Brentford were made to pay for defensive lapses as Bolton twice came from a goal down to take a share of the spoils and deal a blow to the Bees' play-off hopes.
Alex Pritchard gave the home side the lead only for Adam Le Fondre to fire home moments later to equalise.
Jonathan Douglas restored the lead but James Tarkowski sold David Button short and Mark Davies had a simple tap-in.
Mark Warburton refused to pin the blame on his players, saying: “We made an error and we got punished. We haven't got away with it, but you can't have the best of of both worlds. We have scored goals this season from the way we play, and we have kept them out too.
“We were not at our best and we lacked a bit of quality all over the park. We were a little bit sloppy with the final ball, but not necessarily tired.”