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5 Tips for Potty Training a Strong Willed Child

Thank you Cottonelle® for sponsoring this post. Stay tuned to the Cottonelle Facebook page and Brit Morin’s site “Brit + Co” for more great tips and tricks.

If you ended up here, then congratulations!  You got through the the sleepless nights of the newborn phase, your toddler made it through wobbly first steps where every sharp corner you never knew existed seems magnetized to their forehead, and although they can’t yet even speak a full sentence, they can somehow Houdini their way into any drawer, space, or bag full of tiny pieces that you thought was explicably baby-proofed. You have transitioned your sweet baby from the God’s gift to every parent, a four walled, practically inescapable place to put your kid to sleep, into a toddler bed where they have the ability to get get up one, two, or occasionally three million times a night.

So now you are here.  Potty training.  The only thing that is standing between your baby becoming a big kid is a diaper and a willpower of steel.  If you are the mom of potty-training strong willed child then read on.  As a mom gearing up to potty train my third strong willed child I have garnered a few tips for you.
Seriously great! 5 REAL tips on potty training a strong willed child!

  1. If your friends tell you it is easy, DON’T BELIEVE THEM.I hear these stories of magical toddlers that potty train in like 3 minutes or 1 day or whatever other nonsense.  Maybe these mythical unicorns exist, but their mom’s probably also always have a perfectly clean house, grow 90% of food they consume in their organic super-food backyard garden, and get up at 5 am each morning to get a full workout, all while hardly sweating, before cheerfully making a balanced breakfast.

    In all seriousness, some kids might be easy to potty train, but most are not.  Potty training is not for the faint of heart, but know that YOU CAN DO THIS! Don’t set yourself, or more importantly your kiddo, up for failure by setting an expectation for something that doesn’t happen for most kids, especially those strong willed ones.  Go in with your battle armor on knowing that this is not going to be an easy process. It is a major life change and and your little one may need some time to get used to the idea.  Usually the stronger the will, the more highly they value your esteem.  Letting them know the little wins make you proud and giving them grace for the mistakes (some of which will be willful and VERY frustrating) will go farther for this whole process than anything else.

  2. Go ahead and buy a lifetime supply of candy and toilet paper.When you gear up for this big endeavor you need the gear to set your kid up for success.  And by gear, I mean bribery and fun.  This whole experience is all really about tricking your kid into thinking potty is fun. It is something they want to do, not that you want them to do. You need candy.  Lots of candy.  Bribery works people. You would be surprised what a two year old will do for a round, brightly colored piece of candy.  Those little little pieces of chocolate might as well be gold.  Don’t buy one little package, we are talking a super-sized, wholesale store, family pack sized bags of candy. This needs to look as fun as you want them to think it is so take them and put them in a clear closable container. Leave that sucker in direct view right on the counter, in the bathroom and every time your toddler asks for it (which is probably all the time) tell him it is ONLY for when you go potty.  Now whatever you do, do not make the rookie mistake of giving it to them just because, or as a reward from something else.  THAT candy is special potty candy and the ONLY way to unlock that jar is by going pee pee in the potty.  If you aren’t into candy, use stickers, or some other treat.  The key is that it is something they can only get when they go potty.

    Now for the toilet paper.  This can be overlooked but it is surprisingly important.  First and foremost, you may have forgotten since it has been awhile since your toddler days, but toilet paper is kind of awesome when you are a toddler.  I mean it is this roll of fluffiness that you have never in your life been allowed to touch, except for the time you snuck in and unrolled the whole thing, but our mom kind of lost it then. And now… now you get to use it each and every time you go to the bathroom.  Now this is the most important part.  Make sure you get great quality soft toilet paper, our choice is Cottonelle® Clean Care.  Your kid will be thrilled to finally get the blessing to use the toilet paper at will when going to the restroom and you don’t want to ruin everything in one wipe with hard, scratchy paper.  If you have kids then you know they are generally super sensitive to tags, itchy shirts, or anything that is a bit scratchy on their skin.  Not only do you want the paper to be soft to avoid the sensory issues, but you also need a thick, absorbent paper so that you can get them clean, and keep your hands clean, with the fewest wipes possible. Cottonelle® Clean Care has a clean ripple texture that helps to really get the your kiddo clean after going potty and with Cottonelle® Mega Roll with CleanRipple Texture, there’s more inside than meets the eye. Each holds 4 rolls in 1 to unroll a mega surprise.  That means less time spent searching for more toilet paper, changing rolls, less hassle and more spent with your kiddos!  Now that’s convenient!  You can grab a coupon to try out Cottonelle® Clean Care with your little one here!

