We have 3 1/2 year old twin boys. One is potty trained completely except for overnight. The other is much more resistant and taking much longer to potty train during the day. The main scenario I need help with right now is that we are having a hard time getting them to potty before bed. Basically they resist going to bed as most kids do and they don't particularly like doing anything we want them to do either right now, including going to potty when we say. It is the beginning of our bedtime routine and what we do before we go back to their bedroom to change clothes and read stories, etc. Once they get in their bedroom it's pretty much okay but getting them pottied and back there is impossible now! When they know it's time for bed they just start doing silly stuff to procrastinate and they love the fact that we obviously don't have any control over the situation and know how to get them to do what we want. Any ideas?

2 Answers 2


Things that can help:

  • Always take them to the potty at the same part of the routine. For us it's Potty->Brush Teeth->Read->Bed
  • Don't get angry or raise your voice, calmly take them in and have them sit on the potty. Don't worry about them going, just get them in the habit of doing it.
  • Praise them when they go, and give them a sticker. My son announces that he needs a sticker before he even sits down.
  • Don't break the routine for anything, once you have it established you want them to think that routine is part of life.
  • Thank you Xenopax!! This is very very helpful. Especially your last sentence. We are doing better with it and this is how we're doing it but good to remember to think of it as "this routine is part of life."
    – user21907
    Apr 23, 2016 at 22:33

Your biggest problem is your statement "We don't have any control." You are the parents. You have to take the control. Parenting is a test of wills, and you have to win.

The first time, you tell them nicely to go to the bathroom and get ready for bed. You can add a fun element by making it a game "Whose going to go potty first?"

Next time, tell them firmly, reminding them of consequences. Make sure your tone of voice is stern and grave. "

If they don't comply, you physically move them to the bathroom and wait for them to go. It is crucial for you to enforce what you said. They have to know that disobedience will always result in consequences they don't like. I would suggest that they get no story.

You can never give in. If they whine or cry and you give in, you teach them that whining and crying gets them what they want. Be consistent and you'll see positive results. The first few battles will be the hardest, and will leave you wore out and frustrated. It gets much easier.

  • I have said "whose going to go potty first?" trying to make it a game and they both ignore me and go about rolling around on the couch or playing with anything they can find. What do you do then?
    – user21907
    Apr 20, 2016 at 1:20
  • I have physically moved them to the bathroom and even onto the potty and they weasel their ways out of my arms like jelly and run out of the room. They are now pretty heavy and pretty tall. I am relatively consistent but not sure what to do in this case. When I try something like that over and over again and it doesn't work I don't know what to do next except just get them to their room for bed. But then they're not learning to go potty every night before bed. Thanks
    – user21907
    Apr 20, 2016 at 1:29
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    I only have one child that age, but generally I just get him to the general area where he needs to go and then sit in the doorway and just keep repeating what he needs to do. In the bathroom, for example, he can't get out, there isn't anything else interesting and fun to do, and he'll eventually get tired of arguing, crying, and attempting to push me out of the way and just go potty. It isn't easy, and it's extremely boring, but there's not much else to do.
    – Acire
    Apr 20, 2016 at 1:57
  • I like what Erica said, but the kids have to see you as an irresistible force. It's a test of wills. After catching the little guy before he escapes, tell him again. If he refused, take down his pants, sit him on the potty, and keep him there until he's done. Then change his clothes, put him to bed. No story. Divide and conquer. To the other, I'd say "Well, see what happened with your brother. Are you going to listen and get a story?" If he complies, take him in another room and read the story. Best If you have someone to help with one while you deal wth the other. Apr 20, 2016 at 14:07
  • Thanks Erica and Andrew. The reason I hesitate to push it physically, Andrew, (in terms of holding him on the potty, etc.) is because everything I've read says they shouldn't feel too much pressure to potty - it can make it worse and maybe cause potty problems in future. I have done it some like that anyways but, especially if they're crying, it doesn't feel right and like I'm helping to make it more intense than it should be and therefore giving it too much negative attention too. Thanks though both of you.
    – user21907
    Apr 21, 2016 at 16:07

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