5 Common Potty Training Problems

Common Problems Parents Encounter When Potty Training Their Toddler
Image adapted via Flickr/ ToddMorris

Potty training: the moment all parents look forward to — to when we can say goodbye to the diapers and experience the freedom of having a child who can handle their bathroom business all by themselves.

You have already researched the signs and cues to watch for that will alert you that your toddler is ready to begin the transition from diapers to “big kid,” which include having words for their body functions, wanting to be more independent, and having dry periods throughout the day. (Click on over and take our quiz to see where you stand!)

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You've read up on the different methods to potty train with ease, from bribery to adorable songs that encourage and teach the steps, and you've already taken your toddler out to pick up their own potty and big-kid underwear.

So, now it all begins!

You choose the perfect day and circle it on the calendar. You're excited and sure you will be able to help your child master the necessary skills in one weekend, and your new diaper-free parenting phase begins.

If your experience in toddler potty training is anything like my experience has been, you'll probably encounter a few problems, questions, and unexpected consequences along the way — some messy, some funny — but all are very common problems that most parents will encounter while potty training.

Image via Flickr/ makelessnoise

There is no perfect one-size-fits-all method.

You remember that perfect method to potty training you found that other moms swore by and you were sure was going to work? You'll probably abandon it pretty quickly. Just like all other aspects of parenting, there is no universal method for every child, and you will need to rethink, re-plan, and reconsider a few times along the way.

Image via Flickr/ Michael Bentley

You will question if it will ever happen.

My kids are really smart, just like yours are, and yet there were times I questioned why they are able to master the art of talking back at such a young age, but couldn't seem to master the idea that you need to wipe before you pull your pants back up. It doesn't matter how brilliant your kids are — potty training is a process. And it may take a lot more out of you both than you originally thought.


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Image via Flickr/ ToddMorris

It will end up all over.

I am telling you now — invest in a few mops, some great carpet cleaner, and rubber gloves. It's going to end up everywhere, and the hard part of it all is that you'll need to pretend like it's not at all phasing you that there are smears of stuff all over the wall.

Image via Flickr/ abardwell

You'll need to reward yourself, too.

One M&M for your toddler, three for you. If you thought you would make it through this phase without indulging in that chocolate you bought for your toddler, you're mistaken. Trying to teach a child a new skill is one that can be draining for us parents, but there's something about the potty training phase that just kicks that energy-suck up a notch, and I have a feeling we both know what that is. (It's all over the floor!)

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Image via Flickr/ The Wu's Photo Land

You will celebrate a lot.

There are always reasons to celebrate in parenthood, and even everyday things like potty training and using the washroom are wonderful reasons to have a random dance party and cheer each other on. Yes, it may get tiring for you after the seventh time you're applauding your child using the potty, but for them, this encouragement can go a long way.

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What was the most challenging aspect of potty training for you? Share in the comments!

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5 Common Potty Training Problems

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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