Toddler sitting on a training toilet/potty with unraveled toilet paper.

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.

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.

About The Author

Rose Hudecki As a mother of two kids under the age of two, Rose Hudecki is focused on creating a healthy environment for her adorable little boys, Daniel and Michael. Rose knows first-hand that a good night's sleep is essential to helping her boys thrive as they pursue one growth milestone after the next. She’s also learned that having young children can dramatically disrupt the household’s sleep patterns. As a result, Rose and her husband are finding creative ways to get the quality sleep they need, adjusting their schedules to succeed in their careers and as parents. This is something Rose practices and preaches daily in her role as a key account manager with Protect-A-Bed. Rose works closely with Mattress Firm’s team to educate store associates on the importance of establishing a healthy sleep environment, so they can share this important message with their customers. Rose’s passion for quality sleep has led to her role as a spokesperson for Protect-A-Bed, where she touts the numerous benefits of mattress protection. Rose hopes her advice will give parents the peace of mind that their children will be safeguarded from dust mites and allergens lurking in their mattresses and pillows. Furthermore, she assures parents that a child’s night-time accident won’t ruin a mattress – and it doesn’t have to completely disrupt the night, either. Rose lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Drew, who is a firefighter and her two boys. The key to Rose’s best night sleep? Spending time with her close-knit family, including her parents, two sisters and nieces. Besides, family time is most enjoyable when everyone is well-rested!

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