When to Give Up on Potty Training


Issues with potty training can plague a family, involving resistant behavior in children and frustration for parents. If you are experiencing potty training resistance, it may be necessary to give up on potty training temporarily to move past the negative behavior and reach a positive point again. With a firm yet loving approach, you can provide your child with the support he needs to succeed.

Numerous Accidents

  • Although the potty training process will inevitably involve some accidents along the way, you should see some progress and mastery from your child after a few weeks of effort. If your child continues to struggle and have accidents after this time, suspending the potty training process may be necessary, counsels the Mayo Clinic website. Numerous accidents can indicate that your child is not quite ready for potty training.

Crying and Resistance

  • A child may communicate his lack of readiness by crying and becoming upset when you talk about potty training or attempt to have her use the potty, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. This resistance signifies that your child feels conflicted or negative about potty training, which does not bode well for overall success. Instead of engaging in a negative power struggle with your child, put off the potty training for a few weeks or months until your child is feeling more positive about it.

Lack of Patience

  • An extremely active child may have difficulty sitting still long enough to use the toilet, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. In order to potty train effectively and successfully, your child should be able to sit on the potty in a positive manner for between 3 and 5 minutes to finish her business. The inability to do this may lead to a negative situation with you trying to encourage your child to sit on the potty longer than she wants to sit there. If this situation occurs, you might decide to put off toilet training until your child can sit successfully for a few more minutes.

Stool Retention

  • If a power struggle ensues between parents and a child regarding potty training, a child may respond by withholding or retaining stools, states Dr. Barton D. Schmitt. In this situation, the child may reluctantly sit on the toilet at a parent’s request, but the child will withhold the stool until he gets off the toilet. The child will then hide and pass the stool in underwear or a diaper. Stool retention may result in constipation. If your child shows signs of stool retention, have a physician evaluate your child for physical problems and to provide recommendations for resolving the issues.


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