Ultimate Guide to Potty-Training

Potty-Training Problems

Most potty-training regression occurs at night while your child is asleep.
Most potty-training regression occurs at night while your child is asleep.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Accidents happen, whatever method you use and however quickly your child learns. When one does, clean up quickly, making very little of it. Console your child if she is upset, and do not punish, scold, or shame her. If accidents are so frequent you can see training will be unsuccessful, stop at once and put your child back in diapers. Try again in a few weeks or a month, when you think the child is ready.

A child who is completely potty trained sometimes has accidents when she is ill. Sometimes a child regresses -- seems to forget entirely control of bowels or bladder or both. Regression sometimes accompanies or follows an illness.

A child who regresses (or one who can't seem to master the control training requires, though apparently ready) may have a lactose intolerance or other food intolerance or allergy or a urinary infection. The latter is usually accompanied by pain and a burning sensation when urinating and sometimes also by changed color or a foul odor in the urine. If you suspect a physical problem, consult your doctor.

In most cases, regression has an emotional, rather than a physical, cause. It may occur when a new baby comes into the house, when someone close to the family dies, when parents separate or divorce, or at some other stressful time. It's best to go along with it as best you can: Do not show anger or scold, but put your child back into diapers without comment.

Nighttime bladder control usually comes later than daytime control, although some children go through the night dry even before they are daytime-trained. Good control is needed because a child who sleeps through the night may have to wait as long as 12 hours. You may want to encourage nighttime control by holding back on liquids before bedtime and getting her up when you go to bed. Bed-wetting (enuresis) is considered a real problem only after a child is about six years of age.

Potty training is a major milestone in your child's life, but some parents can put too much pressure on the stage and make it harder on their child. If you follow our simple potty training advice, your child will be well on his way to independence.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

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Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. is executive director of the Epicenter Inc.,"The Education for Parenthood Information Center," a family advisory and advocacy agency located in Lindenhurst, Illinois. He received his doctorate in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also served as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He is the author of Bright Start: Activities to Develop Your Child's Potential. His articles on early development and parenting have appeared in numerous publications for parents and professionals, and his regular magazine columns have received a first-place National Headliners Award and two first-place citations from Parenting Publications of America.