Toilet training is like hiking a mountain: it’s a rough road to get there, but the payoff is worth it. While each child varies in his or her readiness to potty train, most children typically do somewhere between 18-27 months. Even when your child is showing signs of readiness to potty train, remember that it will take some trial and error until he or she starts to use the potty appropriately.

Problem: “My child will use the potty but has a wet diaper a short time later.”

Children don’t have the same instincts about bladder fullness or emptiness in relation to when they need to use the bathroom. While your child may be going to the bathroom, he or she may not be fully emptying the bladder.

A solution to help your child overcome this is to encourage him or her to stay on the potty longer. Some children lose interest in sitting on the potty, which is why they don’t fully empty their bladders. You can play games with your child to encourage a longer potty time or ask him or her to try to potty one more time before calling it quits.

Problem: “My child experiences pain when urinating or says he or she always feels like going to the bathroom.”

If your child voices that he or she is experiencing a problem when trying to go to the bathroom, it may be less about toilet training and more related to a urinary tract infection. These uncomfortable infections are more likely to occur in girls because they have a shorter urethra, meaning bacteria can more easily enter the bladder.

UTIs are unfortunately a more frequent occurrence when a child is toilet training because a child may try to hold his or her urine longer in an attempt to wait to go to the bathroom. This means less toilet accidents, but more bacteria that can sit in the urinary tract and multiply. If your child has not voided in one to two hours, encourage your child to do so. Symptoms such as pain when urinating, blood in the urine or a more frequent need to urinate can be indicative of a urinary tract infection.

Problem: “My child seemed like he or she was potty trained, but is now wetting his or her pants.”

This problem is a common one for parents of a toddler who may have a new brother or sister. Your toddler may regress or seemingly go back to a previous stage as a result. This can also occur if a child is sick or has to go to the hospital. Regression in potty training takes patience. Keep reinforcing the same training principles and your child will likely catch back up.

Problem: “It’s been several weeks of potty training and my child no longer seems interested.”
Sometimes potty training takes several starts before it’s effective. If your child no longer seems interested in the toilet as he or she once did, you may need to wait a few more weeks to months for the right time.

If your child is age 3 or older and is not potty trained or at-home measures aren’t seeming to help your potty training issues, see your child’s pediatrician.


  • Potty training typically occurs between ages 18-27 months.
  • Accidents will happen during potty training. Showing patience will help.
  • Sometimes potty training takes several starts before it’s effective.


  1. KidsHealth. Toilet Teaching Your Child.
  2. Mayo Clinic. Potty Training: How to Get The Job Done.
  3. MedlinePlus. Toilet Training.
  4. University of Michigan Health System. Toilet Training.
  5. Wake Forest Baptist Health. Home Potty Training.
  6. What to Expect. Potty Training Setbacks: When Accidents Happen.


  1. Thank you for the tips. My biggest issue with my 3.5 year old is she wont poop in the potty. I have tried everything I can think of and nothing is working. If anyone has any tips I would appreciate them.

    1. Have you read the article I wrote here: ? While many factors may be causing your 3.5 year old not to want to poop in the potty, constipation seems to be a factor the older the child gets and isn’t fully toilet trained. I would definitely mention this concern to your pediatrician, especially if the child has ALWAYS had constipation problems (and very especially if as a newborn, there were problems stooling). I think it’s important to increase fiber in a child’s diet, take advantage of the “gastrocolic reflex” (noted in the article link) by having your child sit down on the potty for a few minutes after meals, and if there are major problems with soiling, grunting, straining, pain or blood in the stool a trial of a medication to soften the stools. If there’s the possibility of a fecal impaction (large, hard stool in the colon and rectum), a rectal suppository or enema may be helpful. Talk the scenario over with your pediatrician, who I’m sure can help. You can also get more detailed and personalized help by going to Ask Bundoo ( Hope this helps!

  2. These are great tips! Thank you!

  3. The book Potty Princess by Samantha Berger was great in helping to potty train my little girl. She is your typical girly girl so this book was perfect! It comes with a crown and every time your little one uses the potty they get to put a sticker on the crown. Needless to say, my daughter became obsessed with using the bathroom because she wanted to decorate her crown. The more jeweled stickers on the crown, the happier she was! 🙂


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