I'm a nanny for a family that has two children, one boy age 4 and one girl age 2. The 4 year old goes to school and I have one on one time with the 2 year old. The parents wanted me to start potty training her. She turned 2 a month earlier, and I thought it was too early but they insisted so I started the process.

I tried a couple different ways then found a method that worked really really well. I would set an alarm to go off every 45 minutes, and when it did she would sit on the potty for around 10 minutes or until she went. After a week of doing this she was asking to go on her own whenever she needed to. I expanded the alarm to go off every 2 hours, and soon realized that she didn't really need the alarm any more because she was automatically going when she needed to. She still went at night when sleeping, but during the day she was perfectly fine. This went on for probably 2 months. She was completely dry all day everyday.

Then, all of a sudden, after I came back from having a 3 day weekend, she was refusing, and not wanting to go potty. She would scream "no!!" "I don't want to!!" I asked the parents about it and they said she started refusing some that weekend as well. I started doing the alarm system that previously worked well and she throws a fit and cries. I put her on the potty anyways and sometimes she will go pee. She will not ask to go anymore; it's like I'm starting at square one and not making and progress.

This has been going on for a month. The parents are not helpful and say "keep on it, she'll get it again!" Any ideas on what to do?

  • Hi and welcome. You did a great job; sorry it's hit a roadblock. :( Have you considered any reward system for a successful potty visit (a small treat she's fond of; you know best!)? I found that taking a break when things were going badly and using the right rewards were invaluable in potty training mine, the "right reward" depending on the child. :) Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 18:17

1 Answer 1


How frustrating! I have 4 children and potty training was a challenge for all of them.

I think you need to put away the potty chair, bring back the diapers and say nothing about potties for at least two months. Otherwise, you could be battling this issue for a real long time. She has got her back up about this, and the whole thing is going to become a power play if you insist that she goes.

From the sequence of events, it sounds as if she felt "betrayed" by your time off, and took issue with the potty as a form of protest. By now, of course, the protest has taken on a life of its own. She is 2, after all.

I started training my first child when she was 2. It looked good at first, but then we ran into trouble. I kept insisting, thinking that somehow, she "had to be trained" at that age. A wiser friend, and mother of 10, gave me the advice I am giving you. Pack it in, wait and try again later. My daughter trained in a day on her 3rd birthday.

  • Agreed. After a break, my first fully trained in a week (he had regressed with the birth of his brother.) Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:03

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