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Won’t sit: If your baby doesn’t want to sit, here are some ideas

Won;t sit: If the baby won't sit, here are some ideas

Today we're going to talk about what you can do when your baby won't sit on the potty (or won’t stay seated on the toilet). 

Does your baby fuss every time you put him down to sit on the potty?

Does she stand up right after she’s seated and either crawl or walk away, before doing her business?

Will your baby ONLY pee or poop standing up lately?

Don't you go worrying, now. Don’t quit elimination communication just yet. This is actually VERY common, and in today's episode I’ll break it down.

But first let me say it out loud: this is a really frustrating issue you guys! I’ve been there, done that. Know that you aren't alone and that I am here to help you figure it out.

We have a few things - 17 things, to be exact - that you can try that have worked for other parents. So, let's dive right in.

You will learn:

  • 17 things to try when your baby won't sit on the potty! 
  • How to make the potty as comfortable as possible
  • How to provide a bit more privacy
  • When it might be time to switch potties
  • How to help baby feel secure on the potty
  • How to rule out medical issues
  • More, plus tips from a couple listeners!

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: Won't sit

Watch the Video Version

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!

What will you try to help your baby stay seated on the potty today? Do you have any other ideas that have worked for you? Please leave a comment below!

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 jessica garner on September 17, 2019 at 8:22 am

    just wanted to say that i LOVE that you offer the transcripts for all podcast! Such a huge, huge help, and i dont see that much on podcasts- thank you thank you thank you!!! <3

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      I’m so glad it helps you Jessica! I try to make my information as accessible as possible. xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Lei on September 17, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this podcast to come out for a while now, baby’s been refusing to sit on the potty for what feels like forever! We have the mini potty and a seat reducer but she will just arch off of those. One day after an unsuccessful potty attempt I sat her on the edge of our sink (to wash her feet cause they were dirty) and she peed! And that’s how we’ve been going for a couple weeks…

    • Avatar Isabelle on September 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Lei, how young is your babe?! I like to leave mine bare feet too, and they end up cleaning the floor (instead of me doing it, obviously, I have little time for that, but I do vacuum). How I know he cleans the floor!? His feet are black lol. Maybe I will try that default when washing his feet. Thank you for sharing! :)

      • Avatar Lei on November 5, 2019 at 11:17 am

        Late reply! But she was just 12 months at the time. Now at 14 months we still use the sink sometimes. Baby is more likely to sit these days, but not for very long;)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Nice work Lei! I’m so glad you found something that works for her. xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Isabelle on September 17, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Hello, great podcast with refreshing ideas, and love the encouraging recommendations at the ending. I did set a goal to wrap up EC at 16 mths and have yet to succeed. I feel like it’s too much pressure at this time, especially with the MamaWorx program that I’ve just started. My thoughts are; would it be just as okay to resume ECing my now 17mths and a half, and just let the process happen naturally with the option to potty train later. I think I will try getting a potty cozy for the tiny potty in the main living area, and maybe contain it in his Teepy, because he’s been peeing there during diaper free time. I would like to get a wall mounted vertical bar in addition to his realistic looking mini toilet from SkipHop, located in the bathroom. A urinal sound interesting, as he likes to pee standing. Or maybe the sit him on his potty in the tub idea sounds good.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      That sounds like a great plan Isabelle! If you increase diaper free time slowly while doing EC you’ll likely have an organic wrap up happen. It doesn’t need to be a big ordeal, just gradual progression. I’m so glad you’re in MamaWorx! xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Sarah Kaye on September 19, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Distraction seems to be key for our little one when she’s fussy and doesn’t want to sit. Doing something silly to make her laugh takes her mind off her discontentedness, and she’ll relax and sit down. Lately she’s been pleasantly distracted when I blow in her hair— she gets a big smile on her face! On the rare occasion that she becomes constipated, it helps her if I hug her while she’s sitting on the potty and sing her a song (“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” has been our go-to in that scenario)—that seems to give her the comfort and strength/confidence to push that poop out of there! Also, bath toys—we always have a rubber ducky right near the potty as her potty toy. And, of course, there are times when she’s so fussy and just downright refuses (in some of those crazy big developmental phases) and I simply say, “Say, no thank you, momma,” as I move her away from the potty to get her back in her diaper back up.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:11 pm

