Potty training is more of a marathon than a sprint. It’s tempting to compare your child to his fellow “racers,” watching as your best friend’s little girl sails right through the process with only one or two setbacks. Meanwhile, you’re limping toward the finish line in fits and starts, waiting for your child to finally get the hang of it.
Frustrating, for sure. But put yourself in your toddler’s shoes for a bit: Since birth, it’s been “OK” to wet her pants, and now she’s being asked to do things differently. He’s not mature enough to connect the short time he has between saying he has to go potty and actually making it to the bathroom in time. He still needs your help, even though he resists.
Potty training accidents - whether they're poop accidents or potty accidents - aren’t premeditated actions on your child’s part; they’re simply accidents. Once you’ve determined that your child is ready for potty training, here are four ways to handle your toddler’s accidents during potty training
1. Be Sensitive and Comforting
Your toddler might be upset that he had an accident – again. But you don’t need to be. Instead of scolding or criticizing, offer encouragement. “You had an accident, but that’s OK. It happens to all kids. You can try again next time.”
2. Double Up!
Super-absorbent diapers make life easier for parents, but they keep toddlers from experiencing the feeling of soggy, wet clothes. To provide that feeling but make cleanup easier, put undies on your toddler, followed by a diaper. She’ll connect that wet, soggy experience with the toilet while the diaper catches the mess.
3. Be Prepared
Potty training accidents at home are one thing; when you’re out, it’s a different level of panic! But you can be prepared.
- When you go out, carry a pair of undies and extra pants in a sealed plastic bag
- Encourage your child to use the toilet before you leave, even if they say they don’t need to go.
- Locate the bathrooms in unfamiliar settings. That way, both you and your child will be ready.
4. Make Expectations Meet Reality
Are your expectations in line? Children are constantly learning, which often involves making a mess. Try to think of these as learning experiences – when your daughter has an accident while playing, it teaches her to listen to her body and to try getting to the bathroom sooner the next time.
If your child is experiencing potty training regression, check out our 5 Helpful Tips on How to Potty Train for reassurance.
Trust us: You’ll get there. Your toddler will learn and grow through this process, and together you’ll reach the potty training finish line.
Here’s a bonus tip! Make the potty training process easier with our Little2Big™ and NextStep2® Built-In Potty Seats. Featuring a plastic potty training ring that’s sized for your toddler, each seat gives her confidence during potty training. The adult ring is fully useable during the potty training process, making this the perfect seat for your whole family!
Because they’re installed directly on your toilet bowl, they eliminate the clutter of a stand-alone potty chair AND eliminate the mess and hassle of cleaning a potty cup. The Little2Big is our all-plastic model, while the NextStep2 features an enameled wood adult seat and a plastic child ring.
They’ll help you get to the potty training finish line easier!
Our library of potty training articles has plenty of information to help you through the process.