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Here are the common challenges that you can face when potty training and where to get help: 

Some children take to using a potty quickly, others take more time. Remember, this is a new skill for your child and having accidents is part of the learning process. 

Potty training regression 

It’s not uncommon for children to regress even after being clean and dry for a while, particularly if their routine changes and they start nursery, for example. These sort of issues usually settle down as your child gets used to using the potty or toilet.

If problems don't stop however, it is important to make sure your child does not have an underlying problem such as a bladder infection, constipation, diabetes or threadworms. Alternatively, there may be an emotional or developmental reason why your child is struggling.


If you are getting stuck, or are concerned about your child, talk to your health visitor or GP for guidance on the best way to help your child overcome the problem.

Common potty training problems 

Here are some of the more common challenges that parents potty training may face and information on where to get help if you need it:

  • Refusing to use the potty
  • Not sitting for long enough
  • Ongoing accidents
  • Not seeming to notice or care that they have had an accident
  • Potty anxiety or fear
  • Avoiding doing a poo
  • Poo problems (constipation)
  • Going backwards or appearing to forget potty skills (regression)
  • Starting to have wetting accidents after being dry
  • Still using nappies by the time they start school

Problems with poo

It may come as a surprise that constipation is a common cause of many of the problems listed. It’s an issue that affects 1 in 3 children as they grow up, particularly toddlers around the potty training stage.

The signs of constipation can be easy to miss particularly in younger children. They include pooing fewer than four times a week and passing hard, large poos. Frequently passing lots of soft and/or runny poo can also show your child is constipated. Behaviours such as refusing to sit on the potty or toilet, holding on to poo and having wee and poo accidents are also signs of constipation. When poo is painful and emptying the bowel isn’t easy, it can make the potty training process very difficult.

Constipation needs to be treated as a priority before resuming potty training as it’s not something that will go away on its own.

Advice for supporting children with constipation