      Distractions really do work Sarah! It sounds like you have figured out some really wonderful ways to work with your daughter. xx Andrea

  5. Avatar Rosa on September 20, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    After reaching the point where my kid was stable sitting on the potty, I’ve found sitting on the toilet at the same time really helped. She was out of diapers around 20 months and I still do that to convince her to sit on the potty or toilet before leaving the house, for example. It’s potty time for everyone that way, so there’s way less resistance :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      So true Rosa! Family potty trips really do work, I am so glad you discovered it. xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Kristina on October 4, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for this podcast. We have tried quite a few things from that list. It constantly changes so if something didnt work before, might work now :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Kristina! EC really is a constantly evolving practice. Babies change so quickly, we have to be able to adapt. You just never know what will work! xx Andrea

  7. Avatar Diana Nindita on November 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Hi Andrea, greetings from Indonesia!
    I found that your blog posts are so helpful to me.
    I’ve been doing part-time EC with my 17 month old boy since 2 months ago.
    He’s still won’t sit either on his ordinary mini potty or soft toilet seat reducer.
    I’ve tried several tips from this post but haven’t make it yet.
    I’m thinking of purchasing a potty which is shaped like a duck and the baby can move around with it since it has wheels. I think my baby will love it since he likes driving toy car and mini bikes.
    But I’m worry if it will distract my baby so he will just playing and moving around with it, thus he won’t learn toileting instead.
    What do you think?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Diana! If you think it might help, give it a try! xx Andrea

  8. Avatar bfintel on March 27, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Hi, Thank you so much for this post! I’ve listened, watched, read, and re-read this so many times because…. my darling now-17.5-monther with whom we have been doing parttime EC since 6 weeks is an anti-sitter. Her go-to remains in-arms at the sink. For the past 6+ months, I tried your mini potty, the cozy, have your book and toy, an extra potty for her potty toy, a soft toilet seat reducer (even tried one with an attached ladder since she loves climbing), tried the bath-tub, have tried and re-tried every suggestion with the exception of a urinal (since she is a girl), She never once accepted sitting on the mini potty… Since she seemed to like watching me go, I even got her another mini potty which looks just like a toilet and has a cute flusher. She is amused by it, and with coaxing actually will sit but only with distraction.. However, 2 weeks in and she has never once voided on it. I know the timing is usually good, because countless time she immediately pees on the bathroom floor immediately upon standing up! She is not constipated, doesn’t have a uti etc etc. Do you have any other suggestions I can try? We are both getting too big for in-arms (I am pregnant) and I don’t know where else to go from here…. Your insight would be so appreciated! Thank you!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on March 27, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      Hi! Have you ditched diapers? Moving into wrapping up can help make a difference. You can start with holding her over the seat reducer/potty. Then lower so she is sitting on your hands. Then finally she will be sitting on her own. Sometime it can take a little bit for them to get used to a new receptacle. You can also stand her in the bathtub/shower if she’s going while standing. xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Elizabeth on July 24, 2020 at 10:12 am

    I’d really like to get the mini potty but I’m in Canada, is there somewhere I can buy it or similar without pricey shipping?


    • Avatar Andrea Olson on July 24, 2020 at 7:01 pm

      Hi Elizabeth! We are looking into distributors, but I’m not sure when it will happen. I would suggest taking advantage of a sale, or trying to get a group order together with friends to save on shipping. xx Andrea

  10. Avatar Kathy on August 31, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Hi, My 15 month old daughter wants to leave the potty seat as soon as she starts peeing, even though we’re singing or ready a book. She cries so hard when I don’t let her stand up. However, She seats In the potty if she’s not going to pee. What should I do?

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 31, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      Hi Kathy! You can try letting her stand in the tub/shower, it’s a step in the right direction. If you are just starting out with potty learning it is very common to see resistance. Right now she doesn’t understand that pee goes in the potty. As you continue to work on potty learning and do more diaper free time this will improve. xx Andrea

  11. Avatar Catalina on April 29, 2021 at 4:06 am

    Thanks Andrea!
    We started with EC around the 4th month and it was super, I follow your podcast and it has helped us a lot. There were times I caught all poops and pees for weeks and I felt that me and my baby bounded and that I could understand him. It was such a reward to get a poo or a pee in the potty. But baby started refusing the potty around the end of his 7th month (he will be 9 months tomorrow). He just won’t sit, he’ll scream and cry and he’ll stop after lifting him from the toilet sit. We tried to give him a toy but it didn’t work. We will try privacy (fingers crossed). On the otehr hand, he is also an early walker so I guess now I undertand what is going on cuz he would pee and poo standing upright and as soon i see the signal i would take it to the potty and he would cry out loud! It’s been really frustrating… wish us luck cuz we dont want to give up on EC.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 2, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      Stay the course! These things will pass, make sure you are doing some observation time to make sure that your little one times and/or observations have changed.

