I started toilet training my 3yr old in April 2015. Everything went really well and after a couple of weeks I thought he was there. I soon found out that I was wrong.

Although big accidents are a thing of the past, he continues to have little accidents. When I say little I mean very little, it will be a very tiny patch no bigger then a thumbnail on his underwear that is barely wet.

There doesn't seem to be a pattern to it, although it is mostly when he is distracted by an activity. Sometimes if I realise he hasn't been to the toilet I will ask him if he needs to go but he will say "no", then only a couple of minutes later he will tell me he has had an accident and then he will go to the toilet.

Although I've always shown encouragement and praise, I'm wondering if after this amount of time I may have contributed to the problem in dismissing the continuing accidents as just accidents and to try harder next time. I've also wondered if there maybe a medical reason but he seems to have good bladder control as he able to wait for the toilet if we are in the car for example.

I'm not sure what my next step should be, or even if I should do anything differently. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  • When you suspect he hasn't been to the toilet long enough, just ask him to go, even if he says he doesn't need to. "Okay, but just go and try". That worked for our girl, even when she was 5. Not that she was still having accidents at age of five, but it prevented a hurry 'I need now, right now' during absorbing activities.
    – CiaPan
    Mar 18, 2016 at 13:58
  • @CiaPan This was my question (had a problem with network profile) - The "I don't need to go but does" is more of a "and also" information. The main issue are the little accidents
    – Drifter104
    Mar 23, 2016 at 11:24
  • I see this with 3-4 year olds in daycare a lot. I agree w CiaPan. Some children will "leak" even after they're fully potty trained. They get into what they're doing and don't want to stop. Have him check the bathroom more often...and don't ask, just tell him to go :) Mar 29, 2016 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


This was my question (had a problem with network profiles), never got round to answering it. Hopefully this will help others

In the end the solution was very simple and so easily missed. One day after another accident, I realised that although I had said on many occasions to tell me when they need to go to the toilet, I had never actually talked about when that should be. Obviously as adults we are aware of the feeling associated with needing to use the toilet. Children are not it is just a sensation and they don't always put the two together. So we sat down and I tried my best to describe what feeling they would get when they need to use the toilet.

Literally from that moment forward no accidents. Something so very simple, missed and it made all the difference.

  • sometimes the simple solution is almost too simple to see. Great outcome!
    – WRX
    Jan 9, 2017 at 17:42

This is totally normal! 3 to 4 year-olds don't think about going until they absolutely can't hold it in anymore.

Preschool puts a lot of pressure on parents to get their kids toilet trained, but the reality is, most kids at this age will have accidents, and that is normal. (One day i even discovered our preschool had a secret stash of diapers!)

A good preschool should be prepared to deal with accidents. Also, I noticed our preschool took kids to the bathroom literally every hour. You can also implement this kind of regimen at home until the accidents stop.

The important thing is to support your child and keep helping them learn. Don't think about it as a "problem". And don't make them feel bad about having accidents.

And just keep reminding yourself that eventually your child will grow up and figure it out!


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