What Not To Do During Potty Training?

Avoid The Following During Potty Training

Potty training can be a challenging experience for both the parent and the child. Success does not come without a few hurdles, like several accidents, moments of tears, and other challenges.

Different children have varying experiences during this training. Regardless of your experience with your child, give the child your support and communicate efficiently as they work to adapt to this new skill.

Nonetheless, there are a few don’ts that you need to know during the training experience. Most of these practices maybe with good intentions but yield negative results.

This article list down some of the things you should avoid during potty training.

  1. Do not force issues

Ensure your child is ready and developed to handle this process before commencement. Signs that stipulate readiness include;

  • The child’s ability to communicate their needs.


  • Developing interest in bathroom independence.


  • Ability to handle requirements such as dressing on their own and telling when they have the urge to visit the bathroom.


  • The child’s ability to follow simple steps and instructions.

If you feel like your child is not prepared, you can give them several weeks or months before trying again.

If the child refuses to sit on the potty, forcing will have them negatively perceive using the potty, leading to more resistance. As a result, the child may negatively associate with the bathroom, hence may choose to withhold their urge to urinate, which can be dangerous.

Instead, choose to offer support and encouragement even when the child is hesitant or resistant. If it’s still a bitter struggle even though the child seems ready, you may give them a little bit of time.

Success is best attained when both the child and the parent are enthusiastic about this new step.

2. Avoid the potty training experience in a time of stress

Good and bad stress counts when it comes to potty training. Stressful things such as marriage troubles, divorce, death, vacation, home visitors, and new babies may be uncomfortable and hard for the child to cope with.

If there is any adjustment happening in your life, consider postponing the potty training experience. Exercise the patient until the resumption of the normal flow of life.

When your baby is comfortable, it creates a sense of security in them and gives you more time, attention, and energy to focus on helping your child transition.

3. Do not set deadlines

Children have no concept of time with adults and thus do not work well with deadlines. It’s best not to have expectations with the potty training process. Some kids adapt to some processes faster than others, though most kids take almost a year and a half.

Do not pressure your child if they take longer, causing them unnecessary stress. Remember, potty training is not a one-size-fits-all. Embrace your child’s individuality.

4. Avoid treating accidents like a big deal

Potty training is a normal part of life, and accidents are inevitable. Explain to your child that using the bathroom and accidents is normal and nothing to feel bad about. When accidents happen, let the child know that they should learn from the mistake as they grow.

Reinforcing accidents may cause feelings of shame and anxiety in the child. Instead, encourage the child to clean up and wait for the next opportunity to do things right.

5. Don’t wear unmanageable clothes

It is challenging for little hands to maneuver through complicated zippers buttons, overalls, or multiple layers of clothes when there is an urgent need to use the bathroom.

Choose simple clothes that make it easy for your child to manipulate. You can try elastic waist pants, skirts or shorts are the most ideal.

Avoid complicated clothes such as belts, suspenders, overalls tight clothes unless the child has adapted to putting them off and on. Choose clothes that the child can maneuver through quickly and independently.

6. Avoid conforming to external pressure

External pressure may come from many sources like grandparents, other parents, teachers, etc. The advice given may be out of goodwill but not resonate for you or the child.

Avoid bowing down to pressure or caught up in your worries as, ultimately, the child will learn at their own pace.

7. Don’t expect nighttime training instantly

Dry nights don’t come immediately after potty training. It is usual for the child to bed wet till they are four years or older. Do not keep pointing it out as a problem that may cause the child embarrassment, instead remind them that it is normal.

Initiate ways to help the child train their bladder and bowels during the night. Bedwetting is a habit that the child eventually outgrows. However, in case of any concern, visit a pediatrician.

8. Don’t disregard your child’s attachments and fears

It is usual for children to have fears, even though they might not sound as serious to an adult. Children may have fears such as falling off the potty seat, the sound of a flushing toilet, among others.

Handle such fears with a lot of sensitivity and do not invalidate the child’s feelings. Talk to the child and show them that you care.

In case of diaper attachment, slowly help the child adjust to the transition. Such care enables the child to trust you, making the potty training process much more manageable.

Why is it hard?

Adults have spent several years using the toilet that they forget how hard it is for a child. A child has spent their lives in diapers; hence taking them out of this tradition requires effort and attention.

Training the child to get to the potty when the urge arises is an outstanding achievement.

Do not put any unnecessary pressure or ultimatums on yourself or the child during this process. Also, do not punish the child for taking too long to adjust or in case of accidents.

Should I punish during potty training

Toddlerhood is a stage of tremendous psychological and emotional growth for a child.  Potty training is part of this growth that trains the child’s independence, self-regulation, and social awareness.

