Toddler - Toilet training - problems Toddler - Toilet training - problems

Toilet Training Problems

Identify and Manage Problems

As parents, we all know that toilet training a small child is never a perfect process. One of the best ways to overcome setbacks is to be able to identify the problem, read about what to expect, and how to best manage the problem. 

Common toilet training problems:

  • Your child’s unwillingness to learn how to go to the toilet

  • Your child isn’t mentally and physically ready yet

  • Your child is toilet trained, but then regresses to old habits

  • Your child consistently has accidents

  • Your child resists following simple instructions like “sit on the potty” or “wash your hands”

  • Your child lacks the dexterity to pull their pants up and down

Avoid problems by making sure your child is ready

If you think you may be starting too early, or your child may not be ready for toilet training, check the signs of readiness again, and decide if it may be better to delay for a while.

1. Your child is beginning something new

As with anything, the first time anybody at an early age is introduced to something for the first time, they are going to have a few struggles. We are not all experts the first time we try something; you need to remember that your toddler is in a ‘beginner’ level of learning something new, and it’s even harder for them because their brain hasn’t fully developed. 

2. Don’t rush things

Remember that there is no prize for first place in toilet training, so there’s no need to hurry things along if your child says no or snubs their potty. You can lead the child to the toilet, but you cannot force the child to use it.

The best thing to do in this situation is to play the waiting game. Don’t stress about having to change nappies for a little while longer, just because you think it’s time, it isn’t going to get your child any more ready than they are.

3. Remind them

Even if it seems as though your child is all trained up and going to the bathroom with ease, some ways to avoid regression is to reinforce your teachings from time to time.

Remember to remind them:

  • how to wipe

  • to flush

  • to wash their hands

  • to pull their pants up and down when they need to go

  • when they should go to the toilet, like before bed and when they wake up

4. Stay positive

If your child consistently has accidents, and it seems like they will never learn, don’t be discouraged.

Some children don’t learn complete bladder control until about 5 years old. Just know that it’s not the end of the world and the more time you commit to teaching them good habits, the quicker they will understand the basics of going to the toilet.

If your child doesn’t seem to respond to simple instructions, whether they are related to going to the toilet or not, then you will no doubt run into problems. Make sure you check the signs of readiness.

5. Problems with pulling their pants up and down

Having the dexterity to be able to pull their pants up and down is a big deal for many toddlers. For example, ideally you want your toddler to:

1. recognise the urge to go

2. make it to the toilet or potty

3. pull their pants down

4. do their business

After they are done you want them to:

  1. wipe

  2. pull their pants up

  3. flush

  4. wash their hands

That’s a lot for a little person to grasp. Pulling their pants up and down is an important step in this process, and they need to clearly understand when to do it. Help them and remind them as much as possible.

A bit about regression

In some cases, parents have taken their child through their toilet training journey and reached the supposed finish line. Your child is toilet trained! You celebrate all the hard work you’ve done and then all of a sudden your toddler starts to have accidents.

Regression can be highly frustrating for parents and requires that you go back to basics. Clear expectations, clear responses with positive reinforcement, i.e. communicating clearly which expectations are being met and which are not, and rewarding accordingly.

If you’re having trouble toilet training your child, read about some cool Toilet Training Tools that will have your child eager to learn!


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