Toilet Training Problems

By the time your child has started toilet training, you are probably more than ready to say goodbye to diapers forever. But certain times will still demand the use of diapers.

You should probably return your child to diapers whenever:

  • You'll be in the car for more than an hour or so and would prefer to stop as little as possible;
  • You're attending a special occasion (a wedding, a funeral, a concert), where you would really resent having to leave to attend to an accident;
  • Your two-year-old or three-year-old goes to bed for the night—or for a nap if she still urinates during naptime; or
  • Your child has quite a number of accidents in quick succession.

This last item gets a little tricky. Toilet training does not always work the first time. If your child doesn't seem to be getting it, if misses far outnumber hits, if accidents happen, but they happen all over the place, then you may need to put a halt to the experiment for a while. There's no law that says you need to toilet train your child by a certain date or to succeed the first time. So put it off for a few weeks—or even a few months.

But at the same time, try not to use the "dreaded diapers" as a threat. Remember that accidents should not be used to shame or blame your child. It only makes your child feel small to hear you saying something like, "If you don't stop wetting yourself, you'll have to go back to wearing baby diapers." Try to keep in mind that it's really not your child's fault if she has frequent accidents. That's an indicator that your toddler doesn't yet have control, not that she's not trying. Maybe you tried toilet training too soon, before your child was really ready.

If you do decide to curtail your child's potty training for a while, try to ignore "helpful" relatives and friends who insist your child should be on the potty by now. Your child will eventually master this skill. If she's not ready, does it really have to be right now?

More on: Preschool


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Preschooler and Toddler, Too © 1997 by Keith M. Boyd, M.D., and Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

mother’s day cards & crafts

Let your kids
spoil you with



Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!