We smell ya, Mama: your kiddo isn’t potty trained and that STINKS.  You’re up to your ears in diapers and beginning to think you’ll be wiping butts for eternity. Maybe your toddler has decided that peeing in the potty is cool, but they’re still clinging to those diapers when it’s time to poop. What’s up with that?!?!  Nothing is more frustrating than changing dirty diapers, especially when the culprit is perfectly capable of dropping that load in the toilet. Ugh.

But to solve this dilemma, you’ve got to dig to the root of the problem, because if you don’t know what’s causing the battle, it’s impossible to find a solution. 

Here are five of the most common reasons that toddlers refuse to potty train and some symptoms to help diagnose your little stinker:

1. They’re taking control of the situation. 

If you’ve ever tried to interrupt a toddler at his train table, then you’ve experienced a tot-sized power struggle (there ain’t nothing tiny about it). The closer kids get to 36 months, the more they will seek to control their environment. Developmentally speaking, three can be a heck of a lot worse than those terrible two’s. If you know your toddler has the motor skills to control their bowels, the mental capacity to recognize what it feels like when they need to go, and the language skills to let you know it’s time, then you might be dueling with Sir Smarty Pants.

Caught in a tot-sized power struggle? Click HERE for some potty training tips. 

2. They’re scared of the potty.

Imagine being two-and-a-half feet tall and staring through a cold white “seat” into a pool of water with a hole at the bottom that leads to who knows where. And what about that loud swishing sound it makes as the water sucks anything in it’s reach into a deep, dark, dungeon? Or the possibility of getting sucked in yourself? Give the kid a break–that’s some scary crap.

No matter how many times they watch you take care of business, it’s perfectly normal for toddlers to think there’s a scary monster hiding under the toilet seat. If your kiddo starts climbing you like a tree when go to sit her on the potty, then you’re probably dealing with a scaredy cat. 

Looking for some tips on potty training a scared toddler? Click HERE.

3. They’re too busy to poop.

Your kiddo has got crap to do, Mom. There are dolls to dress, villains to battle, cars to race, and pots to drag out of the cabinets–who has time for the potty? Having better things to do is the most common reason your little stinker won’t poop. 

It’s easy to fear the worst when you’re facing poop problems, but most likely, you’re battling a busy body and it’s only a matter of time until you redirect their attention to the potty. 

Is your toddler too busy for the potty? Click HERE for potty training tips. 

4. Things are “stuck.”

We all know what it feels like when our pipes are clogged–yikes. Constipation is  common in potty training toddlers for several reasons: they’re either afraid or too busy to potty, so they hold it; they’re picky eaters and don’t get enough fiber; or they might have felt discomfort from prior bouts with constipation, so they are afraid to go again. When things are “stuck,” things definitely get tricky so you have to be super proactive with their fluid intake and diet. Also, it’s worth hanging on to those diapers for a bit if it helps get things moving. Don’t worry, the more comfortable they get with the potty, the less this will happen.

5. They’re not quite ready to potty train. 

Sometimes kids resist potty training because they’re stubborn, scared, or preoccupied. But sometimes, they’re just not developmentally ready to potty train. Toddlers need a particular set of physical, mental, and social skills to use the toilet successfully. For example, when a child can’t recognize the physical sensation to pee or poop and make the connection that the physical sensation is an indicator to use the potty, they’re not ready to train. Also, if I child can’t communicate their needs or wants through verbal language or signs, they’re going to have a hard time making it to the potty. When we decide to potty train before our children are ready, we have no one but ourselves to blame for our misery.

Wondering if your toddler is ready to potty? Click HERE to learn more. 

So, there you have it: the five most common reasons your toddler won’t potty train. The only thing you have left to do is to diagnose which of these issues you’re battling. Check out our handy infographic for a list of symptoms for each of these potty problems. Once you understand what you’re up against, you’ll be ready to face the problem head on with solutions that ROCK!