      Sounds like offering privacy may be just what your little one needs. 😊

  12. Avatar Tamara on May 17, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Hi Andrea. I would consider myself a part-time ECer. I don’t remember exactly when I started, but a few months after birth. My son is 14 months now. I let him pee/poop into the sink until my wrists couldn’t bear it anymore. So we switched to the potty. It worked for a while but since a few weeks he crawls of right away. Often he pees on the floor right after.
    I don’t know if I ruined it myself as I tried to hold him on the potty several times, like propping him up as soon as he tries to crawl of.
    I‘m so frustrated and to be honest I take it quiet personally that he refuses something I try to make possible for him. I even ask myself from time to time if I do it for myself more than for him, I really don’t like changing poopy diapers.
    Today I tried holding him over the toilet and it work for a peep. After lunch I was sure he has to poop (lot of farting), but he screamed and resisted like crazy, so after a few trials I put him back in a diaper.
    Is there anything else that you would recommend?
    Best wishes Tamara (from Switzerland)

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 17, 2021 at 10:52 am

      Hi Tamara,

      Thanks for reaching out. Finding your community is important. Having a major developmental leap can put a kink in your little ones potty routine. Being able to crawl is exciting, and makes babies want to explore more than sit on the potty. I would do some observation time to make sure your little ones timing hasn’t changed. Most importantly try backing off a little and see if that helps.

      Since you have the book, make sure you reach out on Mighty Networks to our community members and certified coaches for more help. 💕

  13. Avatar Dora on May 22, 2021 at 5:00 am

    hello Andrea,

    thanks for all your tips !🙏🏾
    i wrote you the other day on Insta and then I checked this whole episode and read more about this pausing thing, but somehow i’m afraid that my baby will become constipated if i continue offering him toilet.
    he is turning 17months next week, and so far he has always been so collaborative and easy going, he would even bring his potty or pull our pants to tell us he needs to caca (or pee) since he is unable to sit or pull down his clothes and cloth diapers.
    suddenly with all teeth growing (his all four canines are about to come out and his molars are half out) he became a bit weird 😀. breastfeeding more often and fully refusing to go to potty. he has diapers and as soon as i try to open his bottom he is protesting. this morning when i put him on potty (coz he still can’t do it by himself) he stood up immediately run towards the stairs gate and started urinating there… i also noticed twice he caca standing up. when i saw him doing so, I came to dress him off he stopped. that’s why i am afraid to continue offering him if he is already doing this in his diaper and stopping if i do something. i’m scared it will cause more problems.
    i tried privacy, tried with toys, model how we do, try in shower but no luck.
    i noticed also that he never wanted my hands to help him walking nor any other things (like helping him to sit on his tricycle) and he did all those things by himself. so i’m wondering if he wants to master this by himself too! but not sure what to do and how to behave, it’s really frustrating 😖😇
    is there anything else you would suggest?
    i appreciate your help!
    thanks heaps ! D

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on May 26, 2021 at 4:56 am

      You can offer independence by asking if he wants to use the big potty or tiny one. Asking if he wants to take the toy he is playing with to the bathroom or leave it here. These choices can make them feel that they are in control.

      Pushing down the pants is another great skill to start working on, but more importantly is the “back, back, squat sit” skill. This is such an important one, because it gives them a lot of independence of getting on and off the potty by themselves. Lastly, at this age, I would try letting your little one pee standing up. ❤️

      • Avatar Dora on June 4, 2021 at 4:11 am

        Thanks Andrea for your reply!