    Seriously great! 5 REAL tips on potty training a strong willed child!

  3. Entertainment is key.I am going to let you in on a little secret here… Sometimes potty training is as easy as getting your kid to sit still for long enough to just go.  Well, I mean that in itself isn’t really so easy, but the key is, if you load them with liquids and can keep them on the potty long enough, it is going to happen.  Then you make a HUGE deal over it and then they get so excited that you are excited they might even do it again.  This is similar to the point above where you want to find a form of entertainment that they don’t often get so it can be an incentive to stay still a little longer.Our family used our tablet as our entertainment for potty time.  Our kids don’t get to use it much so it is a very special treat to get to be in charge of the tablet and pick any of the shows or apps to play with.  This worked like a charm for us and would glue our kids to the toilet as long as we let them keep the tablet.  If the tablet isn’t your thing, it could be a special pile of books just for the potty, or a box where you keep special toys they can only play with on the potty.  I have even heard that some people let their kids pick a relative to call each time they go potty so they feel important and get a little extra praise each time.  It can be anything, just make sure it really is special and it has the ability to hold their attention.Seriously great! 5 REAL tips on potty training a strong willed child!
  4. The good.  The bad.  The ugly…. Finding a scapegoat.Potty training will hopefully be a fun new adventure when you first start.  It will be exciting and your kid will be eager to run to the potty when you tell them it is time to go.  About 1/2 a day later, the potty isn’t fun anymore.  It is annoying and not as fun and even though you can see them doing the pee pee dance from half way across the house, they do not want to go sit on that potty.Time for the scapegoat!  Find a timer, set the alarm on your phone, or another way to alert them that it is time to potty.  Then when it is time to go and your strong willed child has decided that he is no longer participating in this potty training thing, you can blame it on the alarm.  It’s not Mommy that is making you go potty, it is the potty alarm that says it is time to go.  Every little bit helps and we found this to really diffuse the situation once our kids weren’t as thrilled with the whole situation anymore so that we could get back on track.
  5. Don’t give up!

    If you are like 99% of moms, there will be times when you will want to scream, cry and run away.Know two things- We have all been there before!  And two, your kid will learn.

    When they said the days are long but the years are short, this is exactly what they are talking about.  There will be moments that are hard but there are also such moments of pride and triumph when your little one over comes the obstacles and conquers the milestones.Remember, you’ve got this!

Seriously great! 5 REAL tips on potty training a strong willed child!

Cottonelle® has teamed up with lifestyle expert Brit Morin to provide families with even more great tips for potty training.  Watch the video below for some of her best tips!

You can check out the Cottonelle® Facebook page, and YouTube channel for more great tips and tricks and don’t forget to grab a coupon for Cottonelle® here!  Do you have anything that has worked well for you during potty training?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!

I was selected for this opportunity and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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  1. says

    My third little one just turned 3 last week and we are definitely about to enter the stage of potty training (one of my least favorite mom duties)! Wish me luck! :)

    • brit says

      Hi Blair, glad to see your son is 3 too. We tried befor and it didn’t happen , now he’s older but not interested…hoping this helps! Good luck!

  2. Gazelle says

    My son is 22 months old. started to potty train a week ago. He hate it to sit on the toilet, but also hate it if the pee-pee runs down his legs…so he will wait till number99 to run to the toilet and sometimes don’t make it in time. Will try your tablet idea.. He do get to flush the toilet if he did made a pee-pee of poo-poo in the toilet and to him to just flush the toilet is so big deal, so I used that as his reward, I’m not big on giving him sweets everyday yet. Thanks for your story, I really enjoyed reading it!

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