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How to Deal with Potty Training Resistance

Whether it’s in your own home, at nursery, at the grandparent’s house or in public toilets, potty training resistance is an unfortunate reality for many of us. Here are our tips on how to deal with the situation and hopefully avoid it happening in the first place…

Finding the Why

As with all behaviour, there will be a reason why your child is acting out and showing resistance to the process in certain locations. It is usually a fear of the unknown or it may be associated with other events taking place in your lives, such as a big house move, a new sibling or your toddler starting nursery. Be mindful of the effect that these events may have and avoid pushing the potty training agenda too hard during such times.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re reading this as part of potty training prep, we suggest taking your child with you to different toilets as much as possible before the process begins. For example, when you’re out clothes shopping, head over to the shopping centre toilets.

Make it fun and light-hearted to actively show that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about. If the issue has already begun, take them with you when you need to use the loo and ask them casually if they would like to go too.

Start somewhere more comforting such as their cousin’s house and work your way up to more challenging locations such as nursery. Choose just a handful of locations to avoid overload and keep a sense of consistency to encourage that reassurance and assuage anxiety. Tell stories about your “trip to the toilet” and sing songs that you would usually sing at home in the bathroom.

A Stable Platform

Maintaining both stability and consistency around potty training is key. Always take the time to check that the seats on the toilets you are using are suitable and stable. Nothing can upset or frighten a child more than being on a cheap wobbly seat, especially if they already feel anxious. 

This is a key area we identified when developing the Talia Family Seat. We recommend this strong and stable seat to help toddlers who are a bit nervous, to feel supported and confident enough to use the toilet without any fear. Please see the link Talia Family Seat to learn more.

If your child does show anxiety and resistance when using the toilet at home, ask them gently what they feel worried about and do your best to tweak the situation. If they are afraid of the sound of the flush, for example, mummy or daddy can take over this part of the process until they are feeling more confident.

Normalising the Situation

With resistance to using the toilet at day care or nursery a very common issue, we advise taking your child to the toilet a few times before they begin going with the members of staff. This will help to make it less scary and more familiar.

Always use a calm voice and mannerisms to set the tone and put your child at ease. Include a toilet trip in the regular routine when you go to a friend’s house, nursery or elsewhere in order to increase that sense of familiarity. This will encourage your toddler to normalise the situation and reduce any anxiety and resistance in an effective way.


The Family Seat is built with an ergonomic, solid construction resulting in a strong, stable seat to give your child confidence during the potty-training process. For advice on any aspect of potty training and for any help purchasing a Family Seat, email our team at .

Family Seat supports the children’s communication charity I CAN, who are experts in helping children to develop the language, speech and communication skills that they need to thrive in our 21st-century world.  We donate 50p to I CAN on each and every seat purchased through the official Family Seat website.

For more useful potty training tips and advice, stay in touch with Family Seat on Twitter.

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