What Is Late Potty Training?
What Can Cause Potty Training Delay and What Can It Mean?
What Are the Signs of Potty Training Readiness?
Tips for Late Potty Training
When to Go to the Doctor?
The Bottom Line on Potty Training Delay
6.5 MIN READ
Late potty training is when your child is over 3 years of age, shows no signs of developmental delays, and is still not toilet trained after six months of training.
Keep in mind, according to experts, most children are ready to begin potty training at about 24 months old, and it typically takes 3 to 6 months to complete their training, meaning that they know when to answer nature’s call and can go to the bathroom by themselves.
While the occasional potty training accident after being dry for several months is probably nothing more than a bump in the road, and potty training regression can occur after years of toilet mastery and is usually a result of a psychosocial stressor or medical issue, a delay in potty training is when your child has never successfully been potty trained at all.
A potty training delay may stem from a behavioral or physical cause, such as:
Additionally, late toilet training can be a sign of a number of things. Your child may be resisting potty training simply because they’re not yet ready for it. Another possible answer as to why your child may not be progressing as well as you hoped they would, is that they simply want more of your attention.
Wetting themselves can be a way of their trying to draw your attention and to engage you in emotional interaction and conversation. A potty training delay may also indicate the presence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aka ADHD. While most kids are potty-ready by 36 months, children with ADHD may struggle with potty training beyond this age.
It can also happen that your child just gets lost in their current activities so much that they don’t even react to their bodies’ internal cues. If it’s a recurring accident, consider giving them a wristwatch with an alarm function. All you have to do is to set the alarm to go off at regular intervals and make your child understand that when the alarm sounds it’s time to go potty.
Some of these issues, such as having a toilet phobia or a smaller bladder capacity will likely be outgrown, but issues like poor muscle control or an infection may require treatment from your child’s healthcare provider. If you’re unsure what’s behind your child’s potty training delay consult your child’s provider for a diagnosis.
Late toilet training and the resulting episodes of bedwetting and daytime wetting can have a huge effect on your child’s self-esteem and quality of life, from keeping him or her from enjoying sleepovers to making field trips a little trickier to navigate.
Instead of “waiting it out,” try these tips to help your child make the transition to being fully toilet trained and to put an end to their bedwetting:
You’ve tried it all and you’re still not making any progress? It may be time to take a break. Give your kid some time to relax, get the social pressure off their back, and reassess the past few months. Take as long as you seem fit, then give it another go. Your child will get the hang of it!
If you suspect a psychological or physical cause may be behind your child’s delay in potty training, don’t hesitate to turn to your child’s healthcare provider for advice. He or she will ask you questions about your child’s bladder habits and potty training history, give your child a physical exams, and perhaps run some lab tests to try to get to the bottom of what’s happening.
Once your child’s provider has made a diagnosis, he or she will create a treatment plan based on your child’s personal situation.