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What are Some Potty Training Problems?

Jessica Hobby
Jessica Hobby

After months of buying and changing diapers, many parents are eager to begin potty training their child. However, being an eager parent doesn’t always make potty training an easy task. There is a likely possibility of encountering one or more potty training problems that may be caused by emotional or physical reasons. Parents can rest assured that the most productive way to deal with common potty training problems is to become educated about them and their causes.

One of the most common potty training problems occurs when your child refuses to go near the potty. He or she may be confused or scared of the potty or toilet and any sounds that surround it, such as flushing or running water, or maybe they are just confused. It is possible that the child just may not be ready because they don’t understand the concept of going potty outside of their diaper, but many times it is caused because of unfamiliarity of the potty chair to the child. Potty training problems and resistance caused by unfamiliarity can be easily remedied by familiarizing your child with the potty chair prior to beginning training.

A toilet is a plumbing receptacle for human waste.
A toilet is a plumbing receptacle for human waste.

Once a child is walking or reaches one year old, it is time to place a potty chair in the bathroom. If they are allowed to walk in the bathroom and see it, play with it, crawl around it and sit on it while watching mommy and daddy go to the bathroom they will become very comfortable with the new addition to the bathroom. A toddler’s knack for imitation will give them a head start and keep them from running away from the potty chair screaming.

Somewhere between 18 and 24 months, a toddler will be cognitive enough to potty train.
Somewhere between 18 and 24 months, a toddler will be cognitive enough to potty train.

Another one of the common potty training problems that can be facilitated by emotions is regression in an already potty trained child. If a child has went a few weeks without any accidents at night or during the day, most parents can assume their diaper buying days are over, however, this is sometimes not the case. Stress in a child’s life can cause them to act out to receive attention. Many times this kind stress comes in the form of a new addition to the family, usually a new baby.

Accidents are a sure way to get mom and dad’s attention, but it doesn’t mean parents have to start all over with potty training. It is recommended to take extra care to give attention to your child outside of the bathroom and the potty training problems will most likely work themselves. In addition, offering continuous praise, or even rewards, for going potty in the potty chair or the toilet, will help reinforce not having accidents. It is important to remember to never shame a child that has an accident while they are learning to use the potty, even if it is believed that the “accident” has been done on purpose for attention. Shaming a child can create a power struggle and more stress that will only hinder any immediate chance of a diaper free life for a child.

A crucial component to potty training a child requires that the parents take time to listen to their child. If a child complains of burning while urinating, diarrhea or a tummyache, this can be a clue that their potty training problems stem from a physical issue. These things can be signs of something as simple as a bacterial or viral infection or constipation, but they may also signify other problems like lactose intolerance or any kind of food allergy. To avoid continued potty training problems, it is advised to visit the pediatrician when child resists the potty for any reasons involving an ache or pain.

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Discussion Comments


@medicchristy: It could be that your home is a more comfortable and less strict environment for him. If he is scolded at home for having accidents, he will become more apprehensive about using the potty.

Since he doesn't see you on a daily basis, he is probably much more comfortable because you are not his primary disciplinary figure.


My nephew is three years old and my sister is having problems with potty training. However, when he comes to my house, he will go to the potty every time for me. Why will he not do that at home?


It is believed that potty training can be started as early as 18-24 months, but every child is different in terms of physical and mental development. Your pediatrician can help you to understand the right time for potty training.

Still, we can assume that you can start potty training when you child is 18 months old or more. Forcing potty training is a big no, as it may annoy your baby and make him/her irritated, but you should induce potty training slowly into your baby’s life. You can figure out whether your baby likes wet nappies or not and this might help in generating interest in potty training.

You may let the baby lie around in wet nappies just to tempt the baby for potty training. Don’t start potty training in the winter season. Ideally, summer is the best time for potty training as your baby wears fewer clothes and training becomes fun.

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    • A toilet is a plumbing receptacle for human waste.
      By: Africa Studio
      A toilet is a plumbing receptacle for human waste.
    • Somewhere between 18 and 24 months, a toddler will be cognitive enough to potty train.
      By: jolopes
      Somewhere between 18 and 24 months, a toddler will be cognitive enough to potty train.