When the potty training doesn't work

If toilet training isn't working, the best advice is to relax, put your toddler back in nappies and try again later.

We know you can't wait to stop changing nappies – who can’t? But if toilet training isn’t working, there’s not much you can do to rush it. Your child might show clear signs of knowing when something’s about to happen, but unfortunately this doesn’t mean they’re ready to give up nappies.

If your toddler refuses to go to the toilet, leave them in nappies for a bit longer. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Toilet training should always be done in agreement with your child. Saying goodbye to nappies is a team effort, and pressurising your child often has the opposite effect. If it isn’t working out, stop the toilet training, wait a couple of weeks and then try again.

When toddlers only poo in their nappy
Quite often, toddlers won’t poo in the potty right away. This may be because it’s hard to identify the right pushing muscles while sitting down. Whatever the reason, let your child stay in nappies for a while longer. Don’t nag; just encourage them to try the potty now and then. Treat it as something natural and it’ll happen over time.

Frequent accidents
It’s natural for accidents to happen now and again. Don’t comment on wet pants except to sympathise with your toddler for not getting to the potty in time.
It can perhaps be a little frustrating when you see your child dancing around, clearly desperate to pee, but still refusing to go to the toilet!. And then they pee in their pants. But it’s quite common for them not to notice, or even want to notice, until it’s too late. Or they might be having such fun playing that they prefer to ignore it. If they go and pee they might miss out on something fun. If this keeps happening, try getting your child to pee after every meal, even if they don’t need to go.

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