The child’s motivation to use the potty may arise from different things. Some don’t like the feeling of being wet and messy. Others want to emulate their parents, who are their role models, while others desire to be like the older children.

However, outgrowing a habit and even getting out of one’s comfort zone is not as easy as it sounds for a child. Like any normal learning process, the child will proceed on their own when they’re ready.

Why you should not punish the child

Punishing the child may lead to feelings of pressure and stress which may have long-term adverse physical and emotional effects.

The child may develop issues such as self-esteem, stool withholding, chronic constipation, anxiety with toilet use, bowel and bladder control.

Moreover, punishments make it harder for the child to control their body and the fear shuts down the learning brain centers.

Furthermore, punishments interfere with the parent-child relationship, eliminating the child’s desire to follow the parent’s lead.

Punishing a child create a mix of emotions in the child. The child feels ashamed, humiliated, like a failure, thus the feeling of giving up. At the same time, the child feels angry and not understood, hence the likelihood of encountering more accidents.

Punishing makes the child view toileting as a source of stress and punishment and not as an opportunity for mastery hence an unsuccessful process.

What to do instead

Instead of punishing, you can try the following steps;

  • Incentives and applause for any little steps to keep motivating the child.


  • Parents should support and encourage their children for the process to be successful.


  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes rather than reprimand them.

Should I wake my toddler up to pee at night?

Waking the child at night and carrying them to the bathroom is a widespread technique most parents employ, also known as lifting. Even though the method may provide nights of dryness, it does not teach the child anything, thus being ineffective in the long run.

Why lifting proves ineffective?

The child will probably be emptying their bladder before it is complete, making it hard for them to learn the proper response to a full-bladder signal.

Moreover, the child may have no memory of you taking them to the washroom, though they may speak and appear awake at the moment.

Also, lifting the child at a particular time every night may adjust their bladder emptied at that time. Using this particular method, your child will continue to wet their bed if you forget to wake them up at the said time.

Furthermore, you do not know what time the child needs to use the bathroom, just like it may vary in adults. Your body’s schedule cannot be like your child’s.

If you try this method for several weeks or alternate nights, you can check if your child can manage to stay dry when you do not wake them up. If the child tends to remain dry, that is great; if not, you can look for alternative, more effective methods.

Ways to ensure your child remains dry at night


  • Opt for training pants instead of diapers.


  • Encourage the child to use the bathroom before bed.


  • Have the bathroom easily accessible to the child.


  • Use large towels for absorption underneath the bedsheets.

When to engage a doctor

  • If the child wets the bed past the age of 5 to 6 years.


  • If the child suddenly starts to bed wet after months of night dryness.



  • When the child has concerns or becomes upset if they wet their bed.


  • If the child has other symptoms such as a burning sensation when peeing and the frequent need of peeing.

Should I force my child to sit on the potty?

Potty training can be daunting for both the child and the parent. It is therefore normal for a child to refuse to sit on the potty. However, it is not advisable to force the child to sit on the potty.

There are always alternative ways that will work for you and your toddler.

Why the child refuses to sit on the potty

It may be scary for the toddler. The child transitioning from relieving themselves at their comfort wherever and whenever to sitting on a potty can be a lot. Adjusting from their norm can cause fear and tension in the child.

Some of the fears the child may have include;

  1. Fear of losing control

The child knows only diapers and has never seen their wee or poop. Before, even if he loses control of their pee and poop, the diapers would come in handy. The child has to be aware of their bladder and bowels to use the bathroom, which can be scary for them.

  1. Fear of the unknown

The child had no idea of the potty as they were comfortable and used to the diapers. The child does not know what to expect, what will happen, and what it feels like without a diaper.

It is, therefore, vital that you prepare the child by having a conversation on this new process and take note of the reaction.

  1. Fear of having an accident

Even adults have a fear of accidents. The child has fears of missing the potty or even the feeling of having an accident.

The first time the child has an accident without a diaper may have them confused and stressed, ultimately wanting their diaper.

  1. Fear of new sensations

A diaper is like a child’s security blanket. Changing to wearing pants or the feeling of staying naked can be scary for the child.

What to do when the child refuses to sit on the potty

  • Prepare your child in advance by having a conversation.


  • Make it fun. Let the child choose their favorite design of potty and decorate it.



  • Spend more time at home to support, motivate and help the child.


  • Reward the child when they use the potty.


  • Distract the child, for instance, allowing them to use the potty while watching TV.


Take potty training in strides and work together with your child. Treat your child with the same patience and encouragement you’d want. It is a learning experience and a step of growth and independence for the child.

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