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Sleep Tips

How to Overcome 5 Common Potty Training Issues

Potty training can be quite the challenge for many families. While every child adjusts to this important life change at different speeds, there are several things you can do to avoid the common issues and pitfalls as you embark on this otherwise fun journey.

5 Common Potty Training Issues and How to Overcome Them

1. Your child won’t go in the potty. Children aren’t always ready for potty training when we want them to be. As a parent, you should look for physical, behavioral and cognitive signs of readiness. Some of these signs include:

  • Ability to stay dry for two hours or more
  • Ability to pull pants up and down independently
  • Ability to vocalize their needs, which includes having their own words for urine and stool

If your little one doesn’t exhibit these signs, you can lay a foundation by reading potty training books with him or taking him into the bathroom with you when you use the toilet. Getting your child comfortable with the idea of going to the bathroom is a good first step. However, if your child continues to show no interest, it may be beneficial to hold off for a while and try again in a month or two.

2.  Your child wets the bed. Potty training isn’t an exact science nor will you get it right every time. Even when your child has started using the toilet on her own, accidents happen. Use mattress protectors and pillow protectors to prevent your child’s nighttime accident from ruining his mattress. Consider using a Potty Protection Kit to minimize disruptions in the middle of the night. Layer a mattress protector and sheet over a second mattress protector and sheet. That way, when your child has an accident, you can simply peel off the top layer.

3.  Your child has accidents during the day. Accidents will occur. The key is to avoid getting angry or frustrated which could adversely affect the potty training progress. Some parents use a calendar to track and reward consecutive nights without wetting the bed. Another option is to keep the potty training toilet available at all times during the day and add night-lights in the bedroom to make the trip to the potty easier at night.

4.  Your child only goes potty at home. Many children get comfortable with their own toilet seat or potty environment and can be hesitant to go somewhere new. To help alleviate this issue, try acclimating your child to a different bathroom where she is still at ease – like a grandparent’s or a friend’s house.

5.  Your child won’t go “number two.” This is a common problem that pediatric expert, Dr. Alan Greene, refers to as the D3 Cycle: Discomfort, Dread and Delay. To overcome this obstacle, changing up your child’s diet can be a good start. You should also encourage your child to poop in the potty “just like mommy and daddy do.” These small steps will gradually help your child get comfortable with the idea of “number two.”


Remember that every child potty trains at a different pace. What works for one child won’t necessarily work for another. As a parent, your job is to create an environment that is supportive and nurturing as your little one begins this important process.


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