When Toilet Training Does Not Go To Plan – You Are Not Alone

Toilet training is a really big deal emotionally too - parents can struggle to deal with the fact that their babies are suddenly no longer babies

It’s one of those milestones that feels incredibly... big. The idea of your little angel pottering around wearing a pair of big kid pants is a little bit surreal and daunting. You are shuddering at the thought of all of those accidents and dreading the cabin fever. Toilet/Potty training is a really big deal emotionally too. Parents can struggle to deal with the fact that their babies are suddenly no longer babies.
When it comes to deciding upon when to start this journey, a number of factors play a part. For some, it is a case of taking time off work to “get it done”. There may be certain times of the year where a block of time off is more welcomed than others. For others, it may be because there is another baby on the way and the goal is to have just one child in nappies by the time they arrived. Or perhaps, like me, the childcare facility or preschool your child is due to attend have a strict no nappies policy. This is the norm for a lot of establishments.
You will hear a lot of parents talking about their positive experiences with toilet training. Many will gush about their children ripping their nappy off and demanding to use the toilet while others will say that in just two days their little darling was totally trained. These things really do happen but perhaps consider that those who struggle with the experience are less likely to shout it from the rooftops. 
Are you consumed with stress over something that should have been ticked off the list months ago? Are you struggling with the unexpected difficulties and obstacles that toilet training has brought? Here are some really common issues that plenty of parents experience. If you are considering starting the process with your child these may reassure you further down the line and if you are experiencing them now please know that you are not alone and this is not forever. 
  • Using the toilet at home without any issue but refusing to use them in any other place. This is so common and can cause real distress to parents but it is extremely common. It may take some time but before you know it your child will be begging to use the toilets of every building you walk past.
  • “Holding it in”. So many parents report this incredibly stressful reality. Some children are fearful of doing a number two anywhere but a nappy. In fact, many parents admit to actually putting a nappy on their child for minutes for the sole purpose of them doing the deed. Holding it in can make our children feel poorly and is usually connected to a psychological fear. For example, some children are scared of the possible “splash of water” that occurs when they physically go in the toilet while others find the noise of the flush scary. Time and understanding will help but if the problem persists we recommend speaking to your GP.
  • Your child has regular accidents weeks into training. This is a lot more common than you might think. Some parents report at least one accident a week even months later. This is a skill for life and often the slightest worry, change or delay can cause an accident. It is difficult to remain calm and not lose your mind but deep down we know that this won’t help. Talking about it and explaining things is a lot more powerful.
  • You wonder if your child will ever be out of pull ups at night time. Many children urinate in their sleep because they are feeling very relaxed and “safe” in the knowledge that their nappy is in place. Night training takes some bravery on the part of the parents as accidents are almost inevitable during those first few nights. We recommend ensuring your child urinates before they go to sleep and limiting fluids at least one hour before their bedtime.
  • Your child regresses back to nappies. Anything that causes stress to your child may encourage them to return to a previous level of development. An illness in the child or a relative, a new baby in the house, a change from cot to bed or a move to a new house are some common stressors. Take a deep breath and go back to basics. 
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at Family Friendly HQ.

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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