Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Ages & Stages

My two-year-old seems to want to use the potty, but he usually jumps up and runs off before he finishes, leaving a “mess” on the bathroom floor. Is there anything we can do about this, or should we just put off toilet training until he’s older?

Nearly all two-year-olds are physically active, and yours may have an especially active personality. There is no harm in delaying toilet training until he finds it easier to sit still for three to five minutes at a time. However, since you have already started training and he seems interested in continuing, you might try focusing on keeping him in place on his potty instead.

Nearly all two-year-olds are physically active, and yours may have an especially active personality. There is no harm in delaying toilet training until he finds it easier to sit still for three to five minutes at a time. However, since you have already started training and he seems interested in continuing, you might try focusing on keeping him in place on his potty instead.

When he goes to use it next time, try staying with him and chatting, reading a story, playing a simple game, or entertaining him in any other way that will help him stay in place. Each time he remains long enough to succeed at potty use, the practice will be reinforced and he will find it easier to remain in place long enough to succeed in the future.

There is no need to pressure him too much, though. Five minutes is long enough for him to sit in one place. If he jumps up to run off and leaves an accident on the floor, sympathize, assure him that he’ll do better next time, and ask him to help you clean up.

It’s better to let your child leave the potty when he wants, leaving a mess behind, rather than forcing him to sit longer than he wants. He’ll be more likely to use the potty in the future if he’s not forced during any part of the process.

 

Last Updated
7/9/2013
Source
Guide to Toilet Training (Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.