Darlington dominated the first 45 minutes and were full value for their interval lead, but Notts took charge in the second half and ultimately grabbed all three points.
It is County's third consecutive home win and the first time this season they have scored three goals in front of their own fans.
Such an outcome seemed unlikely in a first half when Notts were at their poorest and could have no complaints when the visitors, playing the superior brand of football, went ahead a minute before the break.
It was from a set-piece, rather than open play, and Notts paid the penalty for leaving Kyle Lafferty unmarked as he swept the ball home with a first time volley.
A turning point was Darlington had to replace goalkeeper David Knight with out-field player Phil Stamp at half time and after only 10 minutes of the new period he was fishing the ball out of the back of the net.
Liam Needham contributed a with searing run at the heart of the Darlington defence and his goal-bound effort might well have crossed the line without the deftest of touches from substitute striker Steve Scoffham, who claimed his second goal of the season.
Notts were made to wait and to work hard before they went ahead for the first time, when, on 82 minutes, Dan Martin met the ball on the edge of the area and drove it inside Stamp's left-hand upright.
Worse was to follow for the visitors when the enterprising Needham was up-ended by Shelton Martis and the penalty was an easy decision for referee Trevor Parkes.
Notts skipper Julian Baudet embarrassed Stamp by driving the spot-kick between his legs to leave Notts seemingly coasting to victory. Darlington, however, gave them a fright with a second late goal when Carlos Logan struck a vicious free-kick past Pilkington.