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Potty training at 18 months and up can be hard.    Many potty training hurdles arise, but the ones that I hear most are: My child won’t poop on the potty and My child is regressing when we use underwear.  These are so normal!  Just when we think that we have it all figured out, one of these things happens.

Repeat this to yourself: This is normal.  Other parents are jumping over these same hurdles. Honestly, it is for these reasons that the customers of my book, Potty Train in a Weekend book, are added to a private Facebook group: I want them to be able to talk to each other (& me) and share ideas & suggestions.

Now that you know that this will happen, it’s important to remember this:  Just like everything, this is a phase that they are going through.

So, today let’s talk about the first one: when your child will only pee on the potty.   After cleaning any worries about a medical reason for not wanting to poop on the potty, it is time to encourage your child to do just that: use the toilet without fear or hesitation.

A little girl sitting on a potty chair.

Overcoming Potty Training Hurdles:

1-  “Tell me!”  I tell my children that they need to tell me when they need to go.  They can sign with sign language or just use their words, but they should be able to tell you that they have to go, especially once they are potty trained and are peeing on the potty regularly.

2-  One trick that I heard was to have them wear a diaper on their little potty.  It is a transition step that we don’t want to have to take, but it will get us to the end goal: going without a diaper.   After a week, unstrap one side when your child does this.  After another week, as if you can just place the diaper in the little potty.

3- Use a coffee filter and tell your child that it is like a diaper for the potty, then he/she can watch you easily empty it:

Photo source:

4- If they do pee or poop in their underwear, be sure to explain that it is not clean (sanitary) to go in your underwear.  I always said that it was “yucky” to go in their pants.

5- Privacy.  One of our kids would not go poop on the potty if anyone was in the room.  Even right after our potty training weekend (the 3 days), no one was welcome in the bathroom when this child had to have a bowel movement.
Give it a shot… Privacy (concentration & the freedom from the pressure that others are waiting) might be all that your child needs. 

6- SING!!  I used to sing potty songs to our kids all of the time.   Here’s another mom doing the same thing:

7- Put the training potty in front of your child’s favorite movie or show on the TV or iPad.   Place your child on the potty & let them watch something while they sit there.  Crazy, right?
It’s ok… it is a one-time thing, but it helps to relax your child… and sometimes that is all that they need to use the potty.  It allows them to RELAX and stop thinking about going… they just go.   When they do this one time, they usually never have trouble again.

8- Print this FREE Coloring Book for Potty Trainers and talk about each page with your child.  Just enter your name & email here & I’ll send it to you ASAP.

For more tips for potty training 18 months & up check out my book, Potty Train in a Weekend.

A Potty Training book.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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1 Comment

  1. I have twin 26 month old little girls and I’m having the hardest time potty training them. They show an interest every now and then, BUT I give up on the consistency. All day long yesterday except nap time and before bed they wore panties all day. I was proud of myself for not giving up, but ladies- I’m exhausted!! We went through about 40+ panties and only 3 actual successful potty pees. Only one time of the three, one of the girls released her whole bladder. We sang, washed our hands, gave a sticker, gave a skittle and thought it was a big enough deal to make her understand better it was an AWESOME thing she did. I debated on giving up again but this morning one of the girls woke up and wanted her Anna and Elsa panties on. No accident yet… I have them sitting on their potties watching an educational video in the living room where we spend most of our time. Hoping this tip works to relax and encourage them some more. Yesterday I kept the potty in the bathroom. Any other tips?