How to Deal With Potty Training Setbacks

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Stay in nearby range of a toilet when potty training to avoid unneccesary accidents.

The University of Michigan Health System claims that the average age girls are potty trained is 29 months, while the average age of boys is 31 months. However, it is also noted that most toddlers, 98 percent of them, are potty trained by the time they are three years old. During potty training, there will be setbacks and accidents. This is almost a guarantee. Dealing with the setbacks correctly will help your child get back on track and successfully continue their potty training. You should never embarrass or scold your child for potty accidents.

Things You'll Need

  • Potty chair or toilet
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    • 1

      Encourage your child to use the potty chair when he has to go to the bathroom. He needs to be emotionally and physically ready to do this. According to the Mayo Clinic, pushing a child who is not ready to potty train may only make the training take longer. A child learns to tell when his bladder is full and can learn to tell you. Another sign is if the child can stay dry for several hours at a time.

    • 2

      Talk to your child about potty training expectations, but expect accidents. When they happen, do not make a big deal of them. Quietly take your child to the bathroom so she's not embarrassed in front of others and help her clean up and change her clothes. Talk to her and let her know she just had an accident and it is no big deal. Remind her to always try to go potty in the potty chair and then go back to your activities.

    • 3

      Show a positive attitude and remind your child she is a big girl and how proud you are of her using the toilet or potty chair. Encourage her to be independent and show your support and be consistent in your efforts.

    • 4

      Stop potty training for a few weeks or months if your child fully resists the process or never has toilet successes. You don't want potty training to be about failures and power struggles.

    • 5

      Try potty training again when your child shows interest in it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep a clean pair of clothes in the bathroom that your child regularly uses. This makes it easy for them to change if they have an accident.

  • Don't get frustrated at your child when he has accidents. He is likely embarrassed about it and needs your support and encouragement.

  • Nighttime training typically occurs after daytime training is successful. Be prepared for nighttime accidents until your child is about five years old. Ninety percent of children master nighttime bladder control by the time they are 6.

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  • Photo Credit Toilet bowl and bidet in a toilet image by terex from

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