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The Link Between Separation Anxiety and Potty Training

There are many reasons why mums and dads may be separated from their toddler during the potty training process. The most common scenario is that of a stay at home parent returning to the workplace. Another is the situation where a mum is pregnant and needs to spend time in hospital during her pregnancy or pre/post-childbirth for monitoring and recovery. 

Whatever the cause, it’s fairly likely that your toddler will feel the pain of missing you. That can only be controlled to a certain extent but what you can control is how much impact the separation has.

The Risk of Milestone Regression

Many parents fear that they will see milestone regression when separation occurs and their toddler experiences feelings of fear, anxiety or resentment at the change in circumstances. All of these emotions risk that regression will rear its ugly head but preparation is key to controlling the process.

Where possible, explain to your child well in advance that things will be different and help them understand that this happens and mum or dad will be back, and if possible make it a thing to look forward to. If you’re returning to work, explain that mummy/daddy has important things to do but that everything else will remain the same.

Reassure your child that they are still just as important as ever and that you are looking forward to hearing about their milestone progress.

Create a Seamless Transition

Maintain a positive and calm attitude towards potty training. Strive to ensure a seamless transition is made over to their new primary caregiver, whether it be a relative, stay-at-home nanny, au pair or daycare staff.

If your child will continue to potty train primarily at home during the days, introduce their new caregiver to the Family Seat to ensure that everyone involved understands what needs to be done. Encourage your child to share their potty training chart so that the new carer can see their progress and stay on track.

Explain your process in detail so that all eventualities are covered. Any hesitation on the part of the new caregiver could translate over to your child and risk him or her feeling uncertain about the process or lacking confidence in their adult.

Sticking to the Rules

As with all toddler milestones, consistency is key to staying on track. If you’re concerned that other people may be tempted to bend the rules when it comes to your milestone training, click here to read our blog post about how to deal with other people breaking your parenting rules.

There are some situations where you will not be able to anticipate when and if you will need to be separated from your toddler. If you think it is even a remote possibility, make sure that the “substitute” adult is fully prepared to look after your toddler with all the important information including any quirks that your child has in relation to milestone learning.


The Family Seat Progress Chart and Door Hanger are a great way to set up a rewards-based system for potty training. Every Family Seat comes complete with these potty-training essentials and a 10-Year Guarantee.

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.


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