Common Problems

Information and advice about the most common potty training problems

6 Ways to Beat Potty Training Resistance

Despite showing every possible sign of readiness, some toddlers just resist potty training completely. These stubborn children are difficult to train and can test the patience of nearly any parent.

If your child is one of these toddlers, and you’ve exhausted all the tools in your potty training toolbox, consider these expert tips for beating potty training resistance and getting even the most resistant of children to use the potty with enthusiasm:

Signs to Take Your Potty-Training Child to the Doctor

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, most children use the toilet during the day consistently by the time they are three years old. But every child is different, and your child may not be like “most children.” In fact, you may find yourself wondering if your child is on track or if you’re doing something wrong. If your child is having potty-training problems, you may want to put your mind at ease by calling your pediatrician, especially if your child hasn’t mastered daytime potty training by the time they’re four years old.

Potty Accident: Rushed Potty Training and the Swimming Pool

It was late one summer evening, and my wife finally caved. My daughter had asked her time and time again — as three-year-olds are known to do — to go swimming in our community pool. My wife finally agreed, and the two of them walked over to the pool.

Part of the reason my wife was hesitant to go to the pool was the lack of a swim diaper. While my daughter was mostly potty trained at this point, we still had her wear a swim diaper to the pool in case there was an accident. My daughter did well using the bathroom at home but sometimes had accidents if she got too involved in a fun activity.

My wife and I talked it over and decided our daughter could head to the pool without a swim diaper. We would risk it and hope she could go without an issue. We were wrong.

wetting the bed at night

Wetting the Bed at Night

Many children continue wetting the bed at night for years after finishing toilet training. Although this can be upsetting, it is not usually a sign of a serious problem and is considered normal up to at least age five. Even at age seven, 5 to 10% of children in the United States still wet the bed. Without any treatment at all, 15% of these children will stop wetting each year, although a small number may continue to do so as adults.

The Never Ending Need for Patience

It was Thanksgiving day, and my family was making the nearly two-hour drive to my father-in-law’s house. He lives in a rural part of Virginia, so while the trip there is filled with beautiful scenery, it lacks things like gas stations, rest stops, and fast food restaurants.
We’ve made the trip so many times, though, we know where to stop. There is a large gas station about halfway through the trip that makes for a good break for everyone, a place to fill up on gas, grab a drink, and yes, go to the bathroom.
On this particular trip, we made our usual stop. My 4-year-old daughter — the main reason for our stop — said she didn’t need to go to the bathroom. We took her at her word and carried on down the road. Ten minutes later, of course, she said she now had to go.

The Unexplained Potty Accident: How Potty Training Never Stops

My wife thought someone spilled a drink. I thought someone had a bathroom accident. I never realized that someone would be my daughter who had been potty trained for nearly two years at this point, but I was wrong.
In the rush of the day and the excitement of the train set, my daughter had an accident, and a bad one at that.

when a child won't poop in the potty

Stool Withholding: Why Children Do It

During toilet training, many parents eagerly wait for the first poop to land in the potty. Some even share the achievement by posting pictures on social media (really). But what if a child won’t cooperate?

A young child who does not pee or poop in a potty is not yet toilet trained. If they were trained, they might be having a setback, which is not uncommon. When a child will pee in the potty but not poop there, something else is going on.

Children who refuse to poop in a toilet may have accidents and poop elsewhere, or even withhold stool altogether and not move their bowels for long periods of time.

How to Handle a Potty Training Accident

One of the main questions that parents have when beginning the process of potty training is concerning how to handle accidents. It is good that those questions come up because those who haven’t yet considered what they’ll do when an accident occurs are often caught off guard and unprepared. That predicament can lead to anger, and that is the worst way to respond. Some common questions that parents should consider before even starting potty training include: