When Toilet Training Doesn’t Go To Plan

Here’s the truth; no matter how hard you try, toilet training doesn’t work all the time. You may have a detailed plan, a new potty that plays music and a ton of bribery rewards. Doesn’t matter though if the stars are against you. Or the moon. Or even the day of the week.

Sometimes toilet training just doesn’t go to plan. It could be a medical reason, such as long-term constipation, anxiety, a lack of readiness or a condition such as autism. You may have started the journey with your three-year-old, found it didn’t work so stopped and came back to it in a few months. Great plan. But what if you kept trying again for months or even years, with no success? This is what toilet training is like for some families, and today, we’re talking about it.

Toilet Training & Your Older Child

Your child has started school, and is still doing poos and wees in their undies. It’s not the end of the world, but for some parents, they feel like a complete failure. After all, all kids are toilet trained before starting school, aren’t they?

Nope. Some kids start school wearing pull-ups or incontinence pads, while others change their underwear multiple times a day. Both wee and poo accidents are common in five-year-olds, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Rather, it’s the children who are unable to recognise the feeling of needing to go to the toilet, the kids who have no feeling at all, and the kids who are not interested in using a toilet.

If this is your child, just remember you are not alone! There are plenty of parents who have five-year-olds who have failed toilet training 101 – it’s just no one talks about it. But we should, and that’s why we’ve felt it so important to take the shame away and let you know you are not alone.

Coping with an Incontinent School-Aged Child

A little known fact is that if your child passes their fifth birthday and is still not fully toilet trained, help is available! Your local DHB has incontinence nurses who can help and also funding to access free incontinence products for your child. In terms of support from school, your child may be eligible for funding from the Ministry of Education’s high health needs fund. This minimal funding can be used by a teacher aide to help take your child to the toilet often, keep an eye out for any accidents and help change their soiled clothing.

Ask your GP for a referral to the incontinence nurse, as well as having them check your child for any medical issues which may be delaying things. Constipation is a big cause of toileting issues and one we will be focusing on in future articles.

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