Toilet Training Isn’t Working

In this episode: Janet responds to a mother whose son seems to grasp the concept of using the toilet, but he isn’t cooperating. She’s trying to be patient and understanding but also worried his resistance is becoming entrenched, so she’s looking to Janet for some potty pointers.


Please share your comments and questions. I read them all and respond to as many as time will allow.

  1. Mary Carter says:


    Thank you for all you do! I agree with all your techniques and am so happy I found you! These techniques do not come naturally for me. For me it is very hard to react the correct way in the heat of the moment! I was wondering if you have some sort of “cheat” sheet or refrigerator sheet that I could almost study until the words flow more naturally for me! I know this sounds crazy but I plan on re-reading all your books and taking notes and trying to study almost like flash cards! I think this would also help my husband – who is on board and copying the things I say to our daughter. I am a dietitian and I have a healthy food list on our fridge and I thought why not a “Janet cheat sheet”! I would obviously want and think parents would want to pay for something like this just as if it were a book. Thanks for even considering – many blessing to you and your family!

  2. Brynda waters says:

    Janet there was a blog about a potty training a sensor or sensor underpants that was used to wake a child up before he wets.

    I have a 4 year old that sleeps and will not wake up to after he has wet the bed. Please help.

  3. Hi Janet,
    I just started listening to your podcasts. I am really enjoying them and thought I’d send a message for some advice.
    My almost 4 year old is 3 weeks into potty training and just recently the last 4 days keeps having constant accidents poop and pee. We have to chase him down to clean him or get him on the potty. Once he gets on the potty he finishes his business says he’s all done and the 20 mins later has another poop accident. This is getting frustrating for my husband and I. We explain the “yuckies” in his underwear, he hates seeing them and and then asks us if we are mad. We say we are frustrated. He then says he’s sorry. We try to keep our cool but sometime it’s very difficult and he can tell in our expression that we are mad or frustrated. We also have an 11 month old active girl to chase around. I try to explain that his sister is a baby and she needs her diapers. He does say he doesn’t want diapers anymore. We do put him in pull ups for nap and bedtime to avoid accidents. He was waking up dry for a few weeks and now wakes up fully soaked.
    Any advice will be appreciated.
    Thanks, Jen

    1. I feel sorry for your son, unfortunately him seeing that your frustration and anger is really not helping the situation at all, you and your husband need to be patient. For him to feel like he has to say he is sorry then he feels he has done wrong when he has not done anything wrong he will learn when he is ready and mum and dad need to stay cool calm and collective!

  4. Hi Janet. I have been reading and listening to your materials on potty learning as we are struggling with our three and a half year old, M. Her twin sister learned in the way you suggest before she was two – really just did it herself – but nursery insisted that we train M when she was about two and a half, saying that she understood and if we waited too long we might miss it. I wasn’t convinced but she was moving up to another class and was not “allowed” nappies there. It was a bit of a disaster and has been so for over a year. Nursery insisted that we did not go back to nappies. I am deeply regretful as we have ended up with all the problems that you’ve mentioned in your materials: she sits down and holds on, she refuses to go, she lies, she will wee or poo in her knickers when the potty is right next to her. She also suffers from constipation and has been having medical help for this – she actually did so before potty training started but it has worsened I’m sure as she holds on. We tried star charts and rewards, choosing her own knickers in the shop and lots of praise for using the loo which I also regret. After these initiatives she often goes well for a week or two then goes back again. We’re never angry but as you say, she likely senses our frustration/disappointment. We recently talked about ideas that might help her have fewer dirty knickers and I suggested nappies and she said no – so we can’t completely back off (and nursery wouldn’t allow it). She chose “magic” as the best idea. We could back off and just deal with the dirty knickers until she is ready? Would I tell her that’s what we’re doing? Can I still leave the potty nearby? And can we still ask, like the whole family, that she goes to the loo before car journeys? Both still wear nappies at night. I’m nervous as part of the Dr’s advice is that she has a long sit on the potty after breakfast. I so hope we haven’t caused long term issues. Many thanks in advance.

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