When To Give Up On Potty Training?

How’s your potty training going with your toddler? Are they finally getting the hang of it, or is it draining you now out of frustration? Usually, between the age of 18 months and 3 years old, you can start checking for signs if your child is physically and mentally ready to be introduced to use the potty. Just like most things for babies, it needs to be familiarized gradually.

What were your deciding factors when you started potty training your little one besides their age? Are you sure that they’re ready and it’s not just you who’s thinking, “it’s time to start”?

Before we halt your potty training, let’s check out the most common signs that your baby displays to confirm that they are both physically and mentally ready for the potty.

Signs to start potty training

A mom is helping her toddler daughter get comfortable with potty training, by sitting in the bathroom with her and reading to her while she sits on the potty.

Your baby doesn’t need to show all these signs to be ready but at least 3 of those below for you to know if it’s worth both of you and your child’s time to start with the potty training.

Also, always remember that each baby is different and that there is no one-size-fits-all situation here. Be keen on reading the signs and never insist if they don’t feel comfortable, it will only lead to more disappointment and frustration, save yourselves from all that.

  • Communication – You need to make sure that they will be able to let you know the 3 stages of their body maturity, those are the “I peed”, “I am peeing”, and “I need to pee”. Once they start to share the first two stages, it is a good indication that they are starting to slowly know their own body and how it works. But only when they get to the last stage you can you gradually ask them to try toilet training. They are now able to hold their bladder and you will get the chance to run for the potty, it will be a short hold since they are still learning this “new trick” so be prepared to follow the pee trail for the first few tries.
  • Curiosity – Once your child starts to show some interest in what the adults or any other members of the family are doing in the toilet, you can show them how it works like sitting in the toilet, and make them do the same in their toddler potty, don’t expect too much for the first few days though, make sure to follow their own pace. Just make sure to remind them what to do if they need to pee or poop, ask them every few minutes within the day if they are not proactively sharing it with you at first.
  • Longer dry periods – Part of your child’s physical readiness is their bladder, it should reach the stage of development where it is big enough to hold at least 3-4 hours of pee and a semi-regular time when they poop. This means that your little ones will still be able to continue with their daily activities with minimal interruption which is potty time. It is important that you carefully assess if they are both mentally and physically ready for this big change, especially transitioning from diapers to toddler underwear. They will definitely still have few (or many) accidents along the potty training period but if they are truly ready, they will get there eventually.
  • Asking to be changed – If your baby is proactively asking for you to change their diaper because being wet or having poop on their bum bothers them, it’s one of the perfect times to suggest using the potty. Tell them how it’s gonna feel much better and cleaner compared to changing back into their diapers again. Even if your kids are starting to tell you when they already peed, don’t forget to remind them to tell you before it actually happens and not only when it’s done. This will give them the task to be more observant and aware of their body.

3-day potty training method

This method is for those who can spare their 3 consecutive days focusing mainly in their child’s bladder and their potty time. It’s a cold turkey type of method which may or may not work for your and your baby. Here are the basic guidelines that you need to follow for it to work.

  • Get rid of all the nappy in the house. Have your kid throw the diaper out and say “bye-bye.”
  • Dress your kid in a shirt and their new underwear and explain how no diaper will catch the poop or pee now, so they need to tell you if they feel “the urge” so you can go to the potty.
  • Give them extra liquid than usual but don’t force it; this should make them familiar with “the feeling” if they are about to pee or poop.
  • Remind them every few minutes to tell you if they are about to poop or pee; no number is too much. Go ahead and tell them again.
  • Cut off all liquids and snacks after dinner within this 3-day potty training.
  • Go for one final potty time before bedtime.
  • Wake your kid up half the night to pee. Yes.
  • Repeat for 2 more days.

Signs to pause/stop potty training

Both mom and dad are sitting in the bathroom, next to their toddlers potty, frustrated and tired because their toddler isn't getting potty training down.

You felt ready, but do they? Do they really or is it more of your decision for them? I feel you momma because I did exactly that. Not realizing how much readiness it will require from me and my baby, I decided one day that it’s time, and boy was I wrong!

Before the build-up of frustration becomes too much for the both of us, we quickly stopped just as we started. It was more of me who was in a rush, and my baby couldn’t care less about being wet. Here are some of the signs you might want to check and rethink about your baby’s potty training.

  • No interest – If your baby has zero interest in what business you have in the toilet then it’s quite a clear sign that they will not be interested in copying or following whatever it is that you are up to during potty time.
  • No clear communication – This one is very important, it doesn’t need to be a full sentence but your baby should be able to clearly express when they are about to pee or poop for the potty training to be a success. If this hasn’t been fully established then you might want to take the training to the back seat, for now.
  • Less than an hour dry period – Your child’s bladder needs a little more time to expand and mature for at least a few more dry hours before they go full and pee again. Physical readiness plays a huge part in the success of potty training and some might just have to wait a little bit more than others since not all babies are the same especially with developments.
  • Wetness is not a problem – If your baby doesn’t get irritated or is not at all concerned if they are sitting on a wet soggy diaper, it is safe to say that they will not go running to the potty if they feel the wetness with their underwear too. It will eventually annoy them, but until then you might need to delay the idea of toilet training.
  • Unpredictable bowel movement times – They should at least have a semi-regular time when they poop for you to have an idea when to expect it and when to ask them extra to tell you if they feel something coming down. Running to the potty once they feel the urge is enough of a challenge, you should at least have even the slightest idea when to be ready for the poop to drop.
  • Won’t sit still – First, they should be willing to copy what you do during potty time. Once they are seated at the toddler potty, they should be willing to wait until they are done. Some would stay seated if given a toy or a book to be distracted enough and not be bored (we all know how they get bored within the day), but for those babies who refuse to be seated for more than a few minutes and would rather drop it by accident anywhere but the potty, you might want to give them a little more time before toilet training.
  • Scared or strongly refuse to potty training – If they say no, that means NO. It will be dreadful and easily turn into a warzone if you insist on what you want, don’t ever forcefully make them do it. Follow their pace and avoid unnecessary struggles, they will get there in their own readiness.


There is no magic trick that could guarantee the sure success of this milestone for our babies, it’s gonna be a messy path whichever you choose to take but always remember that one baby’s success is not a defeat of the other.

All babies are different and these articles are more of guidelines to what could work for your baby, information that you can use so you won’t go to battle unarmed or unprepared.

The main objective and top priority remain, and that is to help your baby. Be their potty helper who aids for their needs regardless if they are being a terrible toddler and not just a potty trainer who implements the new rules and expects them to comply and be consistent after they did it once or twice. Always seek your doctor advice if you don’t feel sure about what to do next, cheer up a little. They will get there, eventually.

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Currently located in the Philippines. Mother of an active curly boy whose energy rarely runs out. When I am not busy keeping up with my son, you'll find me reading, cooking, or most of the time keeping the house clean.

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