Potty training issues (problems)


Potty training issues: What do we mean by that?

Dr. David R. Fleisher, in his article Understanding Toilet Training Difficulties (Pediatrics.June 2004;Vol. 113;No. 6;pp. 1809-1810), refers to toilet training as two processes that occur at the same time:


    Toilet training, which is what parents do to help their child acquire socially appropriate, self-sufficient toileting-skills.

    Toilet learning, which he describes as the child’s more “inner process” of learning his or her body: what a child thinks, feels and does while learning the customs of elimination behavior; learning to recognize his own sensory signals, and how to control anal and urethral sphincters while choosing whether to void.


Overall process of training-and-learning can run into difficulties, resulting in problems.

Potty training issues can revolve around educational or behavioral aspects, like parent-child conflicts around toileting, power struggles etc. These sorts of difficulties are mostly related to the toilet training process.

But also, issues can revolve around or take the expression of physical toileting difficulties such as: stool withholding behavior, constipation, and encopresis (soiling).



The following issues are addressed in this page:

  • Potty training and constipation: Causes and ways to treat.
  • Delayed Potty training


Sometimes it’s hard to tell, if a certain “toileting problem” is the origin of other difficulties -- or the result of them.

    Toileting refusal for bowel movements is one example for that; parents may ask if this behavior is originated by other problems, whether emotional, behavioral or physiological -- OR -- if this behavior is causing or contributing-to other problems they are facing in toilet training.

    Another example is delayed potty training; it can definitely be seen as the result of potty training difficulties, but is it also contributing to toileting difficulties?


Maybe it’s hard to say because things aren’t usually back-OR-white.

Different potty training issues are often associated with one another, even when it’s not entirely clear which problem is the “contributor” and which one is the outcome. Often it’s a cycle.



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