5 Biggest Potty Training Setbacks (and How We Got Through Them)

My youngest child is taking off his diaper by himself more and more lately. Some days it feels like he has it off more than he has it on. It’s a sign that he’s ready to go on the potty and we should begin potty training–however the second I put him on the potty, he freezes. He’s terrified on going on the toilet. And when I take him off, he will either have an accident on the floor or ask for his diaper to be put back on so that he can go in there.

The process of potty training is a lot. As I’ve learned with all three of my children, it’s different with each of them. My oldest started potty training rather quickly, but was stuck in a diaper at night for the longest time. My youngest daughter was fully potty trained within weeks of entering preschool. She saw others do it and wanted to do the same. She made it much easier than I’d ever imagined. And now, my youngest is making things a little bit more challenging.

As with any setback, I’ve learned that there are ways to approach our children to help them get over their fears. Here are a few potty training setbacks and how I’ve gotten through them with my children.

1. Refuses to go on the potty. I’m in the thick of this right now. My youngest sometimes just refuses to sit on the potty. What I’ve decided to do is let him pick out his own potty that he suits him. By including him in the process, it makes him not only feel comfortable with it, but also gets him excited to use the potty.


2. Only goes to the potty with one parent. I mentioned that my youngest daughter was fairly easy to potty train, however she still has issues with going to the potty with anyone other than me. It’s hard when I am busy with the other kids and she has to go and I can’t go with her. To ease her anxieties, I’ve tried giving her rewards and telling her that if she goes to the potty with the other person that I’ll make sure to go with her the next time. I’ll praise her when she gets back from the potty with the other person and let her know how proud I am of her.

3. Had one accident and is now scared to use the potty. Having an accident is a part of the potty training experience. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been out in public with my children and they’ve had accidents in their pants. Sometimes they don’t realize they have to go until it’s too late or they are too distracted and forget. Either way, make sure that you don’t draw attention to the issue. There is nothing wrong with it and don’t make them feel any worse than they already do. Just give them another pair of training pants and move on.

4. Tells you they have to go at the last minute. Until your child has been potty trained for at least three months and is regularly going to the potty on their own, it’s a good idea to always give them a gentle reminder to try and go sit on the potty. Even at four, I tell my daughter to use the bathroom before we leave the house because she doesn’t realize that she has to go until we are in the car.

5. Has no problem with wetting himself. Sometimes your child doesn’t tell you they have to go, they will just go in their pants, even if they have training underwear on. Rather than asking them if they have to use the potty, take them to the potty every once in a while.

As I mentioned, potty training is a process and each child will take a different route to potty training success. Don’t let these setbacks get you down. Just try to get through process and delight that your child is gaining more independence.

Image: Thinkstock

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