How to Potty Train and Deal with Common Potty Training Problems

By some estimates, the average child will go through over 3,000 diapers in the first year of their life. It’s no wonder then that parents are so excited to potty train when the time is right. But that excitement can quickly turn to fear, frustration and disappointment when potty training doesn’t go as planned.

potty training child

Winnie’s got your back. Potty training is a popular topic with parents of toddlers and preschoolers on Winnie and for good reason.There are all kinds of snags you may run into during the potty training process but most of them are easily solvable when you know the right tactic. Below are some of the most common obstacles parents of potty training kids face, and the best approaches to get you back on the right track in no time.

When and how do you get started?

So when you should really start potty training? Is there a magic age or do you look for signs of readiness in your child? Some parents start before their child turns 2, but if you want the potty training process to be fast, you might want to wait until you hit that second birthday as it’s most common to potty train after 2 years old. Of course, every child is different. If your child is showing readiness sooner, then go for it! Popular signs include your child telling you before or after they poop or pee, an interest in the potty and staying dry for longer periods of time. Read about all the signs to look for here.

Dealing with regressions

Potty training regressions can happen for many reasons from starting a new school to welcoming a new family member. Sometimes they happen for physical reasons like too much water at night. Don’t fret. Regressions are a normal part of the potty training process and though it may feel like you’re starting over, you’re really not.

One Winnie user shared

Our regressions either seem to be related to too much water before bed or some emotional concern on his part. Regressions seem to go away when I try to adjust for those concerns — CrystianandBen

It’s always easiest to remedy a regression if you can identify the source of the regression first. If it’s an emotional issue like the arrival of a new sibling, try specifically talking to your child about how important they are to you and showing them extra special love and one on one time. Whatever you do, try not to get frustrated or make your child feel bad (easier said than done!) because that can make the issue worse.

Nighttime potty training

Potty training at night is a different beast. Most of the time kids start off with daytime training but still wear a pull-up or diaper for naps and bedtime. This is because when a young child is in a deep sleep they mostly don’t have control over their bladders. It’s a physiological milestone and some children don’t produce the signal to tell them their bladder is full when sleeping until 4 or 5 years old. That said, there are steps you can take to help your child stay dry throughout the night like making sure they don’t drink liquids near bedtime and that they void their bladder more than once before bed.

Poop phobia

Some children have no problem pooping in the potty and others have poop phobia. If your child has a fear of pooping, fear not.

One Winnie user shared an awesome tip:

Most of the time toddlers poop standing up so it takes some practice to sit down and relax and let it out into potty. We did this in several steps. We had him poop in diaper sitting down for few days and then I read that if you cut a whole in a diaper and have him poop while sitting it drops into the potty and makes that connection that it’s ok. Nothing scary. Few times of this and he was trained. — Alla

As you can see from this tip, the key is to take the pressure off and let your child poop at their own pace, so to speak. By getting frustrated or mad, you are adding to their anxiety around pooping. Breaking down the process into steps they can master can help. Eventually they will get the hang of it if you work with them and make them more comfortable with pooping gradually.

Posted in Parenting ∙ Updated April 2019