Potty training problems and solutions

Everyone's potty training experience is different and Huggies Pull-Ups are here to help make yours as easy and as fun as can be. While there are some challenges that can occur, being prepared and in-the-know will help you navigate through the journey to toilet success.

Seven most common problems when potty training

Potty training may not always be smooth sailing, but there’s also always a way around potty problems. We’ve uncovered some of the most common potty training problems and some simple solutions to help you tackle them.

1. My toddler refuses to potty train

One of the most common potty training problems is potty training regression. A lot of the time, children will be very excited about the idea of becoming a Big Kid and achieving something as big as going on the potty. However, it’s common for kids to get frustrated when they have accidents, making it easy for them to feel like they’re never going to master potty training.

It’s important that your child knows that there are no negative consequences if they have an accident, and it’s nothing to be sad about. Perseverance is key, and having a support system in place (for both of you), is the best way for your child to regain the confidence to start potty training again.

2. My child still isn’t showing signs of readiness

Although there isn’t a correct time for a child to show signs of being ready, the average potty training age is 18 months – 3 years old, though every child is different.

If you’re worried that your child is getting older and still isn’t dry, it’s worth sitting down and talking to them about the importance of becoming a Big Kid and using the toilet. Ultimately, once they start interacting with other children, they will want to be dry for their own sake just as much as you do. Their apprehension may not be out of laziness or rebellion, they could lack the confidence to go on the potty. Sit down with your child and talk about their feelings towards the potty.

Your child may even be ready to start trying but the signs that they are aren’t always immediately obvious. Read our article on signs that your child is ready to potty train to discover what ready means to you.

3. My child won’t tell me when they need the toilet

A common problem many parents experience is their toddler not communicating when they need to go. This is understandable when a little one is potty training for the first time; it is new to them.

Communication is key. Keeping a consistent conversation going to let a grown-up know when they need to go, and reminding them regularly to do so, is advised.

4. My child has more accidents when we’re away from home

A familiar location is great for maintaining a routine, however, continuing a potty training routine outside of the family home can be a daunting task for a little one. They’ve just got used to their own routine at home, so being somewhere unfamiliar can often throw off their dry streak. Making somewhere a more familiar environment is recommended whilst you’re away, especially if your child has more toilet anxiety whilst away.

Learn more tips and advice on how you can continue with potty training whilst away. Huggies® Pull-Ups® is a convenient solution to potty training whilst away, with the feel of real underwear and secure protection in case any accidents occur.

5. My child is afraid of the potty

Children developing a mild fear of using the toilet is extremely common – after all, it is the unknown. Try to identify what it is about using the toilet that makes them scared, a lot of the time, there is a solution.

If it is a comfort issue, getting a step for their feet to rest on is another great way to help your child feel more comfortable and safe on the toilet.

In some cases, children experience ‘poo phobia’. This is when the poo goes straight into the potty instead of resting in their nappy. Due to the weight they feel in their nappy becoming a familiar feeling for them, suddenly when poo goes straight into the potty, the feeling of the weight leaving can feel unfamiliar, disconcerting or even scary. Read more solutions here.

6. My child will go on the potty occasionally but still has accidents

Although your child might go on the potty successfully, this may not mean they are potty trained fully. Typically, potty training is a process that takes three months, meaning how often they go on the potty can vary. The most important thing to do is to be patient and persevere.

Being inconsistent with how often they go on the potty may also be a sign that they’re not ready to take the potty training plunge just yet, especially if they’re younger. Keep trying and encouraging potty time but don’t be discouraged if sometimes they have potty training accidents.

7. My child is finding it hard to potty train after a big life event

Experts would advise not to begin potty training during life-changing events and other significant changes at home. During these times, a toddler͛s emotional energy will be spent focusing on the new changes in their lives. Expecting them to master a major life skill such as toilet training might be too difficult for them to achieve, and can put extra pressure on them – and you, so it͛s usually best to wait for things to settle down first before you embark.

Examples of life events could include:

  • A new sibling arriving
  • Moving house or bedroom/bed
  • Starting a new childcare provider
  • A new pet
  • A death or illness within the family
  • Transitioning off a bottle or dummy
  • An event such as Christmas

Remember potty training can take time and, while there isn't just one way to train, finding the best ways that work for you personally makes the journey as easy and as fun as can be. It will take patience and perseverance, but seeing your child become an independent Big Kid is one of the most rewarding feelings.