How Potty Training is Part of Toddler Physical Development

Potty training is a normal part of every child’s physical and emotional development, but not every child develops at the same pace.

If your child is resistant to potty training or just hasn’t gotten the hang of it by the age of three, there may be some psychological barriers preventing his progress.


Maybe your child showed all of the classic signs of potty training readiness: awareness of bodily functions, desire to lose the diapers and curiosity about the “big kid” potty. But once you started trying to teach him the ins and outs of toilet training, he became resistant.

This is not uncommon, and it is nothing to worry about. It typically means that you started potty training before your child was physically and emotionally ready for it. Relax, take a break for a few weeks and let your child lead the way back into potty training.


If you started potty training at a time of high stress in your child’s life (such as around the birth of a sibling or a move to a new home), she may be resisting as a way of exerting control over a situation in which she feels helpless.

At this young age, she does not have many ways to feel in control. Showing defiance or resistance to toilet training may be her way of saying that there is too much going on and she needs time to let things get back to normal.

Too Much Pressure

We all try to be the best parents possible, but sometimes our actions cause unexpected consequences. This is often the case with parents who are pushy about potty training.

If you punish him for accidents or push him to progress in his training too quickly, your little one may push back by shutting the process down and refusing to use the potty. Take a few deep breaths and remember that, like any new skill, toilet training takes time.


Even if you have read all of the right potty-training books to your toddler and taught her all about the process, she may have some lingering fears. The sound of a flushing toilet or the thought that she might fall in can be scary enough to stall toilet training.

Additionally, if your child has problems with constipation or food allergies, fear of pain can keep her from consistently using the toilet. Talk to your child about her fears, and if the fear is of a medical nature, make a visit to her doctor.

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