When Potty Training Becomes a Discipline Issue

Timeout chair We’ve been “potty training” for over a year and yet it feels like we are at day 1. We’ve tried all the methods, tricks and rewards and we’ve even had complete success only to have the reset button hit when we moved. We are far beyond learning and discovery, we have hit a discipline issue.

Jude knows HOW to use the potty, all by himself too!

He knows when he has to go potty. He understands the signals his body gives him.

He knows that if he does a good job he will be rewarded.

But none of that matters because we have hit a defiant wall. He chooses to continue to pee and poop in his pants and then lie to us about it. So we’ve started to punish him for these actions. Every time he hides away to pee or poop in his pants he gets a timeout.

I know the “experts” say you should make potty training a positive experience but at what point does it move from a potty training issue to a discipline issue?

I know I’ve expressed my frustration with our potty training journey MANY times and you’re probably wondering if this kid will ever learn to use the toilet. Trust me, I want it to happen more than anyone. I really don’t want to have 3 kids in diapers!

Jessica is a family lifestyle blogger living in Raleigh, NC with her husband and four sons (7, 4, 3 and 1). Jessica started thebkeepsushonest.com in November of 2009, but has been blogging since 2003. Jessica writes about family life, recipes, travel and products for families. She is also a Work-from-home-mom who manages marketing and social media for a local accounting company.

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3 thoughts on “When Potty Training Becomes a Discipline Issue

  1. Amy Bailey

    This is heartbreaking and I feel so sorry for this little guy as clearly the frustration is coming from the parents and has nothing to do with him.. The anger is about the parents in this case… which is creating a huge barrier. Many children go through this… and its just a way of learning and testing the boundaries. To punish a child or to even use time out at all is only teaching this poor little guy abandonment. Its only showing him that instead of working together and trying to solve the problem we’ll put you alone in a corner to feel hurt and rejected. Please I bag of you to research this… This is only causing harm and doing NO good. http://rootparenting.org/child-timeouts-can-be-harmful/ 🙁

  2. Carrie Phelps

    I can fully understand your frustration. We have been potty training my grandson for a full year and a half now! He’s unable to attend pre-school this Fall unless he’s potty trained and there are times he just doesn’t get it. Unless we stay on top of sending him to the bathroom he just makes the choice to go in his underpants.
    On the other hand I provide childcare for a two year old girl that took me one week to fully potty train, easiest child ever. Then her Mom took her on vacation for five days & she kept her in diapers. Not only am I back to the beginning but I now have to tell her to go or she will soil her underpants as well. Her Mom is frustrated and I just bite my tongue with saying “this is YOUR fault”!!
    I hope this works for you soon as I hope it works for my grandson soon as well. Good luck!!

  3. Heidi Daily

    You are not alone here! My daughter is the same exact way! It really is so frustrating! I am pregnant and have just been assuming that is why she is rebelling, as her little brother will be here in less than 2 weeks now. I figured we would have a bit of a set back when the baby comes, but her set back started a month or a little more ago. She used to go every single time she had a bowel movement for over a month and could make it most times when she would pee. Now, the only time she goes is occasionally when I take her, sometimes she waits until right after we walk out of the bathroom and goes. Being so close to the birth a week ago I honestly just completely have given up and figure either one day she will just wake up and decide it’s time to start going, or after we get settled in with the baby I will start over.


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