Do You Need a Potty Break?

Take a Step Back and Breathe Before Embarking on Another Potty Training Attempt.

You might consider taking a potty break if you are stressed out and frustrated with potty training that just isn’t going anywhere. Many parents will relate potty training stories of going through the motions of showing kids the potty, allowing them to observe others using the toilet, allowing them to roam about with underpants, and so on. At the end of it all, their toddler is no closer to being potty trained than they were before.

Taking A Potty Break is a Good Idea If:

  • You are burned out.
  • You can’t control your negative reactions to potty training accidents.
  • There is little or no progress with the potty training.
  • You tried several methods and things are just getting worse.
  • There are other stressful circumstances (new baby, moving) in your life.


The suggestion at this stage in the game is to allow your child, and your self, to take a potty break. Yes, that's right, a break from all the potty training they've been getting.

As a parent with a toddler, potty training is as much a learning experience for you as it is for your little darling. You learn a lot about the personality of your youngster, and you also learn tons of patience! But somewhere in the mix, you may end up getting frustrated with potty training because things don’t seem to be happening as you expected.

And that’s ok – take a step back and breathe.

Taking a break from potty training means allowing your child to roam in diapers with no expectation that they will use a potty. Just be very neutral when changing the diapers, don’t over react to the mess and try create a ritual. Have your child wash his /her hands after the diaper change. If they are old enough they should participate in the clean up, dress-up and bring you a new diapers.


Put potty training on maintenance mode - scale back the efforts to bare minimum that you know you can handle. Ready potty training books, model, talk about it, keep the potty in view – But don’t expect any potty training success or attempt to get our child to interact with it in any way.

How Long Should a Potty Break Last?

As long as you need, but don’t wait until your child is old enough to order a potty himself on Amazon. Usually two to 4 weeks is a reasonable time. Make sure you gained some distance from your frustration and that there are no stressful events coming your way.

Won’t a Potty Break Result in Regression and Having to Start Over?

We won’t lie to you, yes it might. But not necessarily - especially if you keep some potty training activities around, like the reading and talking about it we mentioned above. Assess the situation, only you know if a vacation from potty training is the right answer for you. Alternatively, see if any one else can take over for a while, a parent or parent-in-law? Your partner?

And before you start - determine if the signs of potty training readiness are evident with your little darling. Some say that toddlers just are not ready until they are ready.

Once you decide it’s time to end the potty vacation – make an action plan. Check out our how to start potty training, signs of readiness, review the methods section of our potty training toddler website and see if there is anything that you have not tried before that might now be a good fit.

Remember that your child isn’t a robot; toddlers are like all other human beings who go through different stages of development. It's not something that can be forced upon a child until they're good and ready!

Return from potty break to Potty Training Problems

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Take It Easy

Make potty training fun again. Use humor to maintain potty awareness during your break from potty training. Many toddlers find the books listed below hilarious.

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