Frustrated with Potty Training Regression


I have a 2 year old daughter who I'm trying to toilet train. She is having many accidents and I'm not sure why. For that last little while she has been communicating that she has done pee or poo in her diaper and wants to be changed right away. Because we were having our house painted I thought that I would start the process once everything was done. I started training her yesterday. I tried Monday and Tuesday but because we went out she wore a pull up. My problem is that she pees or poos and then cries and then tell me that she peed herself. I take her to the toilet and sit her on the toilet and tell her that pee should be done in the toilet not in her pants. I say it in a very calm voice. She then will take me to the place where she had peed to show me the floor so that I can clean up the mess.

My questions are:

Why is she doing this?

Should I use a potty instead of the toilet? She had gone on the toilet before that's why I thought it would be best.

How do I make her understand that she needs to tell me before she goes pee or poo?

If and when we go out shopping for example should I use a pull up? And for sleeping as well?

I'm really desperate because I'm expecting another child in 2 weeks so I'm short for time.

Please help me.


Hello RLM,

I can sense the frustration in your email, and I can assure you that your daughter is feeling just as frustrated because she really does want to do what you want her to do, but for some reason is unable to.

I would recommend that you read this article on potty training resistance.

I hope that it helps you in determining why she is resisting using the potty.

Confusion may be the issue or it may be inappropriate potty training technique. You need to identify what is causing the concern and then work on resolving it.

Also, this article on a child's perspective on potty training.

It gives you her perspective on the problem, she had a lot to learn and put together. Potty Training is a developmental skill that children acquire in time, so if they are not able to connect all the dots, then asking them to go on the potty each time is like asking a child to run when they cannot yet walk.

To answer some of your questions:

I recommend using a Potty Chair first and then a Potty Seat. The reason for this is that a potty chair can be placed close to the child. It is easier for the child when they don't have to figure out a route to the bathroom.

Also, a potty chair is closer to the ground and the sphincter muscle has to be relaxed to enable elimination and sitting with your feet planted on the ground enables the muscles to relax a lot easier than when the legs are dangling.

RE: telling you that she has to go, your goal for her should be to have her potty independently of you. You should be setting up her environment such that she can go potty when she needs to go and should not have to look for you and tell you that she has to go potty.

RE: what to use when shopping and sleeping - my personal preference and recommendation is to switch from using diapers and pull ups to cloth potty training pants. This can be very challenging, so a lot depends on the potty training method you select. Potty Training in One Day is of course my favorite method and supports moving away from diapers & pull ups very easy. Switching back and forth between cloth and disposable may be confusing to your child.

Last but not least, I am not sure if you are using a specific potty training method or technique with your child. I would recommend selecting a technique that you think suits you and your family, then create a plan on how you will implement this technique and then go ahead with it and you will see positive results.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Do let me know what your thoughts were after reading this information.

Hope you are having a great weekend.

Narmin Parpia

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Too much pressure (6/11/2012) Reviewer: Ingrid (Edmonton, Alberta) I feel that you should also mention that having a 'deadline' (ie. 2 weeks until the baby is born) puts a lot of pressure on a child, and potty training is not something that can be rushed. As well, any progress that is made will likely go out the window when a new baby is born.

Best to lay off for a few months, let the child get used to having a baby sibling before trying again.