        We have two potties and sometimes he would bring them to us but now only when he has already done peeing or pooping. We don’t have a toilet seat for him yet.
        I did so many times in the bathroom with toys,t machine on or toilet papers (he loves that so toys are not useful at all) and he would sit but stand up either when I leave the bathroom or when he gets bored, and the potty would be empty. but after 10mins he would pee pee naked somewhere else. I would caught him and put him back to potty but again nothing.
        It is so frustrating since for so many months it worked so well for us!!! Same goes for caca and I’m quite sick of pre-washing the nappies.
        He is caca and pee standing up usually now, but If I take him to do that in the bathroom he would stop, and I feel like im stopping him from caca. :((
        He doesn’t know how to push the pants down (since he has body it is more complicated to open and cotton nappies too) and if I take him just to change his nappies (even without saying do you want to go pee pee or saying we will pee now) he would start protesting already. if I put him on the potty with his clothes on he is ok, otherwise he is protesting. Also, he was trying to sit by himself on the potty (going behind the potty and reaching it frontal) but only with his clothes on. I let him try to do without nappies but he doesnt want, I let him do his own pace but nothing, he would just run around naked.
        I feel like all we did is gone now, and I get so tired of trying all these things, and nothing would work. Im wondering if there was something wrong I was doing, and when we were putting him on the potty without asking him (do you want to pee) is the reason why he is refusing now…
        Im not sure for anything now.
        Thanks and if you have any more suggestion, I would appreciate too.

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on June 8, 2021 at 4:44 am

          Always trust your intuition! It is often right. If you feel that just putting him on the potty and not saying anything isn’t working anymore then I suggest you do what you are guided to do, or say “Time to go to the potty!” Then take his hand and lead him to the bathroom.

          If he fights you, simply say you trust that he will tell you when he needs to go, and then trust him.💕

      • Avatar Mathilde on August 8, 2022 at 3:43 am

        Thanks a lot for your video ! I’ve been looking for advice but in French there is not much available .. I’ve been procticing EC with my daughter since she is 2 weeks ; at 6 months it was not so bad, we had almost all the poops and the wake up pees (but she never really answered to my suggestions for peeing, usually it was the right time but she would do on the floor or in her diaper a few minutes after ?!). Then all changed ; she started to sit and stand up and crawl and won’t stay in the potty / in arms on the toilet or sink / sit on a small potty. And when I see her poop (usually standing up) and I take her to the potty she can stop and finish later in the diaper or on the floor ! I don’t want to insist if she doesn’t want to but I haven’t found the solution. She’s now almost 10 months and will go soon at kindergarden (so back to diapers). I usually use diapers without the waterproof thing (sorry can’t find the English word) or no diaper. At night I just change her when she wakes up because sleep is way too complicated with her and I don’t want to risk waking her up by offering the potty (especially is she doesn’t want the potty !). I don’t really know what to do (I’ve tried toys, nature, water …), thanks anyways for your website !!!!

        • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on August 8, 2022 at 9:23 pm

          First, thank you so much for watching! I would try doing a complete reset with her, first taking a small break maybe for a few days then going back to observation times and changing the back up. Try for those easy catches after transition times like naps, meals, and baths. Also, if you don’t already have my book Go Diaper Free, start there! I also have a subscription service, Potty Tribe, where weekly on Friday’s coaches get together over Zoom to help mommas such as yourself troubleshoot any EC and potty training issues they may be encountering with their little ones.

          • Avatar Mathilde on August 11, 2022 at 4:21 am

            Thank you so much for your answer ! Ive been stopping offering the potty indeed but when I tried again a few days ago it’s the same refusal. Do you think it can be “spoiled” for real ? I really don’t know what to try now :S

          • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on August 11, 2022 at 8:19 pm

            Going back to naked observation times to try to narrow down baby’s natural potty rhythms, if she is in a disposable, changing to a cloth prefold or tiny trainers can help increase awareness, even a change of scenery or a book or toy to help keep baby sitting can be a great help. If you don’t already have my book I would recommend starting there! I have outlines for every stage and many more troubleshooting guidelines. I also have a new subscription service Potty Tribe were on a weekly basis, coaches, as well as myself, help troubleshoot the weeks potty issues you may be experiencing!

  14. Avatar Nikki on May 27, 2022 at 8:54 am

    Fun story that I was thinking of as you talked about the warm water trick…I started removing diapers from my 15 month old daughter at the start of summer, so right as our air conditioner was coming on. She was fascinated by the air vents and for the first couple of weeks always wanted to go feel the air when it came on. The sudden blast of cool air also made her pee every time. So I moved her toddler potty next to a vent and encouraged her to sit on it when the air came on. No resistance during those times!

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