5 Little Reasons Why Potty Training May Look Like A Big Mess

Updated: Oct 31, 2019


Inside: Here are 5 common problems that get in the way of potty learning when you start potty training your toddler.


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When I first became a mama, we lived in Brooklyn, a short walk from a special baby shop stocked with carefully-curated supplies and shopkeepers who helped with the hows, whats, and whys of everything from cloth diapering to babywearing. (What a support to live by such a helpful resource!)


And here’s what I did — I got support for the one thing I was struggling with.


I pretty much exclusively carried my daughter for those first months. I had a fabric carrier, a ring sling, and later, an Ergo buckle carrier. But learning how to safely maneuver a baby in a piece of fabric wasn’t something I picked up in an instant.


So I stopped in the shop (almost daily in the beginning) and the owner would graciously check if I had my daughter in a nice deep squat, shared tricks of how to adjust each carrier for nursing, and later helped me master other ways to carry my little bunny.


My confidence in knowing what FELT right and what felt like I needed to adjust something came from learning that little checklist from the shop’s babywearing experts.


A simple checklist.


Of what to adjust, what to look for (like being able to kiss your baby’s forehead in a front carry), helped me take it on and venture off on my own!


It’s the same idea with potty training when it's not going right. You want a checklist!


What could be causing problems in your child learning how to use the potty?

What are the simple things that you want to be sure are in place?


Here are 5 things to check off your list if you’ve started potty training, and things are not lining up.


With this checklist, you can feel more confident to move forward in your potty training journey.


1. Staying in the house too long


First things first. If you've read Oh Crap Potty Training then you know about the blocks of learning in potty training.


It's important to set your kiddo up with a solid foundation so you can stack your success.


You don't want to rush into doing big outings the second day in or expecting your child to go to music class after a couple pee catches. BUT I often talk to moms who have been stuck indoors for DAYS.



Get out in the sunshine! It helps the potty training process.


And guess what the vibe is in the house? Stir crazy! Pressure! DONE with potty training!


Related: When you get outside for those small outings with your potty training toddler, here's what you'll want to bring with you.


2. You're all running sleep-deprived.


Did you swipe the sleepy diapers and are night training right now? And are your nights looking like a mess? If you're spending the night chasing time to try to catch a pee and seeing regular accidents, then you're probably feeling frustrated AND tired. It also likely means your child is running underslept.


Even a loss of 30 minutes of sleep can lead to an overtired toddlers and wonky behavior.


And that can definitely be messing with your daytime potty success.



If you feel like you're going to crash from lack of sleep, your toddler is likely running sleep-deprived, too.

3. You added in underwear right away.


Did you add in underwear a few days after starting potty training? Are you seeing pees through the pants or poops in the undies? Adding in the underwear too soon can bring on accidents. I share more here on toddler underwear and when to add them.




4. You're celebrating after every pee and poop.


What happens when you do a happy dance, sing, praise, call Grandma, and your child has just done a poop?


It starts to not feel normal.


It starts to feel like *this thing*. That has pressure attached to it.


For some children, that can lead to this feeling of *oh I have to do this again?* or being worried about making a mistake.



It's natural to feel happy when you see potty wins! But steer away from the cheerleading kind of praise.


What we really want is to keep the process of going pee and poop in the potty normalized.


Peeing and pooping in the potty is something that we all do. So instead of the cheerleading, simply describe what your child did right..


Nice work, your poop slid out in the potty.

Keep in mind, if you're seeing poop accidents on the regular, you are likely looking at a poop issue. Jamie has a Pooping Solutions course that talks through how to work through a poop issue or I work with parents in one-on-one consultations.

5. Teeth. Namely the second year molars.


Teething can really derail potty training, especially with the poop. So if you're seeing accidents but the child knows what to do and you're not sensing behavior, check to see if your child's second year molars have shown up.


They could be throwing things off.


And now that you've got your checklist, you can head into potty training knowing what to look for.

Illustrations: Citrus and Mint Designs



#helpwithpottytraining #pottytrainingtips

© 2020 by Oh Crap Potty Training From ME to You, LLC

Jen L'Italien

Potty Consultant

All rights reserved.

You may not take any images or content from this site without written permission. Illustrations: Citrus and Mint Designs

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