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The Impact of Separation Anxiety on Potty Training

The issue of anxiety is one that any parent is going to come into contact with at all stages of their child’s life. From the question of whether to let your baby “cry it out” to toddler separation anxiety and teenage angst, it seems like we’re on a never-ending rollercoaster of parenting nerves.

Separation anxiety is a specific issue that can affect children at all ages. Unfortunately, it can also impact on the progress of milestones as emotional maturity and development is so integral to mastering the key stages.

Potty training is a milestone that can be significantly impacted by separation anxiety. It can come up in many different situations, either when someone familiar leaves the toddler’s environment or when the toddler leaves their own familiar space. In the first type of situation, this may be an older sibling starting school, a parent going back to work, or a new baby being born into the family. In the second type of situation, this is usually the potty-training toddler starting nursery or going into daycare.

There are two main ways to deal with the situation – treat the root issue and maintain an element of consistency. When it comes to the former, this is a completely understandable issue that arises when a child loses certain feelings of familiarity and security to which they have become accustomed.

In the majority of cases, separation anxiety is temporary and will take place between the ages of 10 months and two years, fully subsiding by the age of three. There are some effective ways that you can treat symptoms if and when it happens...

Keep Goodbyes Short and Sweet

Don’t ever sneak out or leave without saying goodbye as this will exacerbate feelings of panic or abandonment associated with separation anxiety.

Don’t Give Up

Try to understand that this is a normal part of development and it will pass in time. If you panic, then your child will pick up on this negative mindset, which may make symptoms worse and more difficult to deal with.

Create a Sense of Consistency

Adopt a regular routine and include potty training as a part of this. This breeds familiarity and encourages a sense of control. If the separation anxiety is taking place when your child starts nursery, suggest to staff that a Family Seat at the nursery will provide a sense of consistency for your child as well as any other children using the Family Seat at home.

Encourage Independence

You can do this by arranging ways for your child to spend time outside the home and away from you in both familiar and unfamiliar places. These might include grandparents or friends’ homes, or at a play date in the park. This will promote feelings of trust and security to gradually diminish the impact of separation.

And remember, you’re not the first parent to struggle with separation anxiety and your toddler. We suggest confiding in close friends with young children to see if they have any top tips for dealing with symptoms. Even if their methods are not to your liking, a problem shared is often a problem halved.


The Family Seat is built with an ergonomic, solid construction resulting in a strong, stable seat to give your child confidence during the potty-training process. For advice on any aspect of potty training and for any help purchasing a Family Seat, email our team at . Family Seat supports the children’s communication charity I CAN, who are experts in helping children to develop the language, speech and communication skills that they need to thrive in our 21st-century world.  We donate 50p to I CAN on each and every seat purchased through the official Family Seat website.