When Is It Time To Stop Potty Training And How Long Of a Break

When Is It Time To Stop Potty Training And How Long Of a Break

What should a parent do if a child is not progressing or has regressed with potty training? 

Potty training can be one of the most frustrating milestones for a parent and child to conquer.  No matter which method is being used, there is always the possibility that a child does not get it and does not progress and they may begin to regress. Don't panic, it happens sometimes with some children. It may be time to stop training, give the child a break and evaluate the experience to determine when and how to proceed for the best chances of success.

What percent of parents have to stop potty training at some point and start again?

A 2013 UK madeformums.com survey indicated that 72% of parents do not succeed the first time they try to potty train as only 28% of parents report success on their first go around.

At what point should I (give up) stop potty training and take a break?

If your child is not catching on to potty training and seems to be making little or no progress or is regressing and it has gone on for more than a couple of weeks and it is not an isolated event or rough patch. If it has been another difficult day with a lot of accidents, little progress and the trend seems to be heading in the wrong direction. Stop, and take a moment to consider the facts and evaluate the entire experience thus far.

First consider your child's readiness to ensure that you have not prematurely started training.

The following study indicated that starting potty training before 27 months does not lead to children that are trained earlier than if it started at 27 months. So there is no advantage to potty training earlier than 27 months. A study by Johns Hopkins indicated that 27 months is the average age for potty training success as children can not fully control their bowels and bladder until 24 to 30 months.


What is the reason you started potty training at the time it began?

Reconsider the reason you started training. Did you possibly start the potty training process prematurely? Was it because the child reached a certain age, a family member suggested it was time, there was a target date of completion you needed to meet (such as having the child potty trained to start school), or did your child exhibit the readiness signs recommended by an expert or the method you are using?

Did you start because signs of readiness were present or was there some other reasoning?

If the reason you started potty training when you did was because of the child's chronological age, a family member or someone else suggested it was time to start or you are trying to meet a future completion date, you may very well have a readiness issue. You need to stop your current efforts and put the diapers back on your child and take a break from training for at least a couple of weeks to a month.

At this point you need to consider the potty training readiness signs, click on this link for a comprehensive list of 21 readiness signs. Also revisit the details on the specific method you have decided to use and make an informed decision of whether or not your child is truly showing signs of readiness. Also, at this time you might want to consider the method and whether or not you still have confidence that its the best method for your child based upon your earlier experiences.

How long should I take a break from potty training before starting again?

After a 2 to 4 week break, ensure that your child is showing the primary readiness signs such as:1- able to communicate the need to go potty 2- shows signs of discomfort or pulling at dirty diapers 3-is interested in the potty from sibling or parent 4- stays dry for 2 hours or more 5- hides when having BM and they are over 27 months its time to potty train again. Do not start the process over unless your child is showing signs of readiness.

Are you using the method that gives your child the best chance of success?

 If during your first potty training experience you discover aspects of the method you chose are not compatible or for any other reason, consider other methods and determine whether or not a different method makes sense. You are not bound to keep using the same method if in fact there is anything that you do not feel comfortable with or you don't have confidence the method is best for your child by all means change the method. Starting over after a break is the perfect time to evaluate and make changes to your potty training protocol. It may very well lead to a greater likelihood of success. 

At this point you are confident that your child is ready to start training since the readiness signs are present. You also have taken the time to reconsider your method based upon your earlier experiences and have made any adjustments you deem necessary. It's time to potty train and you can begin with the confidence and knowledge from your earlier experience. Stay positive, patient and flexible while you follow the protocol of your choice. Your odds of success are now better than your first potty training efforts. You will get through this and your child will learn in time. Good luck!



Back to blog