Potty training can be a fulfilling milestone both for you and your child. It signals his first real step to self-reliance. Yet it may also be quite a frustrating period for your child and also for you. For this reason it is important to prepare yourself by acknowledging the fact that accidents will occur throughout and after potty training.

Always bear in mind when accidents occur, there are several things you should do:

1. The least said the better.
2. Don't create a fuss, get upset or get negative.
3. Try to be calm, casual and encouraging.

Loosing your cool during these instances will not result in anything positive for the potty training or your relationship with the child. The fastest way to make your boy resist the potty training is for it to be a source of undesirable feelings towards him. Getting angry or making a fuss about his mishaps will simply make him dislike the activity even more. Scolding him is only going to reduce his self-esteem and may cause loss of trust. Positive reinforcements work much better than negative comments. As difficult as it is not to blow your top during mishaps, it's important not to scold or embarrass your child for doing so. It is best to just smile and continue to be supportive to the child. As they say "If you haven't anything nice to say, safer to say nothing at all".

Why mishaps happen?

Mishaps during potty training boys are very common and will even happen after several months of assumed success. It's just like your child falling a few times off his bicycle despite the fact that he knows the way to ride it. Accidents can always happen. Yet if you notice a high or increased frequency of accidents, you might have to reflect on all areas of the potty training. Here are a few common reasons why the required results are not achieved:

Timing may not be right. Many parents schedule their potty training depending on age, which is normally between 18 months to 36 months. This is a broad age range and although it is fine in isolation, the best way to measure the readiness of the child has to be in conjunction with the main three factors, which are:

Physiological - The child's body has to be developed sufficiently to be successful in potty training. His nerves and muscles must be ready for him to be able to regulate his toileting urges for a short period of time. Your child should also be physically ready sufficiently to be able to walk to and from the potty and yank his pants down and up.

Emotional - The interest has to come from the child himself. Otherwise, mastering potty training will just result in failure.

Communication - The child must be able to communicate good enough to signal his need to potty. This can be by means of simple words and phrases or actions.

Stress - "Good" stress (new baby, marriage in the family, moving to a new home etc) and bad stress (divorce, separation, bereavement in the family) leaves strong imprints in a child's mind. It is advisable to delay potty training during these moments and wait until the family situation normalizes before carrying on with with potty training.

Parental Pressure - Children do not react well to negative pressures, in particular from their own parents. This can lead to resistance during the training.

Medical Reasons - If accidents start happening more frequently than usual or if the incidents happen more than a few months after successful training, it is advisable to see your doctor to make sure that there aren't any medical problems.

Common medical related problems are;

Urinary Track Infection (UTI) - This is caused if the urine is held in for a period of time. Or bacteria from the bottom finds its way to the bladder. UTI can cause involuntary wetting and can be extremely painful.

Constipation - Is a condition wherein the bowel movement is very hard for the child. This can be very painful and can result in the child holding it even more to prevent the discomfort.

Urinary Incontinence - It is a condition in which there is lack of urinary control. This may be caused by physiological problems, anxiety, overactive bladder or sleep apnea. This is the frequent cause of medical related wetting the bed.

Fatigue - Excessive tiredness may cause the child to urinate in bed as it triggers the child to momentarily lose control of muscle control. This can be brought about by too much playing, sports activities or after a birthday party etc.

Excitement - Just like fatigue, excitement may lead to short-term loss of urinary control.

Not reaching the potty soon enough - There are several causes for a child not to reach the potty in good time. Investigate what is hindering him from reaching the potty and sort it out.

Make certain the potty is not placed in area of the home that is too far from where he usually stays. Is the child is too preoccupied by watching Television or playing with toys making him hold his urges rather than going to the potty? Is the child's clothing potty training compatible?

As accidents are common events in potty training, more frequent than normal accidents need to be given special consideration. Reassess your potty training strategy and check on the factors that may have led to these accidents. During your reassessment stage, consider going back to using the diaper temporarily until you are ready to go at it once again with the potty training.

If you believe that there is something more than just run-of-the-mill accidents, it is best to consult your child's doctor to rule out any medical conditions.


If your boy resists and despite being at the older end of the age range or showing all the signs of preparedness and yet after several months of effort still refuses to cooperate, what can you do?

Be patient, potty training boys is a procedure which parents really have to commit to.

Accidents are always sure to happen so instead of the natural urge to get tough - relax and accept the fact that these things will happen and happen again.

Showing your frustration will only lead to more instances of accidents and extra stress on the child and you will find it more difficult to get positive responses to potty training.

It is vital for you to realize that the more you scold the child whenever accidents occur the more resistant the child becomes to the training and views it as a bad or distressing experience.

Try to keep your cool if the potty training seems to be less effective than you anticipate.

The end results of potty training and time frames for the children to understand and adapt vary tremendously. If the training does not seem to working you should try to continue positively reinforcing the child until they make progress.

Pushing the child too hard will not improve or speed up the process. This will only lead to additional tension between parent and child.

It is essential to determine if your child is really ready for toilet training. If they are ready and understand the instructions, it may also be helpful to give the child more accountability for their own toilet training. Explain to him, "its your body and you can learn to control it on your own - if you need help I am here for you". This makes a child feel more independent and more grown-up during this routine.

Give choices - "diapers or pants its up to you!" Giving children choices makes them aware of the training and process that both they and their parents are in. It is also essential to explain to the child what are the pro's and con's of both diaper and pants so that they realize why the potty training is being carried out.

Routines are essential particularly throughout potty training. It is advisable to bring your child to the bathroom at regular times everyday until a potty routine is established.

It is best to bring children:

When they wake.
Before meals.
After meals.
Before going to bed.

Parents should also be aware of their child’s personal habits when they feel the urge to go potty and immediately have them sit on the potty. Parents may be surprised how quickly the child will become accustomed to going during these times and would attempt to go to the potty on their own.

Quit reminding, if the child knows the routine then say absolutely nothing more and let them get on with it. The more a parent nags the child the more chances that the potty training will be ineffective. Constant nagging or reminding is something that children do not respond well to and it is again an additional stress to both child and parent.

Potty training should be considered as an everyday event and parents should not keep talking about it - make it a non-issue. Making it a non-issue makes a child feel that it is no big deal and is a normal part of living which they have to get used to. Continuous discussions with the child will only lead them to be uninterested simply because the topic comes up over and over again.

Sweeten the pot, offer rewards e.g. stickers or other incentives etc if it can be done with leading to an excessively demanding reaction from the child. Giving incentives helps with the the control issues a child has with going to the potty. Use a merit system in regards to the number of goodies the child receives. So that the more the child improves the more they are rewarded. This often proves to be very effective.

If a parent thinks that all efforts have been implemented and there is no improvement or response from the child parents can enlist help, gently and reassuringly from impartial authority figures like teachers, nurses and doctors. Getting the opinion of individuals that have first hand and experiences with potty training children can give parents a few ideas and tips on how to deal with difficult times during the process.

In the end it will all work out for the best. You will be delighted when you see your child using the potty without any supervision.