Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Accidents while potty training

Question: My three year old son has a global delay in all areas with a profound delay in speech. He uses several consonants and vowels but he is still in the polysyllabic babbling stage. He was born with a cleft palate which is repaired and his hearing is good. He has not been MRI tested yet maybe a cleft in the brain is suspected otherwise Professor Brain Nevill from Great Ormond Street London says it is simply global delay as yet. Why has my son been successful in potty training during the night for a couple of months now and during the day he still has two/three accidents ?- Marica

Answer: Dear Marica,
Accidents are always a possibility, especially when first beginning to toilet train. Being dry at night is a sign of physical maturity which comes with time.

There are times when children become busy during play and forget to heed the sensation of a full bladder. Oops! Accidents are part of the learning process.

What sort of attention does your son get when he does have an accident during the day? Can I assume that he gets no attention at night while he is sleeping? There are times when attention is needed and anyway to get it will do, accidents included!

You describe your son as having speech delay with normal hearing. Aside from his cleft palate which has been repaired, you mention no other physical problems. I'm not clear as to your description of "global delay." Do you mean globally in speech?

Your son is dry at night which is quite an accomplishment! This many times doesn't happen, even in a child with no other developmental problems. Sounds like you have a very knowledgeable physician who is up to par on your child's progress.

Praise your child for all his accomplishments. Remember to always use positive reinforcement. Negatives will only cause setbacks.

Good luck potty training!
Dr. Betti

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  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.