Potty Training Accidents When Wearing Clothes (Reasons & Solutions)

Accidents are part of the potty training process. In general, over 31% of children have 3-4 accidents a day while wearing clothes, especially toddlers under 2, whose bladder and rectum muscles aren’t yet mature enough to be controlled. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the general rule is to keep your child in loose, easy-to-remove clothing, and allow plenty of time to practice dressing and undressing before using the potty chair.

Potty training is a significant milestone in developing children’s lives. Most parents fall into the eager beaver category of the excitement of getting their little ones out of those diapers and into some big kid underwear. 

The problem is that underwear and other clothing can trip things up if you don’t know how to set up your toddler for success because they can prevent them from getting their pee or poop in the potty.

Common causes of potty training accidents when wearing clothes

Dealing with the causes of accidents with clothes on is the key to putting potty training back on track, and you are advised to be on the lookout for common triggers, which may include;

  1. Lack of readiness – If the timing isn’t right, even the best potty training tactics won’t prevent setbacks. Although some will show these signs earlier or later, most toddlers show signs of potty training readiness between 20 and 30 months.
  2. Stress – Any new situation like starting daycare, a new sibling, or a new carer changes your baby’s routine.
  3. Fatigue – Feeling tired or sluggish can prevent the toddler from reaching the potty in time.
  4. Parental pressure – It is important to be patient, supportive, encouraging, and reassuring. Pushing toddlers who aren’t ready or interested will most likely backfire. It’s essential to let them set the pace.
  5. Distraction – If your child is busy playing or doing something else, or just doesn’t want to stop what they are doing, they may not notice the urge to go to the potty until it is too late. 
  6. Excitement – Even just being excited about the potty itself can trigger an accident especially for those babies who are new to the potty.
  7. Inability to communicate – Toddlers may not have the ability to express in words any fears or anxiety they may be experiencing around using the potty or any physical discomfort they may be feeling and it may cause them to try and avoid the potty.

Tips on dressing your toddler who is potty training

Mom is dressing her toddler daughter for the day

Before you start to potty train your baby, you’ll want to make sure that your toilet-ready little one is dressed for success. The following tips will help you know how to dress your toddler as you potty train them.

1. Ban the buttons

This also includes belts and other fasteners they might have to fumble with. Even if they have the dressing knowledge to unzip and unbuckle and manipulate other clothing closures, they shouldn’t have to deal with them at the same time they are trying to settle on the potty.

2. Divide and conquer 

Shelve the one-piece clothing items such as overalls for the moment and dress your baby in tops and bottoms. Even if that cute one-piece jumpsuit doesn’t have difficult fasteners, it will simply take them too long to get it off in time to use the potty.

3. Be flexible

Opt for bottoms with stretchy waistbands that are easy to slide on and off.

That is, pants and shorts, but sweatpants and leggings are also ideal potty training clothes and some jeans and khakis with elastic bands.

4. Skirt the issue

Little girls are usually in the dresses-only stage around the time they’re potty trained, and this is the perfect time to let your little princess have her way.

This will make matters easy for both of you since she’ll only have to deal with her underpants. This can work perfectly fine even in winter with a pair of thick tights as long as they too are easy to pull up and down.

5. Skip the shoes

Some toddlers like to take it all off when they go to the potty-at least from the bottom down. So when you’re inside, allow your toddler to go shoeless so that they can easily slide their pants off when they need to.

6. Keep what’s underneath in mind

Underwear is a key potty training piece of clothing, and they should be super comfy on your little one’s bum.

Look for underpants that fit just right, are not too loose, are not too tight, especially around the waist, and should be 100% cotton.

Training pants are okay for some kids because they have a thickly padded crotch to absorb potty accidents, but others will object to extra bulk between their legs. 

All white undies are the easiest to clean after potty accidents when it comes to the color with bleach to the rescue but allowing your little one to choose from the wide array of colors, patterns, and designs available will help put a positive spin on the potty training process.

7. Skip the clothes altogether

This is especially true during summer. Allowing your toddler to run around naked can be a quick way to get the job done. Just stash a potty in the corner of the backyard or somewhere in the living room, where they can get to it quickly when the need to pee or poop arises. 


Why doesn’t my child want to use the potty?

Some children refuse to use the potty because it may seem like a lot of hassle to them because it means they have to think of it and then stop playing or whatever they are doing to go and use the potty. Other kiddos just refuse the potty because they don’t understand why they should use it.

Will my child also manage to stay dry at night?

Nighttime bladder and bowel control development is somehow slow. So even when they keep dry during the day, it can take a while before they notice in their sleep that they need to use the potty, and it only makes sense to keep using diapers at night for a while.


As parents, our expectations of potty training could be unrealistic sometimes. We must understand that our little ones are learning, and when they learn, they make a mess, test their abilities, get the timing wrong, and all that is part of the process.

Learning means getting things wrong as well as getting them right, and even when they’ve learned to do it right, it still doesn’t mean that they won’t have accidents again. Each accident presents its learning opportunity, and when it comes to potty training, it takes time to learn, think months and years, not days and weeks!

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Hello, I am Emelda from Nairobi, Kenya. They simply call me mama Lilly. A fun of long road trips and a very good cook, along with my mommy duties to a super active girl. She inspires and challenges me in equal measure, and that is how I get to share with you our journey of triumph as we grow and tag you along.

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