How to Potty Train a Stubborn Child: Part Two

I’m a Type-A organized mess who always plans five steps ahead. So when Brookie was only a few months old, I started thinking about potty training. I did so much research and decided on the 3-day-potty training method. I made a list of potty training readiness signs .

One problem: Brookie didn’t agree.

She had no understanding of the articles I read on signs of potty training readiness. She only knew that she liked her diapers, even if she didn’t like being dirty. Around the time Brookie was eighteen months old, I found out I was pregnant with Little Man.

I was certain she’d be potty trained before Little Man was born. I mean–

She’d be two, by then.

She was a girl, and of course, girls train faster than boys.

Oh, and don’t you know, cloth diapered babies train faster than babies who wear disposables.

At eighteen months, she checked off almost every sign of potty training readiness.

So, of course, by two, Brookie would be potty trained and then Little Man would be born.


Brookie was finally potty trained at 3 1/2, about three months before her 4th birthday. Through the experience, I learned so much.

Potty training is different for every child. 

For my daughter, it was easier at 3, than it was at 2. 

Children will potty train when they are ready–and I don’t mean when they can check every box on the readiness list. 

Two children in diapers is easier than I thought. 

I’m not bashing the three-day method or the readiness list, but they didn’t work for us. My daughter is too relaxed. By day two, the method had her stressed and crying. Always consider your child’s temperament when it comes to potty training.

What Worked for Us

A sticker chart. 

We let her pick out a poster board. She also chose three possible rewards and the princess stickers. Jared drew a picture of her rewards at the end of the chart. Each time she completed a row, she got a prize.

The first few days we didn’t get any stickers. The first row filled up very slowly. Around sticker #5, it clicked, but it still took about 2-3 weeks and 2 charts until she recognized when she needed to go and could make it without accidents.

We did one sticker each time she went. But we also gave her two stickers if we stayed dry during an outing.


It took time for Brookie to earn stickers for the chart so each time she went on the potty, she received a chocolate.

Ditch the Diapers

We had to completely ditch the diapers. It took more than just ditching them at home. We had to go out in public with underwear. That was a little nerve-wrecking, but we made it through. It meant accidents, but most of them happened in her car seat. It meant scrubbing and cleaning multiple times. But it worked.

The only time we left her in diapers was nap and bedtime. My daughter is a heavy sleeper. She is not nighttime trained yet.

Potty Power

This DVD helped her understand what she needed to do and opened communication.

My sister. 

This isn’t always possible, but potty training coincided with my sister’s trip down to Florida to see us. Brookie was so proud of herself and my sister helped add an extra layer of excitement. Brookie’s biggest leap occurred then.

No pressure

Accidents were no big deal. After the first day, each time she’d tell me, “It’s okay, Mommy. Just an accident.” This removed the pressure.

When she went in the potty, we celebrated. She received rewards, but even more she gained independence.

We included her brother. He put stickers on the chart and danced with her when she couldn’t contain her excitement.

Final Thoughts

All children are different. If what you’re doing isn’t working, find something new. I have no idea how I’ll potty train Little Man. At 21 months, he’s still non-verbal and has no interest in stopping long enough to sit on the potty. We’ll revisit it when he’s older.

Wait until your child is ready. Maybe that coincides with the signs of readiness. Maybe, it doesn’t. For us, it didn’t. Brookie felt attached to her diapers. It was a comfort. So it took time.

I hope some of these ideas help.

Your Turn

How old were your children when they were finally potty trained?

What worked for you?

What challenge are you facing with potty training?

1 Comment

  1. Jeanna Massman

    My daughter was potty trained before she turned 3 but my son and grandson were over 3 before we were successful.

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