy. But of I’m not right there, she will get off. The same with the big toilet. If I as much as look away, she will get off head first – not trying that again. You have written several places to use the vig toilet, og baby gets off the little potty. But in our case, that’s not safe.
    But what do I do then? Please help😅❤️

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 8, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Maiken! Try working on teaching skills, any part of the potty routine. It really helps make it fun again and get young toddlers engaged with the process. xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Erica on January 9, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Andrea!
    My 5-month old is now resisting the potty. We just started EC like a week ago so it’s still very new, but all last week we were doing great, she loved the potty and we were missing only a few pees so we decided to switch to cloth diapers so we didn’t keep wasting and throwing away diapers only peed in once or twice (I didnt feel comfortable putting a half used diaper back on her). Ever since we started the cloth diapers though she’s been resisting the potty. What would you recommend?

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 17, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Erica! Resistance can crop up for a number of reasons. Illness, teething, a developmental leap, etc. It may just be a coincidence that it started with the cloth diapers. I would recommend doing some observation again, see if her timing has changed. You can try changing up the hold you are using, or receptacle. Often that does the trick. xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Ana Sluys on January 21, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Andrea. I just started following you lately and I am loving it. So i have introduced my baby to the mini potty since he was 6 month old. I didn’t know much about it and didn’t follow any particular technique. My son is now 15 months. Since the start the story has been the same. It goes pretty well for around 2 weeks, i get a lot of catches and then all of the sudden he is start resisting the potty strongly. So i end up needing to take a break for a few weeks (i have tried keep trying but the resistance just grows stronger) and then i restart. From what i have been listening from you it sounds like using the toilet reducer would be better for him (so he doesn’t walk away), but the toilet reducer for him is the worst thing in the world. He screams and cries like crazy. He even cries when he sees me going to the toilet…. any thoughts? He tolerates the mini potty (when not resisting potty altogether) but he won’t let me walk away (for me to give him privacy, he has anxiety about being alone).

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on January 23, 2021 at 2:52 am

      If your little one will sit on the potty, but does not want you to leave, you can offer privacy by busying yourself in the bathroom. For instance you can clean the shower or sink or respond to an email on your phone (you can pretend if you don’t really feel up to it).

      Basically you are offering privacy, but are still there. 😊

  10. Avatar Vicky on July 12, 2021 at 7:57 am

    hi Andrea, we started EC with 6 months with easy catches (morning pee etc), holding over toilet. That was pretty easy to manage. At one point (after three months) she refused to be hold over the toilet and we slowed the process down. Now, 13 months old, we bought the potty and the seat for the normal toilet. But it seems like she is afraid of both. We tried your sitting tipps but still she wont sit on the toilet. Any other idea? Thanks in advance.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on July 14, 2021 at 3:53 am

      I would try airlifting to the potty mid pee or poo.

      Also, try some role playing with some stuffed animals or a doll on the potty. Make it fun and try to get her to laugh. Kids learn best through play 😊

  11. Avatar yuliya on April 23, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    Hi andrea! We have been doing EC with our girl since 10 months old. She has done really well up til last 2 weeks. She started telling us when she would have to go about 2 months ago, started pooping on the potty around 5 months ago (she had some bouts of constipation which made pottying for poops impossible). We did have some consistency issues with offering and also due to poops being off, which i feel made things last a lot longer then they should have i.e. keeping her in diapers. but all in all it was going well. The past month she has had some constipation again, she is learning words left and right and we think she is about to get some molars in….so a lot going on. I have also had trouble sleeping so i do have some extra tiredness and whatnot going on personally. So i definitely see how that all would effect her. We backed off, 1 re-read your book and we would basically only offer after sleep (morning, nap) and around when she would normally go after eatting and right before her bath, For a week it went well. now 3 weeks later she wants nothing at all to do with the potty 90% of the time- screams and arches back even though she definitely needs to pee ( she pees the second the diaper is one). I can sometimes get her to sit after her 2nd meal/before nap when she needs to go or right after nap, but it is like 1/2x in a week. I should add she does not take off her own pants as she has had no interest in that though we model it and tell her about it. So what on earth do we do?? DO we put underwear on now instead odf diapers? Will that not make her mad to feel and see all the pee? She is 21 months old.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on April 24, 2022 at 8:54 pm

      First off, You got this! EC is not linear and can become frustrating when we aren’t gracious and patient with ourselves. It sounds like she is going through a lot developmentally which can cause some resistance. Backing off like you have is 100% okay. Tiny trainers would be a great place to start as a transition out of diapers. They are great training tools to help solidify that mind-body connection and encourage her to go in the potty to avoid being wet.

Leave a Comment

Scroll To Top