I recently heard an analogy on potty training from Dr. Sears that really made a lot of sense to me. I don't know a lot about him, but I know that he says plenty of things I don't agree with; however, I thought this was a great analogy.
He said that potty training is just another skill for your child to learn and expect that there will be accidents. Think if any skill your child has learned up to this point. Remember when he learned to eat from a spoon? Remember how messy he was? Remember how hard it was for him to get his food into his mouth?
Remember when he learned to walk? Do you remember how often he fell down? Keep in mind that potty training is another skill on your child's checklist. Just as you wouldn't punish your child for falling while learning to walk or accidentally spilling food while learning to eat from a spoon, you shouldn't punish your child for having accidents while potty training. Not only should you not punish, but you should expect and accept that the accidents are going to happen. Just as you would expect a child to fall while learning to walk (an accident) you should expect accidents while potty training.
As I think of this analogy, I realize how large of a factor age will be in the number of accidents that occur. For example, the younger the child starts to walk, the more often he falls, while the older the child, the fewer falls. Kaitlyn didn't fully decide to walk until she was 16 months old. By the time she did it, she rarely fell. Within weeks, she was running.
I can compare this to Brayden's potty training. He was pretty old (3) when he was finally potty trained. When we did it at 3, we had one day of accidents. We then had the occasional accident here and there, but it was rare.
We will start potty training with Kaitlyn (19 months) soon. She is very ready; however, I expect that the overall process will take longer and that we will have more accidents over the course of training than we did with Brayden because she is so much younger than he was. She physically does not have the same physical control over her body. Mentally, she simply doesn't understand as much as she will when she is three years old.
So when you tackle the potty training journey with your child, expect and accept accidents. They are part of the learning process. Don't get discouraged by them. Take each accident as a learning opportunity for your child.
See this label for all things potty training